February 2, 2013 posted by Paul Greco

NL 1B Individual Player Blurbs

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Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds 1B

Here are the NL 1B blurbs, in reverse order of the rankings.

Lars Anderson- Its hard to imagine Anderson will make much noise fantasy wise in 2013 as he was just designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks (at the time of this writing). Spending the past few years bouncing around in the BOS minor league system, Anderson showed some power and an ability to get on base. He was never able to make an impression when called up, and will likely open the season in AAA. Anderson will probably get a call-up later this season but don’t expect too much with Paul Goldschmidt blocking him.

Mat Gamel- Due to the injury to Corey Hart that will likely keep him out until the end of May, Gamel will more than likely be the starting first basemen for the Brewers on Opening Day. Gamel has shown flashes of stardom in the minors, hitting 28 home runs and driving in 96 in 2011 before a less than stellar debut at the major league level. In 2012, Gamel batted just .246 in 69 AB before tearing his ACL, ending his season. Though he is guaranteed playing time to begin the season, once Hart comes back expect Gamel to take a back seat and move into more of a platoon role at best.

Darin Ruf- Ruff showed unbelievable potential last season in AA, belting 38 home runs, knocking in 104 RBI and putting up a .317/.408/.620 slash line. Though he only saw 33 AB’s at the major league level, he continued his plate prowess by hitting three home runs and posting a 1.079 OPS. He will be 27 before the end of the 2013 season and has Ryan Howard blocking him at 1B but the Phillies might try and move him to the OF in order to get him some regular at bats. His numbers in the minors are hard to ignore so he is bound to get a shot this year at making the team out of spring training and if he does, he has the potential to make you look like a genius for taking him towards the end of your draft.

Michael Young- The only thing you can rely on Michael Young for in 2013 is decent playing time. If healthy, Young is expected to be the starting third basemen for the Phillies this year. Though his days of 200 hits per season are long gone, the 36-year-old MLB veteran will be in a lineup that can produce a lot of RBI opportunities, which will be his most valuable attribute to his fantasy owners. He won’t do much for you in the power categories, as he hit only 11 home runs and 27 doubles last year, but he will be available late in your draft and is a formidable backup at either 1B or 3B.

Garret Jones- Jones had a breakout season last year, setting career highs in home runs (27) and RBI (86). Jones did most of his damage against righties, hitting 25 of his 27 homers against them, so don’t expect him to play everyday. Jones can be a great asset to your team if you pay attention to the matchups, as he will more than likely be out of the lineup against southpaws. Jones, who will be 32 in June, doesn’t take as many walks as a power hitter should so be careful in leagues that count OBP. Jones’ owners should remember to be patient and very alert because his poor performance against lefties can get him benched once or twice per week.

Lucas Duda- With Ike Davis looking healthy as of late, it looks like Lucas Duda will be spending a lot of time in the OF in 2013. When healthy, Duda carries the potential to be a 25 HR per season player. He had an awful second half that eventually led to a demotion to AAA Buffalo, but he ended the year with the big club.  In the offseason, Duda broke his wrist but is expected to be fully recovered by the time spring training rolls around.  If Duda can stay healthy and be more consistent at the plate expect him to be a middle of the pack option for 1B, but don’t draft him to start on your team.

Logan Morrison- Due to his past history of injuries, Logan Morrison is a bit of a gamble in 2013. His name alone will get him drafted a little higher than what his projected stats are, so don’t be fooled into taking him too early. Since his breakout season of 2011, in which he hit 23 home runs in just over 450 at bats, LoMo has been plagued by nagging injuries that have either landed him on the DL or kept him from playing up to his full potential. He is only 25 years old so his body has time to recover but the fact that he might not be ready for Opening Day due to knee surgery in September is a bit worrisome.

Mike Morse- Due to a recent trade to Seattle this offseason, Michael Morse’s stock has dropped quite a bit. He is now in a weak lineup and will be playing half of his games at Safeco Park, even with the fences moved in it will not be a great hitters park.  Expect him to hit more in the 20-25 range, with a solid .275-.290 BA. You can do a lot worse than Morse at first base; just don’t bank on superstar numbers, especially if he continues to have problems with his health.

Todd Frazier- Last year Frazier burst on the scene and hit 19 home runs while knocking in 67 RBI as a 26 year-old-rookie. He spent most of his time bouncing around between first base and third thanks to injuries to both Scott Rolen and Joey Votto and he made the most of his 422 at bats. In 2013, Frazier is the favorite to start at third base and with the regular playing time could easily end up in the 25+ home run range. He will have a lot of people in front of him who can get on base and the opportunities to rack up RBI will be plentiful. At what is considered to be the most productive age for baseball players, Frazier, 27, could be a big steal in your fantasy draft this year.

Gaby Sanchez- In 2010 and 2011 Gaby Sanchez showed that he had some potential, belting 19 home runs and averaging over 80 RBI per season. 2012, however, was a different story. After hitting .202 with Miami he was sent down to the minors where he showed bits of that potential we all saw in past years. After hitting .302 and posting a .922 OPS in 116 at bats in the minors, he was traded to the Pirates and next year will be part of a platoon with Garret Jones. He will get regular playing time when PIT faces lefties, but the fact that he isn’t a full-time starter knocks his value down quite a bit. Be careful when drafting him in mixed leagues, and even in NL-only leagues target him late.

Yonder Alonso- Though Alonso’s final numbers aren’t pretty for a starting first basemen, there is potential here. Still only 25, Alonso significantly improved in all offensive categories after the All-Star break. It will be very hard to trust Alonso as an everyday fantasy first basemen, as he just doesn’t have the power and run production one would expect from that position. Alonso still has time to develop his power, but don’t expect him to be a big time home run hitter in the future, especially in Petco Park.

Brandon Belt- Brandon Belt’s fall from top-prospect stardom hasn’t necessarily been his fault; it was his lack of consistent playing time that many believe got to his head. After making the team out of spring training in 2011, Belt struggled mightily by hitting only .225 and posting a .718 OPS. Belt finally got some solid playing time in 2012 and showed he can get on base with a .360 OBP despite hitting only .275. He is still only 24 but many wonder if he can produce the kind of power in the bigs as he did in his minor league career. 2013 is a new season for Belt, one in which he will have first base all to himself. He will need to show signs of improvement in his home run production as he only hit 7 last year, but he knows how to get on base. If Belt can cut down on his strikeouts (106 in 411 AB’s) from last year he can be a nice pick in later rounds, especially in keeper leagues.

Anthony Rizzo- Going into 2013, Rizzo is considered one of the best young hitting talents in all of major league baseball. After hitting 23 home runs in half a season in AAA, Rizzo was called up by the Cubs to be their every day first basemen. He was immediately slotted in the three-hole and never looked back. In the 87 games he played after being called up he hit 15 home runs, drove in 48 RBI, and put up a .805 OPS, not bad for a 22-year-old. Rizzo has the potential to become a big time star at the major league level, helping you in all offensive categories. Don’t be surprised to see him hit 25+ home runs this year with 100 or more RBI as Rizzo is a prime candidate to have a breakout year and truly make a name for himself.

Corey Hart- Hart has been one of the more consistent hitters of the past few years. Going back to 2010, Hart has not hit for less than 26 home runs and has averaged 83 RBI. Unfortunately for Hart, he will be until the end of May after having minor knee surgery and is sure to be a bit rusty out of the gate. His ADP will drop because of this and you can probably get him in the late-middle rounds which could pay off in the long run. He can be inconsistent and his strikeout total increased from 114 in 2011 to 151 in 2012, but you can always count on his power. If you can be patient with Hart, the stats will come. He will hit behind two of the best hitters in baseball in Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder and there should be plenty of RBI opportunities there.

Ryan Howard- In his last at-bat of 2011, Ryan Howard suffered a severe Achilles injury in his left leg that cost him half of 2012. The freak injury brought an end to his 6th straight season with 30 plus home runs and 100 plus RBI and when he came back the next year he just wasn’t the same. Though he put up some decent power numbers, Howard saw his strikeout percentage jump to 34%, by far the highest of his career. His chances of hitting above .250 in 2013 are fairly slim due to his increased strikeout rate and the fact that most teams put a heavy infield shift on for him but he can still hit the long ball. Howard can be a big asset to your team when healthy, especially in leagues that don’t count BA.

Adam LaRoche- Before 2012, the last time Adam LaRoche hit 30 home runs was in 2006, when he was 26 years old and playing for the Atlanta Braves. Last year, LaRoche surprised everyone by having the best offensive season of his career. He set season highs in home runs, hits, and tied his career high of 100 RBI. It is hard to believe anyone saw this coming, as his ISO and SLG% have dropped every year since 2008. Going into his 10th season at 33 years old, it is hard to imagine he will produce those numbers again in 2013. Expect LaRoche to hover around his career averages for next year, producing a slash line of .265/.340/.480 while hitting right around 25 home runs.

Ike Davis- Coming back from Valley Fever, Ike forced many of his owners to panic and either trade him or drop him back into the league free agent pool before the end of May. Through his first 81 games, Davis hit just .201 with a putrid .659 OPS. After some hard work with Mets batting coach Dave Hudgens, Davis changed his stance and turned into a completely different hitter. In the second half of the season he belted 20 home runs and had an OPS of .888, over 200 points higher than his first half number. Ike looks to build off his second half of 2012 and owners who decided to keep him hope he does as well. Entering the season as a 26 year old power hitter who will get regular at-bats, Davis could very easily hit over 30 home runs with the possibility of 100 RBI.

Michael Cuddyer- A right oblique strain ruined another good season for Cuddyer last year; one fantasy owners were extremely excited for. He was eligible at multiple positions and was making the move from Target Field to hitter-friendly Coors Field in Colorado. In the 101 games he did play, Cuddyer hit 16 home runs with 58 RBI and was on pace for some good counting stats for someone who could have been in your second base slot. However, in 2013, he will only be available at the 1B and OF slot, as those were the only two positions he played last year. Over the course of a full season at Coors Field anything is possible so keep an eye on Cuddyer and jump on him if he falls in your draft.

Freddie Freeman- when called up as a 21 year old to be the ATL Braves starting first basemen Freeman didn’t put up any gaudy numbers but he certainly hit well for his age. He had a high BABIP which led to him hitting .282 but it dropped down to .259 last year which will probably be what you get in 2013. That aside, Freeman improved in all of the other offensive categories last year. He increased his home run total by 2, his RBI total by 18, and he drew 11 more walks in 30 less at bats, a sign that he is maturing at the plate. Freeman now has two Upton’s and Jason Heyward in front of him which will provide many opportunities to knock in runs so don’t be surprised to see him top 100 in 2013.

Buster Posey- After having his 2011 season cut short due to a brutal collision at home plate, many didn’t know what to expect from Posey last year. All of those questions were answered when he came out and hit .353 with 9 extra base hits through the month of April. He was very consistent at the plate all year long as he only had one month where had an OPS below .800 and only two months below 1.000. His total numbers for the end of the season won him a Silver Slugger award and the NL-MVP, and his second half numbers show that he was only getting stronger as the year went on. In his final 71 games of last year, Posey had a slash line of .385/.456/.646 which is unheard of for someone who’s main position is a catcher. Look for Posey to have another solid season and build on last year. He is heading into the prime of his career at age 26 and is playing for a new contract and the fact that he gets to spend some time at first base will keep his legs and bat fresh. Expect a repeat of last year’s performance, and don’t be surprised to see an increase in his power numbers as well.

Paul Goldschmidt- Coming off two straight years of hitting 30 or more home runs in the Diamondbacks minor league system, Goldschmidt was given a chance to be an everyday player and proved he can hit in the bigs. As a 24-year-old, he hit 63 extra base hits and drove in 82 runs in just over 500 at-bats. The signing of Martin Prado will only help his cause when it comes to increasing his RBI total and as he moves closer to his prime expect some of those 43 doubles he hit last year to end up over the fence. Look to Goldschmidt for his power numbers and his ability to get on base but don’t expect him to steal 18 bases like he did last year. Draft him as a starting first basemen, and don’t hesitate to take him in the third round.

Allen Craig – Allen Craig burst onto the scene last and went on to belt 22 home runs and knock in 92 RBI’s all in less than 120 games. Right now, regular playing time is all but guaranteed and Craig could be in for a huge year. At 28, his ceiling is very high and it looks like he could be one of the bigger surprises of 2013. Some people might see him in the draft queue and shrug him off because he isn’t a big time name yet but those who pass on him will be sorry.

Adrian Gonzalez- Adrian Gonzalez had a very odd year in 2012, as he spent it searching for his power stroke between BOS and the Dodgers. Once a lock for 30 home runs and 100 RBI, he looked like a shadow of himself. AGon managed only 18 home runs last year in over 600 AB’s which drove many owners crazy. His BA dropped by nearly 40 points and his OPS took a .150 point nosedive. The only real positive thing to come out of Gonzalez’s season last year was his RBI total of 108. The fact that his HR total has decreased every year for the past three years can be concerning but he will get plenty of opportunities for RBI’s behind Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp this year which makes him a safe play in 2013.

Joey Votto- in the first half of 2012, Joey Votto looked like a lock for the NL MVP Award. He had a slash line of .348/.471/.617 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI’s. He was on pace for over 120 walks. But after he injured his knee early in the second half his season was lost. He has decided to skip the World Baseball Classic in favor of resting his knee so he should be good to go by Spring Training. Votto, 29, may lose a little power because of the knee problem but he will still drive the ball into the gaps and hit for a high average. If healthy, Votto is a virtual lock for 30 homers and 100 RBI’s with an above .300 BA. Nab him in the first round if you can.

Paul finished the 2011-2012 Fantasy Football season as the #1 Weekly Rankings & Projections winner of the 411Fantasy Expert Challenge. He also finished 2nd in the Expert Draft Accuracy Challenge in 2011. Top 10 Finisher in the FSWA Fantasy Football Draft Projections. Paul is also apart of baseballs elite as a member of Tout Wars. You can follow me on Twitter @PaulGreco

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