FANFOOD FB’13 – First Base

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Many people say that the First Base position is the deepest in baseball, I am not so sure. If you mean that a lot of players were eligible at the position thus making many players to choose from, then sure, but that doesn’t mean that the talent is deep. You will be able to carry a few 1B, but only a couple are players where you can set it and forget it. You have  to decide if you want that or if you want to constantly play the matchups.

Last years’ crop was a bit disappointing. Just three first basemen surpassed 30 homers, only five tallied triple digits in RBIs, and only six scored 80-plus runs. Digging deeper, only five stole more than five bases, and of the 20 who qualified for a batting title, only seven of those eclipsed a .275 average. This article will help you sift through the huge pile of 1B eligible players and find the right one for your team, along with a recipe for Jamaican Jerk Salmon.

 

FANFOOD FB’13

[C] [SP] [RP] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF]

 

It is difficult to win your league without a stud first bagger. Many teams will start to panic when the top three are of the board, but don’t worry there are many to choose from and if you don’t get on of lets say the top 5, you can fill this position while hopefully getting power from another position.

How many players from that position you draft again depends on your league settings. Make sure that when you are mapping out how many total first basemen will be drafted, consider the bunch of two-position players (C/1B and OF/1B mostly) and the utility spots, which most teams fill up with sluggers from the first base position. More on that later.

You don’t want to wait too long to grab your first basemen. The number you choose depends on who you drafted at other positions. Of the top 20 players at the position, six are eligible somewhere other than first base. Chances are that second position is where you will stick them.

The top options consist of three: Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Prince Fielder.

 

Albert Pujols

He has the greatest upside of the three in his second season in the American League and is now being protected in the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup by off-season acquisition Josh Hamilton.

 

Joey Votto

It all depends on how much he plays this year, if his surgically repaired left knee holds up for 150-plus games, he would be a great 1B(1) for your team. That is if. He’s expected to play for Team Canada in the WBC, so we will know early.

 

Prince Fielder

Fielder smacked 18 of his 30 homers in Detroit in 2012, and his gaudy 1.015 OPS at home dwarfed his .869 OPS on the road. Fielder also hit lefties well (.808 OPS), posting a career-high .313 batting average against them. Not bad for a “pitcher’s park.

You can make the case for either one of these guys being the top 1st baseman. But if I was to choose just one, I would go out and get Albert. The next group consists of Edwin Encarnacion, Billy Butler and Adrian Gonzalez.

Encarnacion’s 2012 season was amazing: .280 BA, 42 HRs, 110 RBIs, 93 runs, 13 SBs. All five of these categories were career highs by a large margin, and the best could be yet to come, as Encarnacion just turned 30 in January. His Toronto Blue Jays also made a ton of meaningful moves in the off-season and now have an improved middle infield of Emilio Bonifacio and Jose Reyes, plus the addition of Melky Cabrera in left field. These newcomers should provide him with even more RBI opportunities…Billy Butler is just coming into his own at age 26. He will provide you with a nice AVG, but he does not have the supporting cast like the others… Adrian Gonzalez will enjoy hitting behind Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez, and give him the chance for triple digit RBIs.

Out of this bunch, I really like the Encarnacion. I don’t think last season was a fluke, he has been molded in the likes of Jose Bautista, and remember when everyone thought his monster season was a fluke. Next up we have Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Allen Craig, Carlos Santana, & Mark Teixeira. This is where multiple position eligibility comes into play. You can interchange buster, mauer, craig and santana and this makes them valuable.

Mark Teixeira battled injuries last season, and many people are down on him, but at age 33, this switch hitter can still mash. He’s no longer a .300 hitter, but with a full season of games, he’ll certainly drive in 100 runs in the middle of New York’s order and also should score 90-plus runs…. Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana all qualify as first basemen. This is good. As I mentioned in my article about catchers, you can wait and get quality later in the draft, so I wouldn’t hate you if you used one of them at first.

Out of this group, I like the value you will get with Tex, you may even be able to pair him with lets say Mauer, giving you nice options at 2 roster positions. Next up we have players like Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman, Ike Davis, Anthony Rizzo, & Victor Martinez.

Out of this group, I like Gold. At 25, he is arguably the most athletic first baseman in baseball, racking up 18 stolen bases and smacking 20 homers. And despite playing at hitter-favorable Chase Field, Goldschmidt has actually been a much better hitter on the road (.895 OPS) than at home (.781 OPS) in his young career. The same goes for Ike Davis, 26, who was just dreadful at Citi Field last year (.188/.277/.342) compared to his road numbers (.262 BA/.335 OBP/.566 SLG). Despite his struggles in Flushing, Davis still had a huge power season with 32 homers (third-most among first basemen) and 90 RBIs. Then we start to included players such as Paul Konerko, Mike Napoli, Ryan Howard, Mark Trumbo, Nick Swisher, Justin Morneau, Adam LaRoche, & Corey Hart. All of whom you can get in the mid rounds.

Paul Konerko has been incredibly durable in his career, logging an average of 147 games per season since 1999. Just keep in mind he will be 37 before the season begins. Konerko bats cleanup on a Chicago White Sox team that finished seventh in the majors in runs, and loves hitting in his home ballpark, batting .327 with a .610 slugging percentage at US Cellular Field over the past three seasons…Justin Morneau appears to be healthy again, and at age 31, he has a lot of life left in his powerful bat…Ryan Howard‘s qualitative numbers have dropped sharply in each of the past four seasons to a career-worst .219/.295/.423 last season. He also drew a surprisingly low 25 walks in 292 plate appearances last year, and the Phillies didn’t bolster their lineup this offseason with great on-base percentage players. But the ones I like out of this group is Mark Trumbo and Adam LaRoche. Why?

Mark Trumbo drove in 95 runs and hit 32 bombs. He also has the addition of Josh Hamilton, which will get him over 100 RBIs. Speaking of RBIs, Adam had 100 of his own last year and 33 homers of his own, hopefully he carries over the momentum of his great September’12 where he hit 9 of them. This brings us to the “also” players. They are Eric Hosmer, Allen Craig, Adam Dunn, Kevin Youkilis, Chris Davis, Todd Frazier, Lance Berkman, Michael Cuddyer, Kendrys Morales, Brandon Moss, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Belt, Michael Young, Garrett Jones, Yonder Alonso, Logan Morrison, Adam Lind, Justin Smoak, Chris Parmelee, Mitch Moreland, Tyler Colvin, & Chris Carter.

Eric Hosmer was expected to take a giant step forward in 2012, but had a sophomore slump with a .232 BA and .663 OPS, I don’t think he will repeat his freshman year numbers anytime soon. Anthony Rizzo is young also and he has that going for him. The 23-year-old lefty struggled against left-handed pitching last season (.208 BA/.243 OBP/.356 SLG). He is on a pretty weak Cubs team, so keep that in mind when you hear all the hype. Don’t sleep on Berkman. If he can stay in the lineup he has the chance for some big numbers in a potent lineup. Brandon Moss is one who I like out of this big group. Moss tallied a whopping 1.050 OPS in 126 at-bats on the road, and should be his team’s regular first baseman. Don’t forget about Dunn and his 41 homers.

While you are thinking about it, don’t forget about the prospects. Jonathan Singleton, & Mike Adams, Christian Yelich & Mike Olt.

Acquired from the Phillies at the deadline last season in the deal that sent All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence out of Houston, Jonathan Singleton ranks as one of the best power prospects in all of baseball. After spending time in the outfield with the Phillies, Singleton was able to move back to his natural first base position with Ryan Howard no longer blocking his path. Still just 20, he turned in the best season of his short pro career this year in a full season at Double-A, and since the Astros do not have a clear-cut starter at first base for 2013, he could get a crack this spring. Either way, expect him up for good at some point in 2013.

Mike Adams still has a chance to hold down first base for the Cardinals but he’s going to have to hit in spring training plus he is blocked by Allen Craig & Ty Wigginton. He is a solid hitter but likes to swing the bat and scouts began to view him as a classic bad-ball hitter in 2012. For most of his young career, his power potential has always been a given, but the real crux of Adams’s recent attractiveness is that those 32 homers he nailed at last year at AA Springfield didn’t come on all-or-nothing swings: the Philly native also maintained a .300 average on the season and walked with encouraging frequency.

A 6-foot-4, solidly-built athlete, Marlin prospect Christian Yelich is a left-handed hitter with a picturesque swing that’s a thing of beauty. Yelich is already showing good power, and as he grows into his body, that power should grow along with him. Though nominally a first baseman, the Marlins actually prefer him as an outfielder for now, and left field would seem to be his logical destination. He may be a year away from being fantasy baseball relevant as the Marlins may try to hold him back for cost-savings, so it’s a bit of a coin toss whether it’s this year or next that he will mark his permanent MLB assignment.

The Rangers plan to give Mike Olt the majority of his work at third base and right field in spring training. He likely won’t see much playing time behind Adrian Beltre, but he’ll be used as insurance in right field for Nelson Cruz, who is among the group of players connected to PEDs and Biogenesis. The Rangers’ top prospect behind Jurickson Profar, he remains largely unproven at the major league level and won’t be guaranteed a bench spot going into the season.

 

FANFOOD FB’13

 

Top 40 1B (plus extra eligibility)

Albert Pujols
Joey Votto
Prince Fielder
Buster PoseyC
Edwin Encarnacion
Adrian Gonzalez
Allen CraigLF,RF
Paul Goldschmidt
Mark Teixeira
Mark Trumbo3B,LF,RF
Freddie Freeman
Joe MauerC
Carlos SantanaC
Ike Davis
Adam LaRoche
Paul Konerko
Chris DavisLF,RF
Justin Morneau
Anthony Rizzo
Eric Hosmer
Ryan Howard
Mike NapoliC
Nick SwisherRF
Lance Berkman
Adam DunnLF
Corey HartRF
Kendrys Morales
Michael CuddyerRF
Todd Frazier3B,LF
Kevin Youkilis3B
Brandon MossLF,RF
Dustin Ackley2B
Logan MorrisonLF
Michael Young2B,3B
Garrett JonesRF
Tyler ColvinLF,CF,RF
Chris Carter
Daniel Murphy
Yonder Alonso
Brandon Belt

 

FANFOOD FB’13

[C] [SP] [RP] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF]

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Jamaican Jerk Salmon

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 pound Salmon fillet

 

Jerk Rub:

1 Tbs onion powder

1 Tbs dried onion flakes

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

pitch of ground habanero chili

 

Jamaican BBQ Sauce:

1 cup seafood stock

2 heaping Tbs honey

1 Tbs tamarind concentrate

1 Tbs peeled and minced fresh ginger

1 Tbs Jerk Rub

 

PREPARATION:

About 1 1/2 hours before you plan to cook, rub the salmon thoroughly and with a generous portion of the jerk rub, reserving at least a tablespoon for the sauce. Wrap the fish in plastic and place in the fridge.

Prepare the smoker bringing the temperature to 180°F to 200°F.

Remove the Salmon from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 25 minutes

Transfer to the smoker and smoke until just cooked through and flaky 45 minutes to an hour.  Meanwhile make the sauce.

Bring all ingredients to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer until reduces by one-third. Baste fish at around 30 minutes if using a wood smoker.  serve with remaing sauce.

 

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