With Independence Day in the rear-view mirror and all but two teams (Royals and Nationals) having played their 81st game, it’s time for a midseason update to our first base rankings. Due to popular demand, the catchers (Buster Posey, Mike Napoli, Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana) have been left out of the rankings, ditto the middle infielders (Michael Young and Howie Kendrick). Here are the preseason, May, and June tiers for reference.
Votto is clearly the better hitter in baseball and at least in the conversation for the best all-around player in the game. Konerko has slowed down a bit since his “minor” wrist procedure but not enough to derail his season or dampened his expected fantasy production. The other three are pretty self-explanatory.
Sandoval came back from his injury as did Craig, who’s just been a monster at the plate. Lance Berkman‘s eventual return may cut into his playing though, which would be a shame. Both the Cardinals and fantasy owners need that bat in the lineup. Encarnacion and Trumbo give you Tier One production without the track record, though Gonzalez and Teixeira have slid out of that top bracket despite their histories.
Belt has grabbed hold of an everyday spot with his production and that’s a good thing for all involved. LaHair has cooled off of late but I still think he’s going to produce enough in the second half to be worth a starting spot. He is just a platoon bat, however. Youkilis has a clear shot at playing time now and although he isn’t the Youk of old, he’s still better than so many first basemen out there.
We’ve gotten to the point where sending Hosmer back to Triple-A has to be a serious consideration, which is sad to see. Rizzo was recalled not too long ago and has done well so far. Davis still isn’t back to being the guy he was before his injury last year, but he’s been substantially better of late.
Lee didn’t jump in the rankings because of the trade, he just came back from his hamstring injury. If anything, the move out of Minute Maid Park will hurt his production. Scott has been brutal since coming off the DL, like no hits in 22 plate appearances brutal. It was nice of Murphy to finally chip in a few homers, that’s always a plus.
In our spectrum of adequacy, these guys range anywhere from regrettable to participatory.
Off The Radar (injuries, minors, etc.)
Puma and Howard will be back before long and there’s a non-zero chance V-Mart will play this year. I don’t think it’ll be enough to justify carrying him in the DL spot all season, however.