First base delivers a lot of pop in fantasy baseball. Look for these guys to add great value and return on your investment when you draft first basemen in your 2012 fantasy baseball draft. There are some solid sleepers at the first base position in 2012 so you may want to wait until wait in your draft to pick up these guys if you can’t land one of the top tier guys.
1. Ike Davis, New York Mets – Mets first baseman Ike Davis finished an injury plagued 2011 season with seven homers, 25 RBIs, 20 runs scored and .302 batting average in just 149 at bats. That’s coming off of a rookie season in 2010 where he smacked 19 homers and 71 RBI. Davis didn’t play after May 10 last year due to an ankle injury and then a series of unfortunate medical mistakes by his doctors. The Mets are moving in the fences at Citi Field. That can only help a 6′ 4″, 230 pound power hitter like Davis.
2. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks — Paul Goldschmidt was mashing in the minors with 30 homers in 108 games so the Diamondbacks brought him up earlier than anticipated. Goldschmidt hit .250 in his inaugural season, with eight homers, four steals, 26 RBIs and 28 runs scored in 156 at-bats. He’s a big strikeout guy, but can add some pop to your lineup. He’ll be pushed by newly acquired Lyle Overbay. Goldschmidt is projected by Bill James at .266/32/99/9.
3. Mat Gamel, Milwaukee Brewers — Mat Gamel has been stuck behind Prince Fielder for 4 seasons and is tired of being labeled as a prospect. His 2011 season in the minors should turn heads: .310/28/96/2. The only rap against Gamel is himself. He reported to camp last year 30 pounds overweight and his Triple-A manager Don Money said: ”He’s hard-headed. He doesn’t carry himself well. You have to carry yourself like a professional, and he doesn’t do it and I’ve said it to him.”
4. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs — Anthony Rizzo got in 93 games last year at Triple-A before getting the call to the Padres. His minor league numbers were .331/26/101/7. Rizzo really struggled in the Bigs, however, as he barely hit half his weight at .141 in 153 plate appearances. It’s hard to imagine that the Padres would give up on him so quickly given his minor league numbers. He’ll battle Brian LaHair for the first base job unless the Cubs decided to pick up a veteran like Pena or Trumbo.
5. Mike Carp, Seattle Mariners — No, Carp is not going to start in front of Justin Smoak, but he does qualify at first base. Carp finished the 2011 season with 12 homers, 46 RBIs, 27 runs scored and a .276 batting average in just 290 at-bats. On a team that is desperate for offense, expect Carp to be a regular outfielder in 2012.
6. Kendrys Morales, Los Angeles Angels — It’s hard to imagine a more freak injury than the one that Kendrys Morales suffered on May 29, 2010 when he suffered an injury while jumping on home plate after a walk off grand slam. Morales finished fifth in the MVP voting in 2009 and would be the ideal hitter to offer protection for Albert Pujols if he can prove that he can play. This is a must watch fantasy baseball situation for Spring Training as the Angels are loaded at the corner infield positions and at DH. Morales, 28, was just signed to a one year deal that may pave the way for the Angels to trade Mark Trumbo or Bobby Abreu.
7. Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres — Jesus Guzman brings a .312 average in from last season so he’s the #1 guy to start the season, but we think Alonso will earn the starting role by mid-season given his bigger power potential. Alonso hit 5 home runs in just 88 at bats last year. He was acquired from the Reds in the Mat Latos deal and should pick up 60% of the first base at bats in 2012. That should put the Havana-born big man at a .275 average and 15 homers, even in spacious Petco.
8. Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals — Adam LaRoche suffered both a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff in 2011 that limited him to just 151 at bats. This is a guy, however, who is only 32 and hit exactly 25 homers for three consecutive seasons with the Diamondbacks and Pirates from 2008-2010. And, with backup Chris Marrero on the shelf with an injury suffered while playing winter ball, the job is all LaRoche’s. Manager Davey Johnson said that LaRoche is “100% now.”
9. Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox — I can’t recall a regular player who had a higher strike out total than batting average. Dunn had 177 strikeouts while hitting .159 with 11 homers, 42 RBIs and 36 runs scored. He can’t possibly be that bad again in 2012, can he?
10. Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants — Yes, Belt was on our sleeper list as well last year, but things didn’t quite work out for Belt who started the season as the starter, then got demoted. His replacement, Aubrey Huff, was not able to duplicate his 2010 season, however, thus opening the door again for Belt. Belt struggled to hit for average throughout the season but flashed some power, hitting seven homers after August 1. Perhaps that’s an indication of his 2012 potential.
11. Brandon Allen, Oakland Athletics — The Athletics got frustrated with Daric Barton’s lack of power last year (0 homers) and sent him to the minors. Brandon Allen has home run power capable of 20 in 2012, but the big man will likely punish your team batting average; he’s a lifetime .210 hitter.
12. Lucas Duda, New York Mets — Lucas Duda will be an outfielder this year for the Mets, but he’s qualified at first base as well. Duda hit .292 with 10 homers, one base swipe, 50 RBIs and 38 runs scored in 301 at-bats during the 2011 season and is another one that should benefit from moving the outfield fences in at Citi Field.
13. Brett Wallace, Houston Astros — I’m guessing that 35-year-old Carlos Lee doesn’t fit with the Astros youth movement. That could open the door for Brett Wallace to earn the starting job in Houston. The big problem is that Wallace is not a good fielder, but if you play in a keeper league, Wallace is a strong consideration since he can move to DH in 2013.