Saturday, April 6, 2013

2013 MLB Top 10 First Baseman

As the 2013 baseball season comes rolling in, Reading Between The Seams will be listing the top 10 players in the Major League's position by position. In this article we will be discussing the MLB's Top 10 first baseman. Our list has been debated by members of our staff in hopes to provide detailed information for your upcoming fantasy baseball drafts. Take a look firsthand, and tell us how you would rate our top 10 first basemen in order.

10. Boston Red Sox 1B. Mike Napoli
This was not the way Mike Napoli had envisioned his free agency. Just a two years ago the Texas Rangers made the trade of the year by taking Mike Napoli off the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Frankie Francisco. That season, 2011, Napoli was one of the hottest offensive players in the majors by batting .320 30HRs, 75RBI. He was a key element that led the Texas Rangers back to the playoffs and World Series. In the World Series, Napoli manage to hit .350BA 2HR 10RBI while primarily playing the catcher's position. He could have easily been the MVP of the series if it weren't for late inning heroics by the St. Louis Cardinal's David Freese. In 2012, he continued to play behind the plate for the Rangers and his power numbers were still there as he hit 24 home runs. The disappointing part of Napoli's season was his batting average dropping down to a dismal .227, .93 points from the year before. Mike, may have played his hand wrong during the season which may have led to his average declining. He filed for free agency and thought he had inked a 3 year, 39million dollar deal with the Boston Red Sox but it was terminated because of a hip issue during a physical. Though his 3 year deal was voided, The Red Sox did give him a one year deal worth 5million dollars to play first base. His numbers should rise being at Fenway, and not having to worry about the wear and tear being behind the plate. 2013 Prediction .265BA 28HR 82RBI .362OPB .502SLG

9. Arizona Diamondback 1B. Paul Goldschmidt
Goldy has solidified himself as an everyday player for the Diamondbacks shortly after his arrival back August 2011. Just last year the rising star batted .286 20HR 82RBI in his first full season. He was a steal in the 8th round of the 2009 Major League draft out of Texas State, hitting the major leagues just 2 seasons later and not slowing down. His size (6'3", 230 lbs) lends itself to power and he may just be getting started with last year's production. He's also a great doubles hitter, tallying 43 last year to finish among the Top 5 in the NL. One of the most astonishing things about Goldschmidt is he is the only first basemen out of the group that can steals bases. Just last year he manage to steal 18 bases in 21 attempts. There is no reason why he can't become a member of the 20/20 club this coming season. As Paul matures and continues to get a feel for the game there should be know reason why he can't move into the top five first basemen in the game right now. 2013 Prediction .282BA 25HR 96RBI 25SB .356OPB .493SLG

8. Atlanta Braves 1B. Freddie Freeman
If you are an Atlanta Braves fan, you get to see a budding star firsthand in Mr. Freeman. When Freddie was called up from the minors fall in 2010 all he did was hit his first ever home run off Roy Holliday. Since then he has been a quiet force at first base smacking 21 and 23 home runs in his first two full season in the Majors. Since Chipper Jones has exit stage left, the Atlanta Braves will still maintain excellence as they will now rely on their youth of Jayson Heyward and Freddie Freeman to be their one, two punch to go along with the Upton brothers. Entering his third full season in the majors Freeman has already recorded a twenty game hit streak in his short career. 2013 Prediction .280BA 26HR 95RBI .354OPB .468SLG

7. Washington Nationals 1B. Adam LaRoche
It's good to see this journeyman finally having a stable home! Adam LaRoche has to be the most underrated first baseman on the list. When drafting for an infielder on the right side of the diamond, you typically not thinking of LaRoche being your choice as your first baseman. Don't sleep on him because LaRoche comes to play and he will be called upon being an integral part of the Washington Nationals success once again. Just last year LaRoche smacked 33HR and 100RBI which led to his first Silver Slugger Award and his first Gold Glove. Adam also gained a contract extension. Good for him. I wouldn't be surprise to find similar numbers from the 9 year veteran as his 2013 Prediction .270BA 30HR 105RBI .339OPB .470SLG

6. Toronto Blue Jays 1B. Edwin Encarnacion
With the potential lineup the Toronto Blue Jays have plan for this upcoming season will provide plenty of runs if and only if Jose Reyes goes back to his MVP form. If, Melky Cabrera can find away to have enough juice (no pun intended!), I mean magic like he had last season and of course if Jose Bautista can manage to come back from a wrist injury. Then again, Edwin didn't have none of them in front of him last year and still manage to be the Most Improved Player in the Major Leagues. Encarnacion had a career year batting .280BA 42HR and 110RBI. Could this be the year that the team from Canada conquers the American League East. In order for that to happen Encarnacion will have to continue to put up all-star numbers. 2013 Prediction .290BA 34HR 112RBI .364OPB .520SLG

5. Los Angeles Dodgers 1B. Adrian Gonzalez
Can you say bounce back year. I am sure the 4 time all-star is hoping as well. Adrian Gonzalez hasn't quite been himself since leaving San Diego just two seasons ago. Many predicted huge numbers playing everyday in Fenway batting in front or behind Big Papi. Things didn't goes as plan and the Red Sox went on a fire sale landing Gonzalez back to the west coast but this time in LA. He arrived just last year and managed to hit a homerun in his first game as a Dodger, but still the power numbers were still missing. It's a new day, a better team without the negative vibes Adrian was around the last two years. He is in a better place and with a healthy Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp batting in front of him and with Hanley Ramirez protecting him it will give Gonzalez ample opportunity to get back to his slugging ways. 2013 Prediction .295BA 32HR 117RBI .364OPB .470SLG

4. New York Yankees 1B. Mark Teixeira
The biggest key for success in the 2013 season for Mr. Teixeira is to stay healthy. When he is healthy which has been his whole career until last season he has put up his usual 37HR and 120RBI. Last season he dealt with severe congestion, a bad wrist and a nagging calf injury. Hopefully all that is behind him because the New York Yankees are depending on his silver slugging bat and his 5 time Gold Glove since no one knows the fate of Alex Rodriguez. Though Mark is the only switch hitting first basemen out of this group, he will continue to aim for the short porch down the right field wall in Yankee Stadium by batting left-handed. 2013 Prediction .268BA 35HR
115RBI .352OPB .481SLG

3. Detroit Tigers 1B. Prince Fielder
I don't know a more exciting player at the plate right now than the Prince of Detroit. There isn't a batter in baseball that can hack at pitches the way Fielder does. We all have seen the damage the two-time Home Run Derby champion has displayed over the years. Prince entered his first season as a Detroit Tiger doing what he does best, driving in runs. He did a marvelous job protecting the American League's MVP, Miguel Cabrera, who also won the triple crown for the first time since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967. Prince wasn't too shabby himself as he posted 30HR and 108RBI while batting a career high .313. Expect those numbers to climb as the 28-year-old Fielder is entering into his prime and with the addition of a healthy Victor Martinez, who is back from a torn ACL injury, will provide the Prince of Detroit with some needed protection. 2013 Prediction .305BA 38HR 128RBI .412OPB .584SLG

2. Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto
This Canadian superstar did something last year that no other player in the major leagues did and that was have more hits than games played. Though he only played 111 games a year ago because of an MCL tear, he still manage 126 base hits which is remarkable. Votto also demonstrated that he can reach base as his on base percentage is a staggering .474. Like Fielder, Joey is also in his prime years now as he is looking forward to a monster year at the plate. He will be manning the three hole once again this season being protected by Ryan Ludwick or Jay Bruce in the friendly compound of the Great American Ball Park. If healthy, I believe Joey Votto will be the National League MVP. 2013 Prediction .340BA 37HR 121RBI .425OPB .527SLG

1. Los Angeles Angels 1B. Albert Pujols
Is there any doubt? Albert Pujols is the is greatest ballplayer in the game and has been the since his arrival 2001. His first year in the American League was an adventure as it took Phat Albert twenty-nine games to post his first American League home run. If you owned Pujols in your fantasy baseball league last year, you probably was on suicide or homicide watch calling MAY DAY! MAY DAY! The sky is falling! Then Albert woke up, put up his usual 30HR and 100RBI and by the end of the year it was a distant memory. Now that he has adjusted to the American League pitching and the Angels adding, former MVP, Josh Hamilton. Albert, for the first time will have a superstar protecting him in his glorious career. As I have mentioned since his arrival in the Major Leagues, Pujols has average over 41home runs (never hitting under 30) and 125RBI (99RBI is his lowest ever2011) each year he has been in the league. Albert, is on a mission this season as he is 25 home runs from reaching the 500 home run club. He is out to reclaim his rightful spot as the best player in the league. In order for him to do that he must out perform his own teammates Josh Hamilton and last year's Rookie of the Year, Mike Trout. 2013 Prediction .332BA 37HR 130RBI .373OPB .527SLG

Players who could easily crash the party.

Philadelphia Phillies 1B. Ryan Howard was coming off an Achilles injuries. Should have a productive year. .255BA 35HR 130RBI .337OPB .470SLG

Chicago White Sox 1B Paul Konerko maybe the victim of Father Time. He is still capable putting up numbers. .290BA 28HR 92RBI .371OPB .483SLG

Kansas City Royals 1B. Billy Butler is the unsung out of the group probably because of the team he plays for. .307BA 29HR 100RBI .373OPB .492SLG

Chicago Cubs 1B. Anthony Rizzo isn't a stud yet but keep a watch as he is entering his 2nd year. .274 22HR 71RBI .347OPB .485SLG

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