2012 First Base Tiers: Preseason

Two weeks ago we rolled out or consensus first base rankings, and last week I picked them apart and wrote about some things I didn’t necessarily agree with. The tiers below are my personal rankings, dividing the players into groups based on their approximate fantasy value. These rankings will be updated every month throughout the season.

Tier One
Miguel Cabrera
Albert Pujols
Joey Votto
Adrian Gonzalez
Prince Fielder

These five are the very best of the best, all first round fantasy options expected to produce huge numbers. Miggy’s fractured orbital bone could delay the start of his season, in which case I’d bump him behind Pujols. Either way, you’re going to get massive production.

Tier Two
Mark Teixeira
Paul Konerko
Pablo Sandoval
Eric Hosmer
Carlos Santana
Mike Napoli
Lance Berkman

Second tier first baseman will give you top tier stats at basically any other position. Sandoval (3B), Santana (C), and Napoli (C) have more fantasy value at different positions, but they do currently have 1B eligibility. Teixeira could jump into the top tier if he stops dragging down his average by trying to yank everything over the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium. Hosmer’s ranking may be aggressive, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there who doesn’t love the upside.

Tier Three
Kevin Youkilis
Billy Butler
Mike Morse
Freddie Freeman
Nick Swisher
Ike Davis
Howie Kendrick
Michael Young

Youkilis is injury prone but still very productive. Morse is currently dealing with a lat problem and is in jeopardy of missing Opening Day, though I would have had him in the back-end of Tier Two if we knew he was going to be healthy from the get go. Lat and oblique problems are very tricky, they can linger for a long time. I’ve been saying this all offseason, but I expect a big breakout from Davis. I just can’t rank him any higher right now given the injury concerns. Swisher (OF), Kendrick (2B), and Young (2B and 3B) are among the 1B-eligible guys with more value at other positions.

Tier Four
Carlos Pena
Michael Cuddyer
Mark Reynolds
Ryan Howard
Joe Mauer
Paul Goldschmidt
Mark Trumbo
Lucas Duda
Gaby Sanchez

We’re starting to get into the flawed three-true outcome types now. Word is that Howard’s injury may now linger into May and possibly June, but we have yet to hear definitive word from the team. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for now. I’m a Goldschmidt fan but I don’t love him, though I can definitely understand arguments saying he should be higher.

Tier Five
Adam Dunn
Edwin Encarnacion
Brandon Belt
Todd Helton
Carlos Lee
Garrett Jones
Yonder Alonso
Mike Carp
Daniel Murphy
Luke Scott
Casey Kotchman
Mitch Moreland

I fully expect Dunn to rebound this year, though maybe not all the way to the guy he was just two years ago. I love me some Brandon Belt, though we still don’t know how much playing time he’ll actually get this season. Let’s all hope he tears the cover off the ball right out of the gate so the Giants have no choice but to play him every day. Yonder’s opposite field power fits well in Petco Park and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pokes 25 or so homers this year.

Tier Six
James Loney
Aubrey Huff
Kendrys Morales
Justin Morneau
Justin Smoak
John Mayberry Jr.
Adam Lind
Brandon Allen
Anthony Rizzo
Jesus Guzman
Adam LaRoche
Juan Rivera
Chris Davis
Brett Wallace

There is some upside in this group. Kendrys could end up a Tier Two guy by the end of the season, but I just can’t rank him any higher given how much time he’s missed with that ankle/leg injury. Smoak could step forward with some good health, and with Rizzo we’re just waiting for the inevitable call-up.

Bottom of the Barrel
Ty Wigginton
Matt LaPorta
Daric Barton
Shelley Duncan
Casey Blake
Derrek Lee
Victor Martinez

Just … no.

We hoped you liked reading 2012 First Base Tiers: Preseason by Mike Axisa!

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Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

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No Mat Gamel?

Phoebe Cates
Phoebe Cates

That is a big miss. He’d be right in the Tier 4 jumble for me (although I’d have Paul Goldschmidt & Michael Cuddyer at least somewhat higher).