Tagged: Firstbasemen

You Take Tex

I’m sure there are a fair amount of Dodger fans out there crying that the Angels landed Mark Teixeira and the Dodgers didn’t. I personally am not one of them. The problem here is the quality of the players the Braves wanted from us was far superior to the quality of players they wanted from the Angels. If the Dodgers had offered James Loney, the Braves wouldn’t have been able to accept the offer quick enough. But who on Earth would exchange years and years of discounted, Loney-like production for a 2 month rental of Teixeira? Resigning him is not a sure thing and even if you do, it will cost upwards of $100 million. Sure, Tex will make a difference for the Angels in the playoffs but had the Dodgers traded for him, there still wouldn’t be a guarantee that we’d even make the playoffs. I’ve said this a thousand times and I’ll say it yet again… the Dodgers should NOT trade any of the cornerstones of their franchise for a rental player. If we’re going to trade a James Loney or an Andre Ethier, it better be for someone who will be here for the long haul. 

To give you an idea of how badly these rental deals can blow up in your face… take a look at what the Braves gave up to get Tex in the first place… 5 prospects. They rented him for a little longer than 2 months of course, but absolutely gutted their system to bring him into ATL. Power hitting catcher/1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia (who’d probably be a better long-term option at 1B than Kotchman), top SS prospect Elvis Andrus, top pitching prospect Neftali Feliz and mid-level pitching prospect Matt Harrison and Beau Jones were all dealt for Teixeira when the Braves originally made the deal for him. All they got back in the end… Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek. Now many Braves fans are questioning whether or not they would’ve been better off taking the draft picks they would’ve received for him during free agency. 
I can assure you that this is exactly what would happen to the Dodgers. We’d deal Loney, Kemp and Ethier for a guy like this (Boras client, of course) who refuses to resign with the team and ends up hurting us much more than he helps us. That’s why the Dodgers should only explore deals for players who are already locked in to multi-year contracts. For example, shortstop Michael Young of the Rangers would be the perfect trade target. He’s an all-star, we need a shortstop, the Rangers are going nowhere and he’s locked up for 5 years, meaning that we’d actually get to keep him if we traded for him… what a novel concept! 
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Top 1Bs in Fantasy

1. Lance Berkman, HOU

2. Albert Pujols, STL
3. Justin Morneau, MIN
4. Aubrey Huff, BAL
5. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
6. Derrek Lee, CHC
7. Adrian Gonzalez, SD
8. Conor Jackson, ARZ
9. Ryan Howard, PHI
10. Mark Teixeira, LAA
11. Miguel Cabrera, DET
12. Carlos Delgado, NYM
13. Prince Fielder, MIL
14. James Loney, LAD
15. Jason Giambi, NYY
16. Casey Kotchman, LAA
17. Mike Jacobs, FLA
18. Adam LaRoche, PIT
19. Joey Votto, CIN
20. Kevin Millar, BAL
21. Carlos Pena, TB
22. Lyle Overbay, TOR
23. Mark Teahen, KC
24. Rich Aurilia, SF
25. John Bowker, SF
26. Ryan Garko, CLE
27. Todd Helton, COL
28. Chris Davis, TEX
29. Ross Gload, KC
30. Chad Tracy, ARZ
31. Billy Butler, KC
32. Sean Casey, BOS
33. Richie Sexson, NYY
34. Doug Mientkiewicz, PIT
35. Paul Konerko, CWS
36. Nomar Garciaparra, LAD
37. Dmitri Young, WAS
38. Mike Sweeney, OAK
39. Daric Barton, OAK
40. Brad Wilkerson, TOR
41. Nick Johnson, WAS
42. Micah Hoffpauir, CHC
43. Robb Quinlan, LAA
44. Chris Shelton, TEX
45. Daryle Ward, CHC
46. Paul Lo Duca, WAS
47. Tony Clark, ARZ
48. Nick Evans, NYM
49. Joe Koshansky, COL
50. Dan Ortmeier, SF
51. Chris Carter, BOS
52. Wes Bankston, OAK
53. Michael Aubrey, CLE
54. Brian Myrow, SD
55. Shelley Duncan, NYY
56. Dan Johnson, TB
57. Kendry Morales, LAA
58. Mike Morse, SEA
59. Jason Wood, FLA
60. Ben Broussard, NYY
61. Jeff Bailey, BOS
62. Scott Hatteberg, CIN
63. Andy Phillips, CIN
64. Mark Sweeney, LAD

FLB Updated 1B Rankings ’08

*1B
1. Albert Pujols, STL
Many feared that Pujols wouldn’t be the same this year because of lingering elbow problems that could require surgery in the offseason. Those fears were quickly dispelled after he went on to hit well above .330 in the first month of the season. The power numbers haven’t seemed to dropped off at all so it’s looking like all of you who were able to draft him in the 2nd round got quite a steal. Of course, something could aggravate the injury during the season and force him to miss the rest of the season. That’s an awfully big risk so enjoy the production while you can. I think he’ll make it thru the season ok but he probably will have to address the problem after the season which is bad news for those of you who own him in keeper leagues because surgery could have an effect on next season. 
Adjusted Projection: .328/36/121/8
2. Lance Berkman, HOU
Other than maybe, Chase Utley, there hasn’t been a hotter hitter in baseball than Lance Berkman. He’s 1st in batting average, 1st in runs scored, 2nd in HRs and 3rd in RBIs making him one of fantasy’s top players. This shouldn’t be viewed as a fluke or as if he’s playing over his head because he’s always had the potential to be one of the top offensive players in baseball. He may have finally got it together and could end up posting numbers similar to his ’01 season when he hit .331/34/126. Sure, if a guy like Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder were hitting a little better, they might be ranked in this spot but there is no denying that Berkman has been playing like a man possessed and is showing no signs of slowing down.
AP: .331/41/128
3. Miguel Cabrera, DET
Due to his poor defense, the Tigers inevitably decided to move Miggy Cabrera off of 3B. He now switches sides and will be manning 1B for the Tigers for the foreseeable future. This move will drop his value slightly over the next few years as he will eventually lose his 3B eligibility so enjoy it while it lasts. By no means has Cabrera been hitting the ball like Berkman or Pujols has but he’s starting to pick it up and has just as much potential as any young hitter in the game, if not more. Once he fully adjusts to the AL and gets more comfortable with the pitchers he’s facing, he’ll start living up to his 1st round draft status. He’s simply too good of a hitter not to get things going sooner or later. The rest of his team isn’t hitting very well either so look for all of their bats to get going around the same time. 
AP: .312/33/124
4. Prince Fielder, MIL
When Fielder announced that he had become a vegetarian over the offseason, it raised a major red flag in just about everyone’s eyes (other than vegans). It was feared that his power stroke would disappear just like the steaks and burgers were disappearing from his refrigerator. No one really took that seriously but the theory may have some merit in light of Prince’s early struggles to start the season. I fully expect him to pick things up soon because none of the Brewers are hitting very well right now. There’s no question that Fielder still has the size that he’s always had and his swing in reality hasn’t lost any power whatsoever. Everything balances out by the end of the season in baseball so expect big numbers from the Prince the rest of the way. 
AP: .282/39/112
5. Ryan Howard, PHI
Howard’s batting average has been abhorrent to start the season but the power numbers are still there. Even though he’s hitting sub .200, he does have six HRs and fairly decent RBI and run numbers. There’s just no way he will be this bad all season long. He’s an MVP type of player and will start hitting for contact eventually. Luckily for the Phillies, Chase Utley has been on another level making them less dependent on Howard’s bat. The hits will come eventually so don’t sell low on him if that thought
is starting to cross your mind. 
AP: .265/41/110
6. Derrek Lee, CHC
Like Berkman, the Cubs’ Derrek Lee has also been hitting very well early on. He doesn’t have as much power as the Berserker but the numbers do appear up compared to the last couple of years and he is plenty capable of hitting for a very high average. Hitting in the middle of that loaded Cubs lineup, driving in runs shouldn’t be much of a problem either. He’s ranked #3 at 3B in the monthly rankings but I don’t see him out-producing Ryan Howard over the course of the season so I’ve got him ranked one spot below him. 
AP: .320/28/107
7. Mark Teixeira, ATL
Many fantasy owners out there expected Tex to be an MVP candidate this season and thought he would come mashing out of the gate. That wasn’t the case. Tex got off to a slow start and has really struggled at times. His batting average is much lower than anybody thought it would be and the power numbers haven’t quite been up to par. Even so, Tex is still a valuable fantasy commodity and has all the skills to pull everything together sooner or later. I fully expect him to match the numbers that he always produces. Now is actually a good time to buy low on him. By the time everything is said and done, Tex will have lived up to his top name billing. I like him better than Justin Morneau at this point because the power may be similar but he’s much better at hitting for average, even if that doesn’t appear to be the case at the moment. 
AP: .304/31/117
8. Adrian Gonzalez, SD
Gonzalez owners have to be relieved that even though the Padres are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, Gonzo is still managing to hit the cover off the ball. When drawing up these rankings, I actually had to debate whether Gonzo should be ranked ahead of Teixeira…a question that would’ve seemed ludicrous a couple of years ago. That goes to show just how far Gonzo has come since arriving in San Diego. He’s managed to transform himself from a contact hitter into a power hitter. Some owners let the monstrous cavern that is Petco Park scare them away from Gonzo but I really don’t see it as a problem. Sure, I’d be even more confident in him if he had stayed in the hitter’s park that is the Arlington Stadium (he was traded by the Rangers to the Pads), he’d likely hit for even more power but he did hit 30/100 last year in SD. He should improve on those numbers this year and should end up as one of the more productive players in fantasy. 
AP: .298/33/101
9. Justin Morneau, MIN
Morneau was somewhat of a forgotten man in drafts during the pre-season. In my eyes, he has just as much power potential as a guy like Mark Teixeira…who was went off the board several rounds later in most leagues, even though he may not be able to hit for as high of an average. I think the team around him scared off a lot of owners. No one expected much out of the depleted Twins lineup coming into the season with the subtraction of Torii Hunter. However, Carlos Gomez has filled the CF role nicely and the Twins look to be much more competitive than anybody expected…which basically Morneau shouldn’t take much of a hit in the RBI department (as long as the team continues to hit). As I said in the previous post, Morneau will not hit for as high of an average as Tex but has just as much power, if not more. 
AP: .271/33/110
 
10. Conor Jackson, ARZ
During the first couple weeks of the season, there wasn’t a hotter hitter than the D-Back’s Conor Jackson. Scouts have always known that this kid has had all the potential in the world, it’s just been a matter of putting it all together. At the young age of 26, Jackson’s game is still developing but has come a long way since last year. He’s always been an excellent contact hitter but power production has always been in question. Most scouts viewed him as a Mark Grace-type 1B; meaning that he will hit for a high average without much power from a power position like 1B. However, at 6’2, 215 Ibs., the size is definitely there to one day become a very intimidating bat in the middle of the lineup sometime down the road. His time appears to be now. As I write this, Jackson’s is batting .325 with 5 HRs and 28 RBIs. Like any other player, you should expect a few bumps in the road here and there but this guy’s bat is legitimate. Don’t make the mistake of labeling this guy as fluke because he has the ability to maintain this kind of production all season long. I think it’s fairly safe to say that no one saw it coming this quickly. 
AP: .318/26/98
11. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
AP: .305/22/96/5
12. Casey Kotchman, LAA
AP: .311/24/88
13. Mike Jacobs, FLA
AP: .268/28/85
14. Joey Votto, CIN
AP: .275/25/82
15. Carlos Pena, TB
AP: .234/28/92
16. James Loney, LAD
AP: .291/20/94
17. Paul Konerko, CWS
AP: .244/21/84
18. Ryan Garko, CLE
AP: .252/15/75
19. Todd Helton, COL
AP: .277/14/81
20. Adam LaRoche, PIT
AP: .235/23/77
21. Eric Hinske, TB
AP: .258/17/75
22. Carlos Delgado, NYM
AP: .241/19/81
23. Richie Sexson, SEA
AP: .222/20/72
24. Jason Giambi, NYY
AP: .212/20/78
25. Daric Barton, OAK
AP: .257/12/70
26. Lyle Overbay, TOR
AP: .280/11/64
27. Nick Johnson, WAS
AP: .233/13/62
28. Kevin Millar, BAL
AP: .240/12/59
29. Rich Aurilia, SF
AP: .248/10/53
30. Ross Gload, KC
AP: .268/7/51
Just Missed
-Aaron Boone, WAS
-Ben Broussard, TEX
-Dimitri Young, WAS