The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Fantasy Front Office

March 18, 2014

Top 20 first baseman for 2014: Pay the gold price for a 1B in 2014

(Continued)

7. Albert Pujols, Angels: Too many owners are going to draft the Albert Pujols they remember. His indicators have declined along with his stats across the board. We shouldn’t rule out a rebound or count on it, but Pujols still has 30-homer skills and should post moderate run and RBI numbers.

8. Freddie Freeman, Braves: I have Freeman in one of my longtime keeper leagues. We’ll probably still be waiting for his 30-homer season after this year, but he could get to 25. And his batting average on balls in play was absurdly high last year, so don’t’ expect another .319 season. But his 25 homers will go well with .285 and piles of runs and RBIs.

9. Eric Hosmer, Royals: When I look at this trio (starting at Freeman) to end the top 10 I think upside and if I’m ranking them just on upside I’d put Hosmer first. He’s a 20-homer, 15-steal guy with the potential for 25 homers. If he hit more fly balls we might expect a 40-homer season.

10. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: Rizzo’s ineffectiveness against southpaws will hold him back. He hit .189 against LHPs last season and got 16 of his 23 homers against righties. He’s still 24, so there’s time to click, and if he clicks Rizzo could pop 40 homers.

11. Joey Votto, Reds: Votto has been one of my longtime favorites, and after his 37-homer, 16-steal season in 2010, it’s difficult to not be a fan. But that was three years ago. His three-year averages show an average of 145 games a season – that’s with a 162-game 2013 on the books, and he’s never come close to those lofty SB numbers again. The Reds aren’t going to help him much either. He hit .305 last year with 24 homers and only drove in 73 runs in 162 games. Yuck.

12. Mark Trumbo, Angels: I have to admit I started this list with somebody else’s list. I’ve been moving people around based on how I would draft players. I reveal this now because Trumbo didn’t get as much love on the list I cribbed from. But he’s got a good power profile, should flirt with matching his 85-run, 100-RBI stats from last season and his .268 average in 2012 seems doable based on his BABIP. If he hits those numbers and pops 35 homers, he’s a great value.

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