We are back for our next round of Breakouts, Busts and Sleepers. We’ve done Catchers, and we’ll work our way around the infield. This time we’re looking at the 1B position. One fantasy teams count on to make a nice dent in their power and RBI numbers. We all know who the studs are; guys like Pujols, Howard and Fielder. But who else should we be keeping an eye on?
So here we go, our various picks for 2010 Fantasy MLB First basemen…
Tab Bamford (bought several Ryne Sandberg athletic supporters from sports memorabilia auctions)
Breakout: Joey Votto, CIN – Votto had some personal issues last year but appears to be over them and has Scott Rolen behind him now. He could finally be the mammoth player he was sold to fans as when he was the Reds’ top prospect.
Bust: Paul Konerko, CHW - Konerko’s aging, in a walk-year, and lost Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome from last year. He’s looking at AJ Pierzynski and… Andruw Jones? as protection this year. While I think this makes AJ a sleeper, Konerko’s set up for a bust year.
Sleeper: Troy Glaus, ATL – Glaus is coming off injuries and is moving to first base in Atlanta. Batting around Chipper Jones has done wonderful things to other players, and Glaus could rebound to have a nice season in a stadium that fits his bat well.
Ray Tannock (Moonlights as Tracy Morgan’s stunt double)
Breakout: Aubry Huff, SF – Huff is slated to play clean up for the Giants which is a spot in the order his career has favored. he will be flanked by Pablo Sandoval and Mark DeRosa and should see an increase in his overall production. Huff has a lifetime .812 OPS, and should surprise just about everyone in 2010.
Bust: Casey Kotchman, SEA – Kotchman’s career technically showed itself to be toast when he was serving time in Boston. Now, in just about the worse place to hit, Kotchman will be a flat out bust and won’t even have enough AB to give fantasy owners something to consider.
Sleeper: Derrek Lee, CHC – There is no doubt about it, Lee is primed to have what could be his best year yet. The team as a whole is slimming down, shaping up, and getting their marble together. He is healthy, he is swinging the bat very well and as a projected number three hitter, he’ll have way to many opportunities for homeruns, runs, and ribbies for owners to pass on him.
Jon Schuman (He gets carded at McDonalds Playland)
Breakout: Joey Votto, CIN – this is the year he puts it all together and steps into stardom. Playing in Great American Ball Park is a great boost to his stats as well.
Bust: Carlos Pena, TB – sure he’ll hit homeruns and drive in runs, but his average will be a drain on your team, and he always carries an injury risk
Sleeper: Troy Glaus, ATL – He finally appears to be healthy, and still has the capabilities of putting up very good numbers. He could greatly out produce his draft position.
Mike Sholty (They say a picture’s worth 1000 words, and he leaves you speechless)
Breakout: James Loney, LAD – Everyone has been talking about James Loney forever and how he has this massive untapped potential. Sometimes lefty hitters just take more time to figure out the league though. While 20 HR might be his ceiling for this year, I think .300 avg and 100 RBI aren’t too much to ask for. He hit for avg in the minors and he has enough patience at the plate to suggest he could manage .300 over the whole season. He worked out big time in the offseason with fellow teammate Carl Crawford and he is leaner and meaner than ever. Expect a special year from James Loney, and a great price too.
Bust: Lance Berkman, HOU – Everyone says I shouldn’t be low on Lance Berkman, not yet anyways. I just can’t help it though. I hated what I saw from him last year. I’ve never really thought of him as an iron-man in terms of his conditioning and now that he’s getting long in the tooth, I just can’t see him playing the entire year. I’m expecting .280 avg with 18 HR and 70 RBI, because he’ll miss some games.
Sleeper: Nick Johnson, NYY – Nick Johnson should be on everyone’s radar. The guy has the potential to hit 25 HR and hit .330 but he’s never really put together a full season.
Now that he is hitting in the sandbox we like to call Yankee Stadium, I feel like he’s going to have a career year. He walks a lot and the Yankees are going to love that, so he’ll be hitting in the two hole for them probably. How can you argue with that, no matter who it is??
Rustyn Rose (is feeling pretty, oh so pretty, so pretty and witty and wise…)
Breakout: Mark Reynolds, ARI – Reynolds already broke out last season showing some serious power…along with a lot of whiff action. I peg him as a breakout again this year because I believe he can top 100, 30, 100, while raising his average closer to 270 and cutting down on the strike outs. He also qualifies at 3B, which makes him worth even more.
Bust: Lance Berkman, HOU – I love me some Lance, but he’s getting older, his numbers are declining, and they’re not likely to reverse trend. That said, if he slips low enough in your draft because of last season’s numbers, he could also be a steal. Last year’s line of 90 Runs, 23 HRs, 85 RBIs and a .289 BA are still decent for an aging stud.
Sleeper: Chris Davis, TEX – Let’s face it, the kid was putrid last season, and he was drafted way too early in almost every league. He was at the top of last year’s bust list. But the kid’s just 23, playing in a stacked line-up, and the tools are there. Like Reynolds, he also qualifies at 3B in most leagues. He has the potential to leap to the top 5 in American League 1B this season. As of this writing he is penciled in at 6th in the batting order, with the mighty bat of Nelson Cruz protecting him.