Look the word “composite” up in a dictionary, and you’ll find it means the merging of different parts into one, stronger, more complete object.
Our composite rankings do the same thing. Merging rankings from sites such as ESPN, CBS, SI, MLB and Yahoo into one super list, we’ve already tackled the Top 50 fantasy players and the Top 20 catchers for 2011.
Now, here are the Top 20 first basemen for 2011 (as with the other composite rankings, be sure to check out the interactive rankings chart at the bottom of this post). Also, don’t miss my early 2011 first base rankings, ep’s ADP first base ranking discussion and my sleeper/value first base options.
1. Albert Pujols, STL. No-brainer here. The consensus top pick across the board.
2. Miguel Cabrera, DET. Second on all the rankings except Yahoo, which had Votto ahead of Cabrera. When he plays, he puts up elite numbers. Some are worried his off-field issues will lead to missed games, and I’ve seen Cabrera falling to the end of the first round in many mocks. If that is the case, make sure he doesn’t fall past you!
3. Joey Votto, CIN. So nice to see the young Votto finally live up to chinstrapninja expectations. He’ll provide nearly identical stats to MigCab, but will be a few spots cheaper on draft day (unless Cabrera falls in your draft like I mentioned above).
4. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS. The switch from pitcher-friendly San Diego to hitter-centric Boston is good news for Gonzalez. The only concern about his chances to be elite in 2011 involved offseason shoulder surgery. It appears rehab is going on schedule and he recently said he hopes to play in every game this season.
5. Mark Teixeira, NYY. Ranked as high as third by CBS, Teixeira has more than ample ability in a hitter-friendly park on a hitting-heavy lineup. If he can start hotter out of the gates in 2011, watch out.
6. Prince Fielder, MIL. You know first base is deep when Fielder is legitimately sixth on the list and you really can’t argue it. He could produce just as well as anyone on this list.
7. Ryan Howard, PHI. Ranked as high as fifth by Yahoo, Howard’s numbers were down last year in comparison to the 2009 campaign. He has potential to be one of the best power hitters in baseball, and will make a nice fantasy first baseman for most people, especially in the late second or early third round as some mocks have him going.
8. Kevin Youkilis, BOS. Second Sox player on the list, Youk is ranked as high as fifth by ESPN. The batting average is there. He doesn’t hit as many homers as the others on this list. Doesn’t really steal and is coming off two injury-shortened seasons.
9. Adam Dunn, CWS. He has hit 38 or more home runs for the past seven consecutive seasons and added 100 or more RBI in six of the past seven years. The issue is the batting average swings, which will always be there. He has shown improvement in this category over the past two seasons, although his average did take a hit after the All-Star break last year. He’s still one of my value first basemen.
10. Buster Posey, SF. Baseball fundamentalists will scoff at Posey, a catcher, being a top-10 first baseman, too. However, the numbers don’t lie. All five rankings had Posey included, with mlb.com having him the lowest (13th). Other owners in your league will have no qualms of starting a catcher at their first base slot if the eligibility allows it. The only question is whether or not you will.
11. Justin Morneau, MIN. The concussion-shortened 2010 season shouldn’t scare too many owners. Morneau had a solid track record in previous years of staying healthy and the Twins are taking it easy with Morneau … not rushing him back too quickly. Could be a good value at this point.
12. Kendrys Morales, LAA. Morales allegedly “hit a plateau” in his recovery from a broken leg. Looking like he’ll start the season on the DL, and Mark Trumbo will get a chance out of the gates to make some noise for himself.
13. Paul Konerko, CWS. After posting batting averages that were basically statistical yo-yos during his long career, Konerko raked last season with a .312 average over 548 at-bats and added his most home runs (39) since 2005. If you’re expecting him to repeat those stats, good luck.
14. Billy Butler, KC. Decent average, OK power and now steals? Royals manager Ned Yost recently suggested Butler will steal 10 bases in 2011. He currently has one over 533 career major league games. No wonder the Royals continue to struggle.
15. Victor Martinez, DET. My top overall catcher finds himself on this list due to dual eligibility and rankings from mlb.com (12th) and yahoo (11th). Why the other three sites had Posey and not Victor in their rankings is beyond me. As I said with Posey, some of the MLB faithful will cringe to see V-Mart on this list at all.
16 (tie). Aubrey Huff, SF. He continues to quietly produce decent numbers. He’s played in 150 games in four straight seasons now and hit 26 homers, scored 100 runs and batted .290 at the plate in 2010. All in 569 2010 at-bats. Could be an under-the-radar late-round savior if you get in a pickle.
16 (tie) Carlos Lee, HOU. The Astros are toying with Lee at first base, but are hoping Brett Wallace will be the guy there. Wallace’s spring has been decent, so Lee will likely stay in the outfield. The main thing is to double check his eligibility in your respective leagues before pulling the trigger on him hoping to throw in him at first base.
18. Carlos Pena, CHC. The power numbers are for real. The pitiful average? Let’s just say he’ll hit better than the .196 he hit in 484 at-bats last season. But not enough to make him worthy of anything other than a bench or flex play, especially on a new team with less umpf in its lineup.
19. Ben Zobrist, TB. OK numbers, but nothing that will knock your socks off are combined with a batting average that is below average. His eligibility could make him useful as a plug in option in case one of your studs gets hurt.
20. Adam Lind, TOR. Stuck as a DH or utility player in some league formats, make sure you check your league settings before drafting Lind with hopes of starting him at first base. He had a breakout 2009 campaign followed by a majorly disappointing 2010. He’s young enough to bounce back, and I’m taking a chance on him late in drafts.
Other players that received some first base Top 20 rankings, but not enough to get them on the composite list included Mike Napoli, Pablo Sandoval, Derrick Lee, Gaby Sanchez, Adam LaRoche, Lance Berkman, James Loney and Michael Cuddyer.
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