2011 First Base Rankings: June

We’ve been rolling out our updated position rankings this week, and now it’s time to hit the first baseman. Here are our preseason and May rankings for reference. There hasn’t been a ton of movement, especially not higher up on the list, but every little bit counts.

Tier One
Miguel Cabrera
Adrian Gonzalez
Joey Votto
Albert Pujols

The top tier is reserved for the best of the best, which is why Gonzalez joins the three holdovers. He gives you AVG in addition to bulk HR and RBI totals, though his dinky walk rate (~7.0%) leaves something to be desired in OBP leagues. Pujols is barely outhitting Matt LaPorta a third of the way into the season, and I don’t mean that as a compliment to LaPorta. He gets another month in the top tier just because of his track record before I’ll consider dropping him. But yeah, Pujols owners have every reason to be disappointed.

Tier Two
Mark Teixeira
Lance Berkman
Prince Fielder
Paul Konerko
Ryan Howard
Gaby Sanchez

Sanchez jumps into a big boy category because of his AVG, OBP, and RBI goodness, though he’s not going to give you the same amount of power as the others. Berkman’s renaissance has continued into June, and the others are pretty self explanatory. Elite HR and RBI, not so much on AVG (except for Konerko, so far).

Tier Three
Billy Butler
Kevin Youkilis
Justin Smoak
Ike Davis
Eric Hosmer
Adam Lind
Mitch Moreland
Todd Helton
Brett Wallace

Helton’s quietly having a very nice dead cat bounce year, though you’re not going to get much pop out of him. You can do a lot worse in OBP leagues though. Wallace is slowly and gracefully coming back to Earth following his BABIP-fueled surge, but his teammates are so bad that RBI production is kept to a minimum. Both Lind and Davis are on the disabled list and aren’t expected back for a while, but I’m not going to drop them in the rankings because of that.

Tier Four
Justin Morneau
Juan Miranda
Mike Morse
Adam Dunn
Matt LaPorta
Mark Trumbo
Freddie Freeman
Luke Scott

Many projected a return to the days of 40+ homers for Dunn with the move to Chicago, but he’s been nothing short of a disaster. He’s still 0-for-2011 against lefties, and is on pace for a whopping 15 homers. Brutal. Miranda has been on a nice run since getting the job essentially full-time, and Trumbo now has the same kind of job security. Freeman’s shown flashes, but that’s not good enough for a higher ranking in my book.

Tier Five
Aubrey Huff
Daniel Murphy
James Loney
Carlos Pena
Derrek Lee
Brad Hawpe
Daric Barton
Garrett Jones
Michael Cuddyer
Carlos Lee
Lyle Overbay
Brandon Belt
Russell Branyan
Eric Hinske
Adam Kennedy

Now we’re at the island of misfit first baseman. Lots of disappointments reside here, and only a handful of those guys are at an age where you think a return to past glory is possible. Belt is theoretically on the way up with more playing time, but he hasn’t done much yet. That doesn’t mean he won’t, though.

Off The Radar
Adam LaRoche
Kila Ka’aihue
Chris Davis
Brandon Allen
Dan Johnson
Kendrys Morales
Ty Wigginton
Yonder Alonso
Chris Carter
Jorge Cantu
Xavier Nady
Jay Gibbons
Travis Ishikawa

Injury, ineffectiveness, minor leagues. Pick one or any combination of those three things and you can figure out why the guys in the above category are fantasy irrelevant.

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

24 Responses to “2011 First Base Rankings: June”

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  1. DR says:

    No Hosmer?

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  2. James says:

    Where’s Hosmer?

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  3. Eric Hosmer says:

    Hi. Did you forget about me? I think I’d slide in nice at the top of tier 3, or maybe even low tier 2.

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  4. Matt says:


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  5. Mike Axisa says:

    Yeah yeah yeah, missed Hosmer. I added him.

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  6. Boston Fan says:

    And Morse?!

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  7. Joe says:

    No Hosmer?

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  8. Joe says:

    Do you think Dunn gets close to the 27 HR total ZiPS is projecting for him?

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  9. Horned Owl says:

    Carlos Pena and his 7 HR May is relegated to the fifth tier? Harsh.

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    • Drew says:

      I thought that was odd, too.

      He definitely slumped horribly early on, but he’s .260/.415/.530-ing in his last 100+ plate appearances, which is about what you’d from him going forward (playing in Wrigley and all), no?

      Luke Scott’s ISO over the same time frame is .086, possibly due to his shoulder injury, possibly just a long drought from a streaky guy. Whatever it is, it’s not good.

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      • Drew says:

        Yes, I cherry-picked to prove my point. But I have faith in Carlos Pena, and so should you!

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      • Mark says:

        I agree. Its also worth pointing out that for the first six or seven weeks of the season, Pena was playing hurt before the power slowly came around, and the weather in Chicago was absolutely brutal, with constant cold weather and winds blowing in from center field. Now that its warming up and he’s seemingly healed up, Wrigley’s notorious hitter friendly warm-weather conditions should help Pena to produce pretty consistent power.

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  10. Drew says:

    In a very shallow league, I own:

    Dunn, Pena, Helton

    I’m carrying an extra 1B because I can’t play Dunn right now, basically. Because he sucks. Bad.

    Anyway, Smoak, Hosmer, and Moreland, (and Miranda, Wallace, Freeman et al) are available, with the first three being the most desirable options.

    If you had to pick 3 of these guys to own, including the ones I already have, which 3 would it be?

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    • Dan says:

      Hosmer, Smoak, and either Pena or Helton (depending on whether you want more pop or avg/obp)

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  11. Big Jgke says:

    Fielder has no average issues.

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    • Mike Axisa says:

      Agreed, but the guys in the tier ahead of him are hitting .320, .330. He’s not at that level.

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  12. kid says:

    Berkman ahead of Prince (hitting .291 as of today)? That is downright criminal.

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    • Phillie697 says:

      Apparently you haven’t been watching baseball in 2011 and missed Berkman, 2011 edition.

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  13. Blue says:

    Wiggington is off the radar?

    I mean, he’s not great but he’s a heck of a lot better than the guys on my 12-team NL waiver wire.

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  14. batpig says:

    Mike – please justify ranking Justin Smoak near the top of tier 3.

    He’s hitting .247 right now with mediocre counting stats for a 1B (8 HR, 48 runs + rbi) and 0 steals. He’s striking out 26% of the time for his career. ROS ZIPS projects a sterling .231 AVG the rest of the way. He’s not

    Did you actually think that one through? You really think it’s justified to place him one step behind Kevin freaking Youkilis in a fantasy article?

    Shoot, Wallace shouldn’t be in tier 3 either, everybody knows he’s not going to sustain a .380 BABIP and is really a .270ish hitter with mediocre power. But at least he’s at the bottom of the tier.

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  15. Wayne says:

    I think Morse and Wallace should swap spots, as I would be way more likely to pick up Morse off the wire.

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  16. Trumbo says:

    I don’t see how you can justify Mark Trumbo not being towards the top of the 3rd tier. Any worries about his PT went away when Kendry was annouced to be out for the year and Branyan is not a real threat to his PT. He has 30 HR power while also being afforded the opp to rack up 10-15 SB. Yes his Avg/Obp are lacking but he is still a guy who will contribute in 4 out of the 5 standards cats

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