High Fives: First Base

In conjunction with our First Base Primer, Yahoo! experts Brandon Funston, Brad Evans and Scott Pianowski offer their top-5 takes on the first base position. Topics include first basemen to seek or avoid, rookies and a nod to the past.

Top 5 first basemen you’ll reach for
Brandon Funston Says: Brad Evans Says: Scott Pianowski Says:
  1. Mike Morse – One of only 12 players with 30-plus doubles and HRs in ’11.
  2. Paul Goldschmidt – Could very well be the cheapest 30/100 producer in ’12.
  3. Michael Cuddyer – Outhouse to penthouse: Coors tops for RHH, Target Field No. 20.
  4. Ike Davis – Very cheap ADP considering his legit .280/25/90 potential.
  5. Adam Lind – See above (deduct a few BA points, add a few HRs).
  1. Paul Goldschmidt – ISO during brief run with ‘Backs suggests a cheap version of Mike Stanton.
  2. Ike Davis – Healthy. Citi fences moved in. Power on the rise. 25-30 homers coming.
  3. Freddie Freeman – Difference between him and pricier Eric Hosmer practically neglible.
  4. Mark Trumbo – 22-27 bombs likely with 450 at-bats. Quality later round buy.
  5. Mike Morse – Immersed in power prime. Affordable middle of the order producer.
  1. Freddie Freeman – Matched Hosmer’s debut but didn’t get the same pub.
  2. Michael Cuddyer – Thin air, position flexibility – count me in.
  3. Howie Kendrick – Some of the doubles are finally turning into homers.
  4. Mark Teixeira – Perfect environment, has been a little unlucky with average dip.
  5. Edwin Encarnacion – Was terrific in second half of ’11, and still just 29.
Top 5 first basemen you’ll try to avoid
Brandon Funston Says: Brad Evans Says: Scott Pianowski Says:
  1. Paul Konerko – Soon-to-be 36. We’re in borrowed time territory.
  2. Eric Hosmer – Near top 50 ADP is crazy for 1B with limited power upside.
  3. Lance Berkman – Plenty of turnoffs: Age, health history, Pujols gone
  4. Billy Butler – We can now safely say that his power tops out at 20 HRs.
  5. Carlos Lee – Like Konerko, Berkman, age a big concern. As is Astros awful lineup.
  1. Justin Morneau – Still experiencing numbness in left hand. Rodeo clowning less risky.
  2. Ryan Howard – Slightly ahead of rehab sched, but how much impact will long layoff have?
  3. Mark Teixeira – Applaud his efforts in HR, RBI and runs, but, damn, that BA blows.
  4. Eric Hosmer – Still developing power, but underlying profile says more 20-25 HR hitter.
  5. Todd Helton – Once roamed with triceratops, he is completely avoidable at advanced age.
  1. Justin Morneau – Body in revolt. Target crushes left-handed power.
  2. Paul Goldschmidt – Hate to pay expectant price for low-experience player.
  3. Adam Lind – Can’t hit lefties. Needs platoon partner.
  4. Brandon Belt – Love the player, but don’t trust Bruce Bochy.
  5. Eric Hosmer – Dig him, but I won’t price assumed improvement into my rank.
Top 5 late-round lottery tickets
Brandon Funston Says: Brad Evans Says: Scott Pianowski Says:
  1. Lucas Duda – The Dude abides with an ADP of 227 despite .280, 20-25 HR potential.
  2. Mike Carp – Reported to camp in outstanding shape after ’11 mimi-breakout.
  3. Adam LaRoche – Will go undrafted in many leagues despite avg. of 26 HRs, 89 RBIs from ’06-’10.
  4. Justin Smoak – After showing flashes the past two years, it’s now or never.
  5. Mitch Moreland – With regular playing time, not hard to produce in Texas lineup.
  1. Mitch Moreland – Breakout age? Check. Regular ABs in explosive lineup? Check. Bargain? Triple-check.
  2. Adam LaRoche – Only a season removed from .251-25-100-75 with the Diamondbacks.
  3. Bryan LaHair – Clubbed 38 HRs at Triple-A Iowa last year. Nice late flier.
  4. Chris Davis – With 500 at-bats, 30 HRs not unrealistic. Still a pup at 25.
  5. Jesus Guzman – Alonso breathing down neck, but showed nice upside with Pads last year.
  1. Adam Dunn – Too young to completely give up on yet.
  2. James Loney – Quietly rocked a .320/.380/.534 line in second half.
  3. Chris Davis – Has starting gig for the moment, and a good stroke for Camden.
  4. Justin Smoak – Karma hates him but don’t ignore the pedigree.
  5. Bryan LaHair – He’s no pup at 29, but grabbed MVP in the PCL.
Top 5 rookie first basemen
Brandon Funston Says: Brad Evans Says: Scott Pianowski Says:
  1. Yonder Alonso – Change of venue not ideal, but at least he finally gets his shot.
  2. Matt Adams – With Pujols gone, his 32 HR in 115 AA games has greater significance.
  3. Anthony Rizzo – Big power, but will have to battle LaHair and post-hype label.
  4. Chris Parmelee – Not huge power, but his plate approach offers staying power.
  5. Chris Marrero – A post-AS solution if LaRoche hasn’t found his groove by then.
  1. Matt Adams – With Pujols no longer in the picture, STL could call soon.
  2. Yonder Alonso – No longer trapped behind Votto, but Guzman no pushover in SD.
  3. Chris Marrero – If LaRoche struggles or is injured, he could seize opportunity.
  4. Anthony Rizzo – Likely to start in Iowa, but potential late-season impact player.
  5. Chris Parmelee – Former first-round pick could be Gaby Sanchez-like with Twins.
  1. Yonder Alonso – Gets the gig, but what’s his HR upside in Petco?
  2. Chris Parmelee – Snappy 2011 audition and Morneau seldom healthy.
  3. Chris Carter – Crazy gridlock in Oakland. Will they give him a shot?
  4. Anthony Rizzo – I’m still expecting great things … someday.
  5. Jordan Pacheco – Won’t be a regular unless others get hurt.
Top 5 favorite first basemen of your lifetime
Brandon Funston Says: Brad Evans Says: Scott Pianowski Says:
  1. Alvin Davis – ’84 AL ROY one of first reasons for an M’s fan to be excited.
  2. Fred McGriff – 30 HR with 5 different teams. Great smile. Great nickname. Legit HOF case.
  3. Cecil Fielder – Hitting a juice-free 51 HRs in ’90 was a big deal.
  4. John Kruk – His ’93 All-Star AB v. Randy Johnson was pure comedy.
  5. Steve Garvey – Mr. Clean was about as steady and dependable as they come.
  1. Mark Grace – All time hits leader of the 1990s. Party animal. Humorist.
  2. Fred McGriff – Crime Dog was a quiet assassin at the dish.
  3. Don Mattingly – Keith Hernandez gets credit for best ‘stache in Big Apple, but Mattingly’s truly put his to shame.
  4. Frank Thomas – Once blocked for Bo Jackson at Auburn. Obliterated pitches in Bigs.
  5. Kent Hrbek – He had herculean power. King of the half-swing homer.
  1. Darin Erstad – Gold Glover at two positions, gamer, great punter.
  2. Will Clark – Intense. Tough. Clutch.
  3. Adrian Gonzalez – A sweet swing, and a complete class act.
  4. Dmitri Young – Frozen-rope machine, the precursor to Kung Fu Panda.
  5. Prince Fielder – Big swing, big appetite, big smile.