Plenty of quality options still exist outside of the top ten at first base. If you miss out on one of the elite options, one of these guys will still serve you well.
11) Derrek Lee (.300, 90 R, 28 HR, 100 RBI, 4 SB)
Lee’s 2009 was his best season since his huge 2005. Can he repeat that performance? Probably not, but he will come close. The Cubs lineup is lethal, guaranteeing Lee plenty of opportunities to score runs and drive in his teammates. However, note that stolen bases are no longer part of his game.
12) Kendry Morales (.290, 80 R, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 2 SB)
The Cuban really broke out last season, flashing previously unheard of power. He needs to prove he can do it again before you count him as a sure thing. Morales may be someone to stay clear of in 2010, as he carries a higher risk than most of the guys on this list.
13) Lance Berkman (.285, 85 R, 25 HR, 90 RBI, 10 SB)
Berkman really had a down 2009, and his back issues remain a concern. However, he has top six upside if he gets back to his 2008 form. Even if he doesn’t have a great season, he will produce enough to make fantasy owners happy.
14) Pablo Sandoval (.310, 83 R, 28 HR, 90 RBI, 2 SB)
Kung-Fu Panda seems to be everyone’s new favorite player. His 2009 season was a huge breakout, but it is asking too much for him to take another huge step in 2010. Look for his 2010 numbers to be similar to his 2009 numbers, but with a dip in his batting average. Sandoval also qualifies at 3B.
15) Adam Dunn (.260, 85 R, 37 HR, 100 RBI, 2 SB)
In 2009 Dunn let down stat geeks like me by not hitting exactly 40 homeruns for the fifth straight season. Instead he hit 38. Believe it or not, the Nats offense is getting better, and Dunn could benefit from an improved supporting cast.
16) Billy Butler (.302, 86 R, 28 HR, 95 RBI, 1 SB)
After a couple years of disappointing production, Butler finally came around in 2009. He is another candidate for a big breakout, but will be hurt by a poor Royals’ lineup. Until the Royals provide him with more support, he won’t be able to become an elite option.
17) Victor Martinez (.298, 87 R, 22 HR, 100 RBI, 1 SB)
Obviously you want to draft him as a catcher, but if you have a Joe Mauer or Brian McCann type entrenched at there, you could do worse at first. Martinez is a reliable source in the power categories, and will post a good average.
18) Carlos Pena (.250, 84 R, 36 HR, 98 RBI, 1 SB)
Pena will hurt you in the batting average department, and always misses some time due to injuries, but he has averaged 39 HR and 108 RBI over the past three seasons. Pena seems destined to fall off the map one of these years, so he does qualify as a risk/reward pick.
19) Adam LaRoche (.273, 74 R, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 1 SB)
The drop from Pena to LaRoche is noticeable. LaRoche is a great guy to draft as a back-up, but not someone you want to be your number one first basemen. The move to Arizona should help LaRoche stay his usual reliable, but not spectacular, self.
20) James Loney (.285, 77 R, 17 HR, 87 RBI, 6 SB)
Loney does not provide the long balls many other first base options do, but he is a solid contributor in a very good lineup. He also steals more bases than most first basemen, which should not be ignored.
2010 First Base Sleepers
Picking sleepers at first base is a little different than it is at most positions. Why? Because the position is already so deep that sleepers actually worth owning are less likely to emerge. Nonetheless, here are a few guys to consider late on draft day.
Carter is a top prospect who will likely develop into a good everyday player for the A’s. He has legit power potential, and, if he gets 500 at bats, he could be a late round steal.
Remember him? The centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade finally gets the opportunity to play everyday in 2010. Just like Carter, he has legit power potential and could also be a late round steal.
Atkins’ 2009 season was amongst the biggest disappointments of the year. However, he is still only one year removed from the third of three consecutive strong campaigns that earned him the title of one of the game’s best young players. A change of scenery could be exactly what Atkins needed.
Next on 2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings? Second base, starring Chase Utley.