Let’s face it, when you draft a first baseman, you want power. If you get a good one, you’ll get batting average and plenty of RBI’s as well, but if you don’t get plenty of home runs out of your fantasy first baseman, it’s tough to make up in other places.
You can’t go wrong with any of the guys in this group. Take your pick.
Albert Pujols – Not worried about his “down” year last year. Once he straightened himself out in May, he was the same old Albert.
Joey Votto – If healthy, he could be even better than the other two studs, hard as that may be to believe.
You’re still in great shape if you get one of these players, but they’re not the guys they used to be.
Mark Teixeira – Injuries and age have caught up to Tex, who is still a very good player but not the great one he once was.
Adrian Gonzalez – More so than his abilities, the move from Boston to Los Angeles will hurt A-Gon more than anything else.
You Can’t Go Wrong
It may not be flashy, but year after year, these guys get the job done. Note: You’ll notice I didn’t rank these first baseman in a specific order. The next three groups would be mixed in their order, depending on your preference. Would you rather have Billy Butler, who is reliable year after year? Or would you rather take a chance on Edwin Encarnacion and hope he has another 40-homer season in him? That’s your call, not mine.
Paul Konerko – Konerko got off to a ridiculously hot start last season before coming back to Earth in the second half. Despite being in his late-30′s, he still manages to come up with 25-30 homers every year.
Billy Butler – The only knock on Butler may be whether or not he gets first base eligibility in your league or if he’s a DH-only.
Adam LaRoche – Back in Washington and back in a good lineup. 2012 may have been a career year, but LaRoche is still a solid option.
Can They Do it Again?
Allen Craig – Craig isn’t your traditional power-hitting first baseman, but he does flat-out hit. You’ll need to make up for it with some extra home runs somewhere else, but as a good all-around hitter in a strong lineup, he should help you in four categories (everything but steals).
Young and on the Rise
Paul Goldschmidt – Of all the 25-and-under first basemen in the league, I like Goldschmidt the best. Those doubles will turn into more homers soon, plus he’ll steal you a few bases.
Freddie Freeman – Freeman isn’t your typical power-hitting first baseman either, but the dude drives in runs and is in a good lineup.
Anthony Rizzo – Once it gets windy in the summer, Rizzo could single-handedly carry your team in home runs on a few weeks.
Ike Davis – The Mets brought the fences in at Citi Field, which should lead to a few more home runs, and I don’t expect him to be a consistent .230 hitter. The strikeouts mean he’ll probably never hit .300, but if he hits .260, he turns into a pretty productive fantasy player.
Eric Hosmer – I still believe in Eric Hosmer. There’s just too much talent there for him to play as poorly as he did in 2012. He’ll be on a short leash, fantasy-wise, but I expect him to get back to what was expected of him last season.
You’ll Get Your Homers
These three players will give you the power you need, but your team’s batting average will take a hit in the process.
Ryan Howard – Last year was a lost cause for Howard, who was never truly healthy. He’s not the MVP candidate he used to be, but if he’s healthy, he’s still a 35-homer threat, especially in Philly.
Adam Dunn – We know what Dunn is at this point. .210/40/90, which isn’t bad. If you’re in a league that uses OBP or OPS instead of batting average, he shoots way up on this list.
Mark Reynolds – Now officially a first baseman, Reynolds has begun to embrace his three-true-outcomes destiny.
If You Get Stuck
Sometimes there’s a run on guys and you just miss out. If that happens, these guys are at least starters and can do a few things to help you.
Kendrys Morales – It remains to be seen how his power will be effected by playing in Seattle. They’re moving in the fences, but we’ll see how much it helps. He doesn’t walk enough to score a lot of runs and in that lineup won’t have a ton of RBI opportunities, but if he can hit home runs in that ball park, he can still be productive.
Yonder Alonso – Alonso is a good all-around hitter, but he just doesn’t have that traditional first base power. The Padres are also moving their fences in, so that could help him get to the 20-homer mark at least, which would put him up in the group with the other young first basemen.
Justin Mourneu – It’s pretty simple with Mourneau. He’ll never be an MVP candidate again, but if he’s healthy, he does still hit some home runs. His value goes up if the Twins eventually trade him to a better hitter-friendly park.