In order to add some substance to our rankings, Michael Ryan and Cody Crosby discussed some of the hot topics surrounding this year's first base options.
Who to take after , ' value, ' and 's rankings, and what to expect from in 2010 are discussed below.
Cody Crosby: We seem to agree on the top seven first basemen, but not necessarily their order. With Albert Pujols as the obvious first choice, what should be taken into account when drafting from the next six first basemen?
Michael Ryan: First basemen are typically the anchor of your offense; they're the big guys that are going to hit a lot of homers and drive in a lot of runs. First base is incredibly deep this year but if you want one of the big boys you're going to have to pay.
After Pujols, it becomes a matter of preference between , , , and . I don't like to hurt myself in average early on so I tend to devalue Howard despite his incredible power numbers. I have Prince as my number two first baseman this year because he brings almost as much power as Howard but without the batting average risk.
Cody Crosby: You have Mark Reynolds ranked pretty low. Are you avoiding him due to low average or are you just not buying his numbers from 2009?
Michael Ryan Both. Reynolds had an amazing year but I am not going to be paying to see if he can do it again. With how deep first base is I have a hard time using a high draft pick or spending a lot of auction money on a guy that I don't have faith in to repeat his 2009 numbers.
Reynolds broke his own major league record by striking out 223 times, which makes it near impossible to maintain a high batting average. He was on a lot of people's fantasy MVP lists this year but if you owned him in a head to head league I would venture that you would have a hard time agreeing thanks to his .187 average in the last month of the season. His steal totals by month were pretty consistent but I would be cautious about expecting him to even approach 20 again for 2010. The fact that he was caught on almost 1/3 of his attempts has me wondering if he will have the green light on the paths next year.
Michael Ryan: Most people, myself included, rank Kevin Youkilis as a top ten first baseman but you have him all the way down to 16. Why all the hate for the Greek God of Walks?
Cody Crosby: Youk just isn't giving me what I want in our relationship. When I'm drafting a top 1B, I'm usually looking for a category killer. Yeah, Youk is pretty dang consistent but he was ranked 17th in HR and 16th in RBI for first baseman last season. These are two stats I'm looking for my first bagger to own up. Youk just doesn't do it for me. I would much prefer him at 3B on my sqaud.
Michael Ryan: You have Derrek Lee as your 8th first baseman, ahead of young sluggers named , Mark Reynolds, and . DLee had a nice 2009 but why should owners take the 34 year old ahead of these rising studs for 2010?
Cody Crosby: Lee is tempting me this year after a surprising 2009 season. He out-produced Morales in RBI, HR, and runs last year, topped Votto in RBI, HR, and runs, and significantly outpaced of Reynolds in RBI last season.
Lee has been a solid contributor over the last decade of fantasy baseball and should have a better supporting cast in 2010. has to be better than last season's puke fest. and will, hopefully, play at least 150 games while will be shipped out of town for something better, heck, anything is better than Bradley at this point. I'm taking a consistent Lee with 35+ home-run potential over the youngin's directly below him.
Michael Ryan: We both have David Ortiz at 20th for 2010. What kind of numbers are you expecting from the aging Boston slugger for 2010?
Cody Crosby: Somehow, Big Papi turned a dismal start to 2009 into respectable numbers for anyone else not named Big Papi. He looked sluggish and couldn't find the ball for most of the season. While he is still rosterable in all leagues, don't count on him for your everyday first base production. His 34 year-old body seems to be catching up to him. I'm looking around 27 HRs, 65 runs, 90 RBI, and a .245 AVG in 2010. That's probably an upper-bound guess too. I just don't think he can be the Big Papi that Bean Town fell in love with much longer.