We’ve already went over the top 20 catchers for 2009; soon we’ll go over the top 20 2nd basemen for 2009, then the top 20 shortstops… Well, right now we’re going over the top 20 1st basemen for 2009 fantasy baseball.  It’s a look back, ya’ll!  Don’t worry, soon we’ll look forward.   With the 1st basemen, you’ll (maybe) notice that I’m a lot closer in my rankings and predictions for these guys as compared to the catchers.  This is to be expected.  1st basemen are usually guys in the middle of the lineups that produce every year; catchers are a crapshoot for hitting.  Okay, enough about catchers.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2009 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

1. Albert Pujols –  With or without a major league capable hitter behind him… With or without a working elbow tendon… None of it seemed to matter to Pujols.  Preseason Rank #1, 2009 Projections:  105/35/110/.335/5, Final Numbers:  124/47/135/.327/16

2. Prince Fielder – Here’s what I said in January of last year, “I’ve seen the big man falling into the third round of some drafts.  Makes me feel like I need to clear something up.  We’re drafting for 2009, not for what he did in 2008.   Sure, Berkman had a great 2008, but he’s hardly just entering his prime.  Yes, Fielder is the world’s fattest 24-year-old vegetarian and we should be worried about his general health when he’s in his 30s and needs a crane to get him to 1st base, but right now….”  And that’s me quoting me!  Preseason Rank #5, 2009 Projections:  85/40/110/.285, Final Numbers:  103/46/141/.299/2

3. Ryan Howard – I can predict his numbers in February with a blindfold on.  Sure, a blindfold doesn’t impede my ability to think about what Howard will hit, but you get my drift.  Preseason Rank #3, 2009 Projections:  100/45/140/.265, Final Numbers:  105/45/141/.279/8

4. Miguel Cabrera – He threw in an inconsequential 6 steals to help boost his value a bit.  Otherwise, he fell short of mine and just about everyone’s projections, taking a step back in power.  The RBIs were down, which was due to Leyland’s inability to find a decent #3 hitter.  Clete Thomas saw 146 at-bats in the three hole and hit .205.  I believe Clete hit third simply because his first name sounds basebally.  Preseason Rank #2, 2009 Projections:  100/39/125/.305, Final Numbers:  96/34/103/.324/6

5. Mark Reynolds – Everyone was saying 3rd base was extremely shallow.  And it was.  So what do you do when something’s shallow?  You either reach or you punt.  At some point in March, I decided to punt 3rd basemen in all of my leagues.  I wasn’t drafting high enough to get Wright (phew), Aramis had too many question marks for where he was being drafted and I wasn’t thrilled with Chris Davis as an upside pick.   So going through all of the potential upside picks in the later rounds, there was only one player that could give me 30 homers and 10 steals.  Actually, the more I looked at him, the more I couldn’t understand why he was being drafted so late.  Was he that different than Chris Davis?  So in every single league, I drafted this guy — Mini-Donkey.  (He acquired 1st base eligibility during the season.)  Ranked 14th for 3rd basemen, 2009 Projections:  75/31/100/.255/7, Final Numbers:  98/44/102/.260/24

6. Mark Teixeira – If I would’ve known exactly how the new Yankee Stadium would play — The Jetstream… Slide, Slide, slippity slide… — I probably would’ve guessed Tex could’ve done much more damage.  But I didn’t, and he didn’t.  Preseason Rank #4, 2009 Projections:  85/40/110/.285, Final Numbers:  103/39/122/.292/2

7. Derrek Lee – His season flummoxed me to a degree.  I didn’t see him exploding for the power he did.  I thought he still had some speed in his giraffe legs.  On the other hand, when he started poor (April — 1HR, .189), I pushed people to buy into a rebound.  Six of one, you know the rest.  Preseason Rank #11, 2009 Projections:  95/22/90/.295/8, Final Numbers:  91/35/111/.306/1

8. Kendry Morales – I liked him coming into the year, but even I didn’t think he had this many homers in his bat, which makes me think he might be overrated next year, but until then… Preseason Unranked, but he did get a Sleeper Post, Final Numbers:  86/34/108/.306/3

9. Pablo Sandoval – Went over him in the recap in the top 20 catchers.  (He acquired 1st base eligibility during the season.)  Ranked #13 for Catchers, 2009 Projections:  60/14/65/.300, Final Numbers:  79/25/90/.330/5

10. Kevin Youkilis – The nice thing about Youuuuuk is his predictability.  Will he hit 25 homers and bat near .300?  Yup, probably.  As with everyone, the RBIs and Runs are products of his environment.  But even those stats are usually right in line with his norms.  Death, taxes and Youk. Preseason Rank #9, 2009 Projections:  95/25/110/.295, Final Numbers:  99/27/94/.305/7

11. Joey Votto – For huge periods of 2009, Votto was a complete Failicorn.  And… Wait, needs to be bigger…  AND he still produced.  I’m very excited about Votto for 2010.  Preseason Rank #10, 2009 Projections:  85/28/100/.300/12, Final Numbers:  82/25/84/.322/4

12. Adrian Gonzalez – Imagine a world where there’s a new episode of The Wire on every night of the week, every meal consists of pork by-products in a tube shape and Adrian Gonzalez plays anywhere but Petco (and Metco).  Oh, and we all live in igloos made of grape ice pops.  Ah, yes, I like that. Preseason Rank #8, 2009 Projections:  85/34/95/.280, Final Numbers:  90/40/99/.277/1

13. Victor Martinez – Went over him in the recap in the top 20 catchers.  (He acquired 1st base eligibility during the season.)  Ranked #4 for Catchers, 2009 Projections:  65/18/95/.300, Final Numbers:  88/23/108/.303/1

14. Michael Cuddyer – Confession… Forgive me, Razzball Reader, but I wrote a good chunk of this post about two weeks ago.  At that point, Cuddyer was ranked 20th.  It didn’t help that Carlos Pena and Morneau were injured and Helton’s life-sized portrait of himself began to rapidly age, but it’s fair to say Cuddyer ended his season really well.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  93/32/94/.276/6

15. Adam Dunn – Two donkeys, one list.  Yeehaw!  (He acquired 1st base eligibility during the season.)  Ranked #23 for Outfielders, 2009 Projections:  80/40/85/.245/5, Final Numbers:  81/38/105/.267

16. Todd Helton – Eh, there’s guys below Helton I would’ve taken in his stead.  Morneau, Pena and Butler for stead sake.  Helton did have a much more productive season in 2009 than I thought he was capable of.  His numbers at 1st are still kinda yawnstipating.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  79/15/86/.325

17. Billy Butler – 51 doubles at the age of 23 is something to get very excited about.  I’ve already talked about him a bit for 2010.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Edgar Martinez-type season from him next year.  That is a big compliment.  Butler was in the preseason cheap alternatives post, where I said, “Bust can refer to Butler’s major league career thus far or his moobs….  Potential for 20 HRs and a .300 average.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  78/21/93/.301/1

18. Justin Morneau – I’ve never drafted Morneau on any team in any league ever — yes, I remember these types of things and forget loved ones’ birthdays.  I don’t avoid Morneau as much as I never see 3rd round value in a 1st baseman that is going to max out around 30 homers.  Weird that he plays in Minnesota because he gets big city hype every year.  Somewhere Wheelock Whitney, Jr. smiles. Preseason Rank #7, 2009 Projections:  90/27/115/.285, Final Numbers:  85/30/100/.274

19. Paul Konerko – Konerko’s one of those late round corner men that is always welcome in deep leagues and always ignored in shallow ones.  He falls between the cracks like C+ students.  He also showed up in the cheap alternatives post too with the aforementioned Moobs.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  75/28/88/.277/1

20. Carlos Pena – Led the AL in homers and missed about a month of the season.  Put that in your skull bong and smoke it.  Preseason Rank #14, 2009 Projections:  75/32/95/.265, Final Numbers:  91/39/100/.227/3

  1. dean says:

    @Grey: I love you….and yes, espn’s player rater seems to account too heavily for avg., or lack thereof.

  2. Grimlock says:

    You called a healthy Morneau the leading MVP candidate at around the midpoint of the season. He was useless after his back went out, but a healthy Morneau in 2010 could easily return more than 3rd round value, and it’s not like he has a history of injury problems. I don’t get the dislike. Is it because he’s Canadian? No wait, you love Joey Votto…I’m really confused.

  3. Off topic but…Kershaw has a huge opportunity to mature tonite. I’m a believer in the idea that postseason success can propel players to new plateaus. It won’t overcome nature (Hamels experience wasn’t going to overcome a tired arm) but can be metamorphic.

  4. AL KOHOLIC says:

    GREY,my skull-bong broke,kind of like my jaba pipe

  5. Tony says:

    51 doubles for Billy Butler, how many of those do you see translating into homeruns next year? when you say edgar martinez elaborate….

    30 homers? .300 plus average? eh?

  6. 101 M.P.H. says:

    Ah, Billy Ray Butler….

    I can keep Billy Ray for $10 next year. That decision may seem simple enough, but I find myself flush with keeper prospects for 2010 (usually the sign of a weak season, and this is no exception), and I could use some guidance.

    I’m of mixed feelings concerning Butler. At $10 there’s practically no downside, and seemingly a low risk of regression. With that said, I’m not sure whether he’ll take a step forward and become a 30-100-.300 hitter (I won’t even speculate as to how many runs he’ll score in the Royals’ line-up), or fall in line with Keith Hernandez’ career (Baseball Reference cites Hernandez as the hitter most statistically similar to Butler at age 22). I suppose you could do worse than Keith Hernandez for $10, but I don’t necessarily want to be drafting a Mark Grace type player as my starting first baseman.

    Grey, I was hoping you might be willing to take a look at this list and offer your top 7 for 2010 (Yahoo rules, mixed auction league, 14 teams, $260 payroll)

    Billy Butler $10
    Robinson Cano $18
    Ben Zobrist $10
    Garrett Jones $10
    Jason Kubel $10
    Nelson Cruz $13
    Justin Upton $10
    Nolan Reimold $10
    Chris Co(ghlan)ckroach $10
    Rafael Furcal $10
    Vernon Wells $10
    Josh Johnson $13
    Max Scherzer $13
    Scott Downs $5

    Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

  7. Frank Rizzo says:

    Agreed. Not what I would have liked for Miggy. Not great #’s for a stud 1st baseman. In Yahoo though, I used him as a 3b, where he was #1 in our league. His value was at 3b this year.

    Votto could be unreal next year if he puts a whole season together. Let me down for most of the year but during the playoffs, he may have been the #1 first baseman in baseball.

    As Grey says, whatever wins you your league is the right move. Votto ended up being a great trade for me.

  8. Tony says:

    @Frank Rizzo: ya i think votto had like 12 doubles in the fantasy playoffs? thats SICK! def’ly helped me….

    @101 M.P.H.: i’d keep Cruz, butler, zobrist, J-UP, robot jones, cano (maybe), and….. josh johnson.

    No bigger names than these guys that you’re going to keep??? Is 7 your total keepers or are there 3 other more elite players you’re not listing or something?

  9. Jif & The Choosy Mothers says:

    Gents (and two ladies):

    Off topic, apologies for that, but any hoops fans interested in a simple fantasy basketball ESPN league? “Simple” because we’re going straight points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks – that’s it. That’s all that really matters.

    Might ask everyone to throw up a few bucks – at least $10 – to keep it interesting, but if there’s not widespread agreement on doing so, we’ll likely skip that idea. Draft will be down and dirty – 60 seconds per pick – 10 pm Eastern on Opening Night, Tues. Oct. 27.

    Write me at: [email protected] – if this has piqued your interest or if you have any questions.

  10. Royo says:

    @101 M.P.H.: Assuming you are not in an OBP league and that your league doesn’t heavily spend on pitchers like most leagues: Upton, Zobrist, Kubel, Johnson, Butler, Cruz. Then it depends if Downs is the closer and how much scrub closers go for in your league. Downs/Cano/Jones would be my last choice. I’m not really robot people, despite owning him this year. I guess I’m not buying into the 22% HR/FB and the .325 BABIP. Can you package Cruz and Cano to get a slam dunk MI keeper?

  11. Roger Dorn's Nemesis says:

    Grey & all the commenters… Great banter all year fellas (& the 2 females). I’ve been a daily lurker & seldom commenter since mid April. The combo of humor & legitimate advice has kept me coming back each day, usually multiple times. I ended up 1st in 2 leagues & 4th in a competitive keeper league where I’m set up for a good 2010 run. I’m $400 in the black & got some great laughs along the way.. Many thanks. More drinks are en route..

  12. Grey

    Grey says:

    @dean: Nice, I love you too. Let’s get married in Hawaii!

    @Grimlock: He was an MVP candidate in July. He averages just under 30 homers and a .280 average on his career with no steals. That’s not 3rd round value unless he has a lot of RBIs. RBIs are fluky, not great to be drafting for them.

    @Elijah: On one hand, be nice to see him get into the 7th inning. On the other, I don’t want him throwing a lot more innings.

    @AL KOHOLIC: Ha!

    @Tony: What, eh? Why, eh? That’s Morneau in the 17th round.

    @101 M.P.H.: Butler, Zobrist, Upton, Cruz, Jones, Cano, Johnson… Your keepers aren’t that solid, would like a few more brand names.

    @Frank Rizzo: Yup

    @Roger Dorn’s Nemesis: No problem, congrats!

  13. PJtres says:


    In a 12 team keeper league (where we each keep 6), i have utley, miggy cab, arod, longo, vmart, and greinke…

    People are interested in trading for Vmart…
    the guy who has mauer said he would give me mauer for longoria…

    would you do that deal???

  14. 101 M.P.H. says:

    Thanks for the replies to my keeper issue.

    In response to the concerns about a lack of marquee names, there are a couple of points that I should have mentioned:

    a) our league doesn’t allow players to be kept if their price exceeds $29 (factoring in $3 per year inflation); and

    b) players can only be kept for a total of two years after being purchased at auction.

    I think that Cano and Zobrist would make a solid middle infield at $28 (although I’d have to pay a premium for outfield steals).

    Justin Upton is a no-brainer.

    Robot Jones is intriguing, but I suspect there’s a pretty substantial batting average risk there, and hitting in the Pirates’ line-up has limited both his RBI potential (although his batting average with runners in scoring position didn’t help either) and runs scored.

    It’s hard to argue against Josh Johnson at $13. He’s a rock solid #2 starter, if not a staff ace.

    I’m a bit hesitant to part with Kubel. The hype of his late September heroics aside, he’s a 27 year old player who hit .300 with 28 homers and 103 RBIs. He’s only now entering his peak years, and if he improves vs. lefties he could yield a ton of value for $10.

    I appreciate the suggestions, and I note that Butler is a recurring pick amongst all concerned. I’ll keep him and hope for the 30-100-.300 upside.

    Thanks again for the help!

  15. Eric says:

    After I won my league in 2007 and again in 2008, I was disappointed this year with a 3rd place finish in 2009. In 2007 and 2008, I dominated in pitching and also in batting categories. Pitching was the problem this year. Batting I finished in 1st place once again. I was last in ERA and 3rd to last in WHIP. Middle of the pack in saves and wins and near the top in strikeouts. Deficits like that are hard to overcome. Need some advice for next season though. How do I fix the pitching?

    To know how to fix it, first I need to know what went wrong right? The plan going into the draft was to draft batters as a high priority. The first six picks were batters:
    1 – David Wright
    2 – Mark Teixeira
    3 – Alfonso Soriano
    4 – Carlos Lee
    5 – Aramis Ramirez
    6 – Brandon Phillips

    Then I planned to alternate picking batters and pitchers for the next 8 rounds:
    7 – Josh Beckett
    8 – Garrett Atkins
    9 – James Shields
    10 – Chad Billingsley
    11 – Hunter Pence
    12 – Rich Harden
    13 – J.J. Hardy
    14 – Rafael Furcal

    After that I got closers and catchers and late round sleepers. Notable ones included:
    16 – Milton Bradley
    18 – Chris Iannetta
    20 – Lastings Milledge
    21 – Kevin Slowey
    22- Pablo Sandoval
    23 – Clayton Kershaw
    24 – Gil Meche
    25 – Mike Napoli
    26 – Hiroki Kuroda
    27 – Wandy Rodriguez

    After the season started I traded Josh Beckett to acquire Matt Kemp. Also, traded JJ Hardy for Max Scherzer early on. I stupidly cut Wandy Rodriguez before he caught fire. Shields was a disaster all season that I finally cut in September. Billingsley was benched in August and left there. Harden was off and on all season. Slowey was bad, then got hurt. Kershaw was up and down. He was bad when I started him and good when I benched him. Never could win there. Many waiver-wire claims were disasters as well. There was really no anchor to the pitching staff.

    Here’s the question I have though: Do you think I was just unlucky this year or should I change my draft strategy and pick pitchers earlier? Any advice is appreciated.

  16. Grey

    Grey says:

    @PJtres: I wouldn’t.

    @101 M.P.H.: No problem and your concerns on Robot Jones are founded.

    @Eric: Meche, Shields, Harden and Slowey didn’t pan out, then you traded away your ace and lost your real ace in Wandy. That’ll hurt your pitching. I think you got unlucky in your drops, who you drafted and who you picked up. If you were to draft, say, Wainwright instead of Harden as I advised, you would’ve been better. If you drafted F-Her instead of Beckett, you would’ve been better. These are coin flips and nothing to do with your strategy.

  17. Eric says:

    Thanks Grey. I was hoping it had more to do with bad luck than bad strategy.

  18. Tony says:

    @101 M.P.H.: haha well knowing that you can’t keep certain guys makes a big difference…. your keeps aren’t that bad considering half the top players are going back into the draft….

  19. 101 M.P.H. says:

    @Tony: It’s a pretty important detail that I left out. The rationale behind the rule is that everyone deserves a shot at the high end players if they’re willing to spend enough to get them, so no player can be kept for more than $29.

    With the keepers that I have, I can fill in the holes (3rd baseman, speedy OF, and perhaps 1st baseman if I use Butler as a utility) from a selection of big name players.

    I’m still struggling with a strategy for my pitching staff (trying to find that budget balance between reliable closers and quality starters), but I guess there’s plenty of time to get that sorted out.

    But what to do with Kubel???

  20. AL KOHOLIC says:

    @Grimlock: looking up morneau`s splits from 2005 till present he has 93 hr-417 games and a 299 ave.befor all star break and a huge hr drop of 47 hr 336 games and a 280 ave. i like him also but if i drafted him high id look to trade him high before the break

  21. Grimlock says:

    The thing is, Grey, it looked very much like Morneau had turned a corner this season before the injury. Healthy Morneau was on pace for about 50 dongs before the back problem. I think his 30 hr seasons are a thing of the past, but then I enjoy wild speculation.

  22. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Grimlock: I think the thing is what AL said. He’s not great after the break so it’s hard to say he would’ve continued his pace.

  23. big o says:

    had to run to the farm-stand for some sweet corn , etc .
    3rd inning now .
    is cook gonna win this game ?

    lester’s a lock ?

    schilling’s complaining about play-off umps .
    and the boys @ weei seem to think that varitek will only catch 30-45 games next year .
    most agreed that varitek will only catch in this series against the angels IF beckett insists .
    sawx only carrying 2 catchers , so varitek may get 2 AB’s , and then switch around the 1st basemen , as he gets pinch-hit for .

  24. big o says:

    torrealba may have just answered that question for you

  25. big o says:

    schilling said he loves youk’s competitive drive , but said he acts like a 9 year old , after every failed at-bat .
    weei guys were trying to get schilling to say that youk was a disruptive clubhouse figure

  26. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: Love how the media has no angle for the Sox then they contrive one.

  27. Dom says:


    Thanks for all the advice this year. I won myleague; it came down to the last game Sunday nights… I’ll be sending a daiquiri your way soon.

  28. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Dom: Cool, glad you won!

  29. vinko says:

    Grey, I concur with the gang, thanks for all of your advice. It definitely made a difference! And please enjoy daiquiri.

  30. Grey

    Grey says:

    @vinko: Cool, glad I could help.

  31. big o says:

    did that announcer just say that feliz dropped in a “ric flair” to right ?

  32. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: Ha, I wish.

  33. big o says:

    i swear to GOD
    i just backed it up and turned the volume way up

    …” and drops in a ric flair to right” …
    you got tivo ?

  34. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: I do, but not on the TV I’m watching the game on. Did he follow that up with, WOOOO?

  35. big o says:

    don’t know the name of the announcer …. but , not brian … other guy .
    call came on the slow motion re-play , with ball dropping in front of fowler .
    no woooo

  36. big o says:

    if the dodgers and the phillies both advance ,
    am looking forward to
    bastardo facing , you know, hu

  37. big o says:

    looks like the phils were taking the correct approach vs street ,
    waiting for him to elevate the ball .

    under 7 runs
    my choice in wainwright/kershaw

  38. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: Under 7 makes sense.

  39. big o says:

    and , as i say that ,
    holliday goes deep .

    also , these cards road uniforms are rather pedestrian .
    dingy looking
    with horizontal stripes mid-way up their socks ??

  40. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: That Holliday homer looked like it should’ve only been out of Coors and Citizen’s.

  41. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: BTW, your Cardinals uniform critique made you sound like Tim Gunn.

  42. @Grey:

    Hah. @Votto, he had half of an MVP season, the other half was more or less Metsian.

  43. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Elijah: Yes, he’s lucky a shirtless Bernazard didn’t come after him.

  44. big o says:

    so , kershaw hits his targeted innings (171)
    are you worried about him (ala cole hamels) , for next year ,
    if the dodgers go deep this post-season ?

  45. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: Yeah, a wee bit.

  46. The Dude says:

    I’m not sure I buy into where you’ve placed Sandoval. He greatly exceed expectations this year, and the two eventual winners in my two leagues had him in at catcher.

    BUT, his raw numbers were not that spectacular in comparison to the other 1B you have listed below him. I’ll give you his AVG was outstanding, but does that make up for the ~20+ runs that others scored, the ~10+ RBI’s or the 5-15 HR’s?

    If you took the names away and had me rank top 20 based only on numbers, I’d have to place Pablo’s in the last 3-5 not in the top 10.

    This is a year in review right? Not a projection for next year. I see why he was placed as high as he was on your Catcher list (where his true value was), but can’t see his 2009 season as better than most of these 1B.

  47. Grey

    Grey says:

    @The Dude: Yeah, this is a year in review. Not for next year. If you’re moving Pablo down, then Youk gets moved down too.

  48. AL KOHOLIC says:

    @Grey: damn ,you have to love what holliday has done in st. louis,till that manny play

  49. Grey

    Grey says:

    @AL KOHOLIC: Still can’t believe he dropped it.

  50. AL KOHOLIC says:

    @Grey: yeah and did you see Manny barely snag the one an inning earlier?i was ready to watch him do that triple pike roll on the ground again,im about done rebuilding from the flood,and been real busy but i will be drilling you before drafts next year to get a better game plan on sp`s,its been a downfall for years,and ive still won a few and stay in the top 3 regularly,but my pitching,so believe me while ive been busy,ive still been reading,plus doc and the guys are doing great in the football site,just wish you were into football,gurkha and woodford night

  51. Grey

    Grey says:

    @AL KOHOLIC: Yeah, Doc and the rest of the guys seem like they’re doing a solid job. Good to hear that you’re bouncing back from that flood. Didn’t see the Manny catch.

  52. AL KOHOLIC says:

    @Grey: it was close to a triple and DREAD LOCKS everywhere

  53. AL KOHOLIC says:

    @Grey: i dont see a lot of Angels games but ive seen Chonne Figgins make 2 great plays,is he that good fielding?(NO FANTASY VALUE,just wandering if hes that good on defense?

  54. Grey

    Grey says:

    @AL KOHOLIC: Yeah, he’s good, not great. Middle of the road.

Comments are closed.