The top 10 and 20 for 2011 fantasy baseball are in the bag, along with the top 20 catchers and your receipt for a $30 massage valued at $50. Thanks, Groupon! Today, Razzhands, we look at the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball. All this shizz can be found under the 2011 fantasy baseball rankings. Don’t believe me? Click the link. This top 20 list of 1st basemen is the opposite of the catchers, it is bursting at the seams like you at a Hometown Buffet. Speaking of gorging yourself, I want a top 1st baseman on my team in 2011. Sure, the list is deep, but 10 of these guys will probably be gone by the 4th round. Do you really want to go to battle with, say, Lance Berkman when someone else has, say, Ryan Howard? I don’t. I want to be one of the teams with a top 1st baseman. This list will get additional 1st basemen added to it in the way of sleeper posts. As with the other rankings, the first basemen are broken up into tiers with my projections included. Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball:
1. Albert Pujols – See top 10 for 2011 fantasy baseball for Albert Pujols’ projections.
2. Miguel Cabrera – See top 10 for 2011 fantasy baseball for Miguel Cabrera’s projections.
3. Joey Votto – See top 10 for 2011 fantasy baseball for Joey Votto’s projections.
4. Prince Fielder – See top 10 for 2011 fantasy baseball for Prince Fielder’s projections.
5. Adrian Gonzalez – See top 20 for 2011 fantasy baseball for Adrian Gonzalez’s projections.
6. Mark Teixeira – See top 20 for 2011 fantasy baseball for Mark Teixeira’s projections.
7. Ryan Howard – See top 20 for 2011 fantasy baseball for Ryan Howard’s projections.
8. Kevin Youkilis – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Dunn. I call this tier, “Your last chance for a 1st baseman I’d feel safe with.” Other fantasy baseball ‘perts will say 1st base is one of the deepest positions and you shouldn’t pay for it on draft day. Now, granted, Youuuuuuk had a fluke injury last year that should be fine in 2011, but do you feel as safe with Youuuuuk as you would with, say, Te(i)x? I wouldn’t. Do you feel as safe with Morneau as Fielder? Do you feel as safe with Dunn as you do with any of the first basemen in the 1st tier? And this is only one tier down. Go another tier down. How do you feel with Howard compared to Butler? With Fielder compared to Huff? Sure, some of the guys below may produce, but there’s also lots of pitfalls in there. As for Youuuuk, as mentioned, he should be fine returning from injury and give you his usual 25+ home runs and good counting stats. 2011 Projections: 95/27/95/.300/5
9. Justin Morneau – Last year, Morneau pulled a Kotchman and missed like a gazillion games. I wonder if his doctor warned him not to lie in a hammock under a palm tree for fear a coconut would drop on his melon. Eh, probably not. But maybe! Morneau’s more valuable than Youuuuuk if he can stay healthy, but put Morneau staying healthy in one hand and a fortune cookie that says, “Morneau never stays healthy” in the other hand and what do you have? Exactly! 2011 Projections: 85/25/100/.285
10. Adam Dunn – I have no scientific proof of this, but I think we’re due for a .240 average season from Big Donkey. I mean, two seasons of .260+ now for him. He’s playing with the house’s money, ain’t he? Unless he sold two of his usual forty homers for twenty points on his average. Then maybe Juan Pierre sold four steals to buy Dunn a hairbrush. That’s like that O. Henry story. 2011 Projections: 80/40/100/.245
11. Kendry Morales – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Huff. I call this tier, “You got caveats. Now go floss.” Morales has one solid season under his belt then a limp-off home run. Here’s what I said when he got hurt, “Too bad the Wide World of Sports isn’t still on. They could’ve covered the agony and the ecstasy all in one full swoop (with Morales’ home run). This injury reminds me of the time Justin Duchscherer heard The Hokey Pokey and in celebration put his right hip out. And didn’t put his right hip back in for six to eight months later.” That doesn’t mean anything as far as fantasy is concerned, but it made me giggle. I got some gems up in this mug! You’re welcome. There’s not much to say about Morales. If he’s healthy, draft him for 27+ home runs. If he’s rusty as all get out, then you’re sitting in a public restroom realizing ten minutes too late there’s no toilet paper. 2011 Projections: 80/26/95/.290
11 1/2. Adam Lind – His caveat is his strikeouts skyrocketed last year. Still, I’m a sucker for Lind. I wouldn’t be if 30 homers didn’t seem like such a pipe dream for so many players nowadays. I can’t promise you that he will return to the 35 homer hitter he was in 2009. It’s far from scientific but what I think happened last year was he was being unlucky so he expanded the strike zone causing the bottom to fall out. The numbers back up this theory. His HR/FB% was also off last year. Another 5 homers on top of his 23 homers last year is easily doable. With a little luck, you’re looking at a .270, 30 homer guy. With a lot of luck, you’re looking at even more. (Note: He only has 11 games at 1st base that’s why he got a half. Check the fantasy baseball position eligibility, fool!) 2011 Projections: 80/27/90/.270
12. Carlos Pena – I already went over my Carlos Pena fantasy when he signed with the Cubs. His caveat is his average. It could be silent and deadly. 2011 Projections: 70/35/95/.235/3
13. Billy Butler – It’s Mardi Gras and you have one more string of beads. You see what you believe is a foxy number, but you can only see her from the neck down. Do you wait to see her face or do you throw your beads on chest size alone? Those who drafted Butler last year after his 21 homer year in 2009 threw their beads and got flashed with a rack of moobs. Mr. Grapefruit just doesn’t have huge power potential like his Humpty Dumpty-shaped body would indicate. 2011 Projections: 80/20/90/.310
14. Buster Posey – See top 20 catchers for 2011 fantasy baseball for Buster Posey’s projections.
15. Paul Konerko – Last year, Konerko had his highest HR/FB% since 2005. He had his highest home run total since 2005. He had his highest strikeout rate ever. His lowest walk rate since 2004. His highest BABIP in his career. You got damn lucky last year if you owned him. If you own him again this year, you’re doubling down on an eighteen and the dealer’s showing a picture card. 2011 Projections: 70/24/85/.265
16. Aubrey Huff – I don’t buy his 2010 season at all. Actually, that’s a lie. I buy it. I just don’t think we can trust he’ll do it again in 2011. Not to mention, a big flashing red arrow is pointing at his alternate seasons of 15 home runs a piece in 2007 and 2009. If you get an off season from Huff, you’ve just lost your league. That’s just me being real wit’ you. You see the truth is everybody wanna know how close me and Huff is. Or who I’m still cool wit’. 2011 Projections: 70/22/80/.275
17. Lance Berkman – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Derrek Lee. I call this tier, “Oldies and not so goodies.” Maybe you draft someone from this tier and you get a 2010 Konerko. Maybe you get a 2010 Berkman. I would try not to live too much in the past. These guys have deteriorating skills. As for Berkman, line drives are down (literally!), ground balls are up (not literally!) and fly balls are down (literally!). St. Louis isn’t going to help turn around his career slide. Sorry. 2011 Projections: 65/20/75/.270/5
18. Carlos Lee – Member how I said two seconds ago that one of these guys may be a 2010 Konerko? If I had to bet, I wouldn’t guess public enemy #1, Chuck Lee. 2011 Projections: 65/24/75/.260/3
19. Mike Napoli – Not really old so sue the tier name for false advertising. See top 20 catchers for 2011 fantasy baseball for Mike Napoli’s projections.
20. Adam LaRoche – The people who draft LaRoche late and say they just want his 25 home runs and don’t care that he only hits in the second half are the same people who ask me on April 15th if they should drop LaRoche for Gaby Sanchez. That word is bond. 2011 Projections: 75/25/90/.265
21. Derrek Lee – Didn’t really want to turn this thing to 21, but I couldn’t fit Lee anywhere else and felt he needed to be accounted for especially with his new home in Baltimore. To think I couldn’t get in James Loney at all. Just don’t think about it for too long. It’s a waste of time. So let’s see why Derrek Lee is a candidate for a rebound… He’s old. He’s only hit more than 22 homers once in the last five years. He’s dealing with an injured thumb. The only reason I can think people are suddenly excited about Lee is because the O’s signed him. The O’s also finished in last place last year thirty games under .500. This is a team you want to emulate? If you’re pumped to find Lee on your draft board this late, you’re living in 2005. Go buy some Apple stock, it hasn’t peaked yet. 2011 Projections: 75/18/80/.275/3
After the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball, there’s a lot of names, but these two stand out:
Justin Smoak – Already went over my Justin Smoak fantasy. If you read that post backwards, it’s a Satanic message. Sorry, churchies! 2011 Projections: 75/22/90/.275
Gaby Sanchez – He’s a lot closer to Billy Butler’s value than he appears to be and at half the cost in your drafts. Actually, he might be better than Billy Butler. He’s only unofficially listed at number twenty-three because I wanted to highlight him. Check out his projections then look at Billy Butler’s. How’s dem apples? Delicious! 2011 Projections: 75/20/90/.270/5