FIRST BASE (1B) RANKINGS 2009
1. Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals (29)
Even after eight years of fantasy baseball greatness, Pujols will only be 29 years old during the 2009 season, and believe it or not, he is actually entering the prime of his career. Assuming his elbow is healthy for the 2009 season, Pujols is clearly the safest and best option at first base. 35-40 homeruns, 120 rbi, 100 runs scored, 5 stolen bases, and a batting average around .330 is likely for Pujols in 2009.
2. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers (26)
Even though it seems like Cabrera couldn’t possibly get any better, the fact is that he will be just 26 year old for the 2009 season! A 40 homerun season could be in store, and unlike Ryan Howard, Cabrera can actually bat for a high average in the .300’s. 35-40 homeruns, 120 rbi, 90-100 runs scored, and a batting average around .300 is a good bet for Cabrera in 2009.
3. Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees (29)
A move to New York’s lineup could have Teixeira’s stats skyrocket in 2009. Given the fact that there is a huge difference in Teixeira’s and Ryan Howard’s batting average, Teixeira gets the nod over Howard for the #3 first basemen ranking enter the 2009 fantasy baseball season. 35 homeruns, 120 rbi, 110 runs scored, and a .300 plus batting average should be expected from Teixeira in 2009.
4. Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies (29)
Howard is the prototypical first basemen who offers huge power numbers but a meek batting average and horrible strikeout totals. If he could just manage a .280 batting average, Howard would easily be ranked #2 behind Albert Pujols. However until the batting average goes up, Howard is a huge liability in any fantasy baseball league that counts batting average as a scoring category. 40-45 homeruns, 130 rbi, 100 runs scored, and a batting average around .260-.270 seems likely for Howard in 2009.
5. Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins (28)
After what many deem as a down year in 2008, Morneau still managed to post 23 homeruns, 129 rbi, 97 runs scored, and a .300 batting average. If that’s a ‘down’ year, then is it unrealistic to expect 30-35 homeruns, 130 rbi, 100 runs scored, and a .310 batting average in 2009 from Morneau?
6. Lance Berkman – Houston Astros (33)
Even though Berkman will be 33 for the 2009 season, he is still one of the most reliable and dependable fantasy baseball players out there. Berkman’s usual .300 batting average, to go along with 30 homeruns, 100 rbi and 100 runs scored is nearly money in the bank for the 2009 season.
7. Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers (25)
Granted Fielder didn’t match his 50 homerun plateau he set in 2007, but 34 homeruns and 102 rbi isn’t anything to sneeze at either. At just age 25 for the 2009 season, Fielder has a great shot at posting 40-45 homeruns, 120 rbi, 100 runs, and a batting average hovering around .280.
8. Adrian Gonzalez – San Diego Padres (27)
As a former #1 overall draft pick, Gonzalez has put together three consecutive great fantasy baseball seasons, and best of all, no let up appears in sight for the 27 year old. A career year could be in store for the 2009 season, with numbers approaching 35-40 homeruns, 120 rbi, 100 runs, and a .290 batting average.
9. David Ortiz – Boston Red Sox (33)
After 2008’s injury riddled campaign, Ortiz will be looking to rebound with his usual 35 homeruns, 120 rbi, and 100 runs scored for the 2009 season. If your fantasy baseball draft isn’t until after spring training begins, then wait and see how Ortiz’s injured wrist looks in April. If all reports look to be good news, then draft Ortiz at this #9 ranking, but if reports don’t look good, then you may want to consider bumping Ortiz down below Garrett Atkins on this list. 25-30 homeruns, 100 rbi, 90 runs scored, and a batting average around .280 would be on the conservative end for Ortiz in 2009.
10. Garrett Atkins – Colorado Rockies (29)
If Atkins stays in Colorado, then he is clearly the best and safest option out of the next three first basemen that I was temped to rank here (Derrek Lee, Carlos Pena, Kevin Youkilis). Not to mention Atkins’ duel eligibility at both first base and third base helps his case for this final #10 ranking tremendously. Partnered with the Colorado air in 2009, Atkins should post numbers around 30 homeruns, 115 rbi and 100 runs scored, while also managing a healthy .300 batting average.
11. Derrek Lee – Chicago Cubs (33)
If you want to say age is the cause of Lee’s downfall, well I wouldn’t go that far. Not when you consider all the players who have gone on to post career years or near career years in their early to mid thirties. Overall, Lee is a very solid fantasy baseball first basemen who can hit for average, has 20-30 homerun potential, 100 rbi and 100 runs scored ability, and can even post near double digit steals.
12. Carlos Pena – Tampa Bay Rays (31)
Nearly a mini version of Ryan Howard, Pena’s biggest downfall in 2008 was his low batting average. If he can improve to the .280’s range that he posted in 2007, then Pena will be a major steal at this #12 ranking. However since we can’t assume Pena’s batting average will rise, he has to stay put at #12 to enter the 2009 fantasy baseball season.
13. Kevin Youkilis – Boston Red Sox (30) BUST
Ok maybe I’m giving Youkilis the short end of the stick, but in all honesty, I just don’t seem him coming close his 2008 stats. In four prior seasons, Youkilis posted just 7, 1, 13, and 16 homeruns with averages totaling .260, .278, .279, and .288 in those four seasons respectively. In other words, a repeat performance of 29 homeruns, 115 rbi, and a .312 batting average in 2009 isn’t very likely. If you want to take a chance and draft him higher go for it, but just don’t expect 30 homeruns and 115 rbi.
14. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds (25)
After a breakout year in 2008, Votto will be expected to build upon his numbers in 2009. If Votto can achieve these expectation, then 30 homeruns, 100 rbi, 10-15 steals, and a batting average around .300 should be in store for the 2009 season.
15. Victor Martinez – Cleveland Indians (30)
Martinez’s eligibility as a catcher is much more valuable then his first base eligibility, but if he can rebound to form in 2009, then 20-25 homeruns, 110 rbi, and a batting average over .300 is likely.
16. Adam Dunn – Free Agent (29)
If you draft Dunn you can take 35-40 homeruns and 100 rbi to the bank. However Dunn’s .243, .233, .234, .247, .215, and .249 batting averages over the past couple of seasons is also something you can take to the bank. I guess it depends how important those 35 homeruns are to you.
17. Chris Davis – Texas Rangers (23) SLEEPER
At this point in the rankings and your draft, now is the time to gamble on Davis. He will be just 23 years old for the 2009 season, and yet he already displays huge power potential. As of now it looks like the Rangers are set to make him their everyday starting first baseman to begin the 2009 season. Assuming Davis plays up to his potential, he could easily rack up 500-600 at bats, while producing anything from 30-40 homeruns and 90-110 rbi to go along with a decent .280-.290 batting average for the 2009 season.
18. James Loney – Los Angeles Dodgers (25) BREAKOUT
As a prime candidate to breakout last year, Loney managed just an ‘ok’ but not great fantasy year in 2008. Now with another year of major league experience under his belt, Loney at just age 25, could very easily take the next step and bounce up to 20-25 homeruns with 100 rbi and a healthy .310 plus batting average for the 2009 season.
19. Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants (23) SLEEPER
Currently projected to play third base for the Giants, Sandoval should also qualify at first base and catcher in your league based on his playing time in 2008. If Sandoval does in fact have eligibility at all three positions in your fantasy baseball league, then he could very easily be the steal of numerous fantasy baseball drafts in 2009. Sandoval offers outstanding power potential and could easily post 20 plus homeruns and 70 rbi while hitting at or above a .300 clip.
20. Aubrey Huff – Baltimore Orioles (32)
After a three year hiatus, Huff bounced back in 2008 to produce another 30 homerun, 100 rbi, and .300 plus batting average campaign. However while that may seem great and all, expecting that type of production from Huff again in 2009 is hard to believe. Yet with a decent major league track record, the potential to match his 2008 numbers is definitely there for Huff. Just don’t draft him too high or rely on him too heavily to carry your team at the first base position.
21. Adam LaRoche – Pittsburgh Pirates (29)
For some reason, LaRoche tends to fly under the radar in fantasy baseball leagues every year. However with 32, 21, and 25 homeruns rounding out his last three years, I don’t see why LaRoche shouldn’t once again be serviceable in nearly all fantasy baseball leagues no matter what the scoring format. A steady year of 25-30 homeruns, 80-90 rbi, and a batting average around .275 really isn’t all that bad.
22. Jorge Cantu – Florida Marlins (27)
After making an outstanding comeback in 2008, it’s hard to believe if Cantu is for real this time around. If he is for real, then at just age 27, Cantu actually has the potential to increase his stats from last season. Cantu will likely also offer duel eligibility at both third base and first base in your fantasy baseball league, so the added versatility helps his cause greatly heading in the 2009 fantasy baseball season.
23. Carlos Delgado – New York Mets (37) BUST
I can’t believe I am ranking Delgado this high, but even at age 37, this guy just doesn’t seem to give up. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine Delgado posting another 30 plus homeruns and 100 plus rbi during the 2009 season. His batting average is his major downfall, as it will likely hover around .270 for the 2009 season.
24. Conor Jackson – Arizona Diamondbacks (27)
If Jackson ever develops some power, he could easily be a top 15 overall first baseman in fantasy baseball leagues. However if Jackson can just improve a little upon his 2008 numbers, then stats in the range of 15-20 homeruns, 10 steals, 90 rbi, and a .300 batting average is very possible.
25. Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox (33)
In all honesty, if you cut out Konerko’s injury riddled 2008 campaign, then he would be coming off of consecutive seasons of 41, 40, 35, and 31 homeruns over the past four years. In other words, it is extremely possible a bounce back year could be in store for Konerko in 2009. If he is available late in your draft, Konerko is definitely someone worthy of giving a chance to as a backup first basemen.
26. Mike Jacobs – Kansas City Royals (28)
If Jacob’s .247 average didn’t look so appalling, then his 32 homeruns and 93 rbi would look a lot sweeter. But until Jacobs can manage to hit even just .280, he is only useful if you absolutely are desperate for homeruns and rbi’s, or your league just doesn’t count batting average.
27. Billy Butler – Kansas City Royals (23) SLEEPER
Butler is young and he can flat out hit a baseball. If his power game continues to develop, Butler and his batting title swing could post 20 homeruns, 80 rbi, and a batting average hovering around .320 for the 2009 season.
28. Carlos Guillen – Detroit Tigers (33)
Even though Guillen will be 33 for the 2009 season, he still brings a solid .290-.300 batting average, 10-15 homeruns, and 5-10 stolen bases to the table. Guillen’s best asset will be his versatility, as he should qualify at first base, third base, and possible even outfield in your fantasy baseball league for the 2009 season.
29. Ryan Garko – Cleveland Indians (28)
After a solid 2007 campaign, Garko regressed in homerun numbers in 2008, but still managed to post a career high 90 rbi. Unfortunately with Travis Hafner coming back and Victor Martinez likely to play first base as well, playing time may be limited for Garko in 2009. That is however assuming both Hafner and Martinez can stay healthy. My bet would be Garko gets more at bats than either of those two in 2009.
30. Jason Giambi – Oakland Athletics (38)
A return to Oakland and a release from the pressures of New York, could make Giambi feel ten years younger in 2009. After managing to post 32 homeruns last year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Giambi post similar numbers this year in Oakland.
31. Travis Hafner – Cleveland Indians (32) BUST
It’s hard to say Hafner is getting old, but with an injured shoulder forcing him to miss most of the 2008 season, a return to 30 homeruns isn’t likely for the 2009 season. Maybe in 2010 if Hafner can fully recover.
32. Nick Swisher – New York Yankees (28)
Strangely enough, Swisher is only 28 years old, and even though he is blessed with tons of potential, his horrendous batting average makes even Ryan Howard, Carlos Pena, Adam Dunn, and Mike Jacobs look like batting champions. In other words, if you can survive his batting average, then his power numbers are helpful.
33. Jim Thome – Chicago White Sox (38)
Age definitely isn’t on Thome’s side anymore, but he has been a 30 plus homerun mastermind for the past couple of years. What’s stopping him from the same in 2009?
34. Hank Blalock – Texas Rangers (28)
Hammerin’ Hank hasn’t been much of a homerun hitter for a couple of years now, but maybe his transition to full time DH can get him healthy and his numbers back up into the 25 homerun range. Blalock’s best asset will be his versatility, as he should quality at both first base and third base in your fantasy baseball league for the 2009 season.
35. Todd Helton – Colorado Rockies (35)
If Helton is completely healthy, he could actually post decent numbers in 2009. And if anything else, he is still a good source of batting average.
36. Casey Kotchman – Atlanta Braves (26)
Even at just age 26, it doesn’t look like Kotchman’s power numbers will ever develop. With this in mind, you can’t realistically expect more than 15 homeruns a season from him. However Kotchman can hit for average with plenty of doubles.
37. Bryan LaHair – Seattle Mariners (26)
In a rebuilding stage in Seattle, LaHair should get plenty of opportunity to nail down the starting first base job for the 2009 season. If LaHair gets between 400-500 at bats, 20 homeruns is a realistic possibility.
38. Kendry Morales – Los Angeles Angels (26) SLEEPER
Morales’ potential has been put on the backburner for a couple of years now, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him take over the starting first base job for good in 2009. Maybe Morales is the real reason the Angels traded Casey Kotchmen and eventually let Mark Teixeira sign somewhere else. Fantasy baseball managers can only hope. 15-20 homeruns, 70 rbi, 60 runs scored, and a batting average around .290 is possible for Morales during the 2009 season.
39. Gaby Sanchez – Florida Marlins (25)
With the trading of Mike Jacobs, Sanchez appears to be the odds on favorite to win the starting first base job entering the 2009 season. And if he does win a starting job, Sanchez could post very good power numbers to go along with a good batting average.
40. Travis Ishikawa – San Francisco Giants (25)
Assuming Pablo Sandoval sticks at third base and leaves first base open, the position will be up for grabs in San Francisco entering the 2009 season. It looks to be a battle between Ishikawa and John Bowker in spring training.