After drudging through an Andy Dufresne-type tunnel for the top 20 catchers for 2011, I find myself with a group that actually really hurt or helped your team depending on how you drafted. If you went wrong with your 1st baseman, it could kill your season.  Hey, Justin Morneau, no hard feelings from me.  We are totally fine.  Please enjoy these cyanide pills I made special for you.  If you went right, you might’ve won your league. To recap, this final ranking is from ESPN Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

1. Miguel Cabrera – Member when people were moving away from Swiggy Cabrera in the preseason and I said stop paying attention to preseason nonsense?  You need to turn down the treble and remove the noise.  I’m not sure if people run with these nonsense stories to sell pageviews or they really believe the tripe their slinging.  Either way, it made no difference.  Miguel’s breathalyzer never dips below .320, but his power was a bit down.  But II, The Return of But, he still gave you all that and a bag of breath mints for the long ride home.  Preseason Rank #2, 2011 Projections:  110/37/120/.320/5, Final Numbers:  111/30/105/.344/2

2. Adrian Gonzalez – Sure, I ranked him 5th for all 1st basemen in the preseason, but he was also ranked 10th overall with five first basemen in my preseason top 10.  People said I was crazy to stack my top 10 with 1st basemen and power hitters.  People said you can get 1st basemen later.  Grab Youkilis, people said.  Or Aubrey Huff.  Or Morneau.  Oh, wait, I was one of those people that said to grab Morneau.  Oh, well.  They ain’t all gems.  Hopefully that’s my last comment about Morneau for at least three blurbs.  Okay, one more Morneau comment.  In the preseason, I said, “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!”  And that’s me foreseeing crap and not even getting out of the way when Morneau started flinging it!  Preseason Rank #5, 2011 Projections:  100/37/110/.280, Final Numbers:  108/27/117/.338/1

3. Albert Pujols – I’m beginning to think that he could miss five of six months and still get 100/35/100/.300.  On a side note, he should open a bar in West Hollywood named Pujols.  It would give The Manhole a run for its money.  Preseason Rank #1, 2011 Projections:  105/37/115/.315/10, Final Numbers:  105/37/99/.299/9

4. Joey Votto – Another reason to take a first baseman very early in a draft.  How many of them flopped from my first 20 overall picks?  None.  There were shortstops that flopped.  Outfielders that flopped.  No 1st basemen.  Sure, Ryan Howard didn’t hit for a great average, but he still got 110+ RBIs and 30+ homers.  Preseason Rank #3, 2011 Projections:  95/32/110/.310/10, Final Numbers:  101/29/103/.309/8

5. Prince Fielder – Just another huge year on an odd-numbered year.  Making us saberhagenmetricians look smart.  Preseason Rank #4, 2011 Projections:  100/38/115/.280, Final Numbers: 95/38/115/.299/1

6. Michael Young – Another guy that had a ton of noise around him in the preseason.  “Ooh, Grey, your mustache is full and beautiful but don’t you think Young will be hurt by all of this trade talk.”  That’s you.  Me, “Stop listening to all this superfluous stuff.”  Only I didn’t say stuff.  I said shizz.  Preseason Rank #8 for 3rd basemen, 2011 Projections:  85/17/80/.280/5, Final Numbers:  88/11/106/.338/6

7. Lance Berkman – Said in the preseason that maybe Lance Berkman can give you a 2010 Konerko-type year (a big bounce back for a vet), but I really didn’t believe Berkman could do it.  Then for almost two months I continued to tell you he’d stop doing it or get injured while he was actually doing it.  Yeah, Berkman and I had our differences this year.  I don’t believe in Berkman for next year either, if you were wondering how obstinate I can be.  Preseason Rank #17, 2011 Projections:  65/20/75/.270/5, Final Numbers:  90/31/94/.301/2

8. Paul Konerko – For Konerko, I’m sick of predicting the end when the end just keeps running into the here and now.  That is not a line from Air Supply, but could be.  Preseason Rank #15, 2011 Projections:  70/24/85/.265, Final Numbers:  69/31/105/.300/1

9. Michael Morse – First totally out of nowhere name, which means if you decided to punt 1st base early in your draft, you had to get Morse or you were screwed.  BTW, his photo makes him look like the biggest doofus.  And, really, I don’t use the word doofus too much, except when it’s totally applicable like right now.  Looks like he should be saying, “Which way did he go, George; which way did he go?”  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  73/31/95/.303/2

10. Mark Teixeira – The average has really dipped recently (.256 in 2009), which I no longer think is an aberration, but three times in a row is a better pattern.  The rule of three yadda3.  As long as he’s on the Yanks and hitting in The House They Built In The Parking Lot Next To The House That Ruth Built, it’s gonna be hard to fault all the other stats.  Preseason Rank #6, 2011 Projections:  105/35/115/.280, Final Numbers:  90/39/111/.248/4

11. Mike Napoli – Went over Napoli in the top 20 catchers for 2011 fantasy baseball post.

12. Ryan Howard – I don’t buy that he was actually this low in value.  Again, this is somewhere the ESPN Player Rater and I don’t see eye to eye.  They overrate average and steals.  As for everyone who agrees that Ryan Howard wasn’t good this year and I’m crazy, I like to point you to a picture of my long-lost son.  Preseason Rank #7, 2011 Projections:  85/38/100/.265, Final Numbers:  81/33/116/.253/1

13. Eric Hosmer – Not bad for two-thirds of a season.  Not to scream fire in the theater of Razzball, but he kinda looks like the 2nd coming of Votto.  No, I don’t use those words lightly.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  66/19/78/.293/11

14. Howie Kendrick – Kendrick is such a cusp player.  I’ll explain.  If he gets 5 less homers or steals, he loses so much of his value.  It tends to be the case with guys who get a lot of value from average.  See Michael Young as another example.  Preseason Rank #14 for 2nd basemen, 2011 Projections:  65/12/85/.305/15, Final Numbers:  86/18/63/.285/14

15. Billy Butler – His season was decent, about what I’d expect (as you see from my preseason projections), but I’m not exactly altering my copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to a picture book with Butler titled, The Man with the Luscious Cans, because his cans were only saved by a 2nd half that was big like his badonkadonk.  Preseason Rank #13, 2011 Projections:  80/20/90/.310, Final Numbers:  74/19/95/.291/2

16. Michael Cuddyer – His real value came when he gained 2nd base eligibility.  Also, I do these top 20 listings in the order you read them, so I’ve only done the catchers and 1st basemen thus far.  I tell you this because I was just thinking that I bet Cuddyer is the only Twins hitter or pitcher to rank anywhere in these end of the season lists.  What a shizzshow in Minny.  At the end of the year, they should have a Worst Series, where the two worst teams square off in a best of seven.  Like you wouldn’t watch the Astros take on the Twins.  Preseason Rank #51 for outfielders, 2011 Projections:  85/20/80/.275/5, Final Numbers:  70/20/70/.284/11

17. Mark Trumbo – It’s a little weird how much I ignore average.  I looked at Trumbo and Hosmer’s season and really had no idea how Trumbo was below him in ranking.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  65/29/87/.254/9

18. Freddie Freeman – Having a hard time figuring out how his season was worse than Mr. Grapefruit, Billy Butler.  Feel free to share if you figure it out.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  67/21/76/.282/4

19. Carlos Lee – The one nice thing I can say about Carlos Lee is you didn’t expect anything and he didn’t disappoint.  Preseason Rank #18, 2011 Projections:  65/24/75/.260/3, Final Numbers:  66/18/94/.275/4

20. Mark Reynolds – After Bautista, Mini Donkey caused probably the biggest uproar in the preseason due to my ranking.  I ranked him 6th overall for 3rd basemen and he finished the year 8th overall.  Out of all the preseason projections for 3rd basemen (which will be up in a few days), Reynolds ended up coming in closest to where I thought he would.  Terrible average, good power and some light speed.  So far I’ve been more right about Reynolds than any other player through the course of his career.  It’s like I’m wearing Birkenstocks, loose-fitting sweats, doing Downward Facing Donkey pose and looking right through Reynolds’ third chakra.  Or something.  Preseason Rank #6 for 3rd basemen, 2011 Projections:  80/35/95/.235/12, Final Numbers:  84/37/86/.221/6