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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2011 fantasy baseball rankings: First basemen

As usual, first base is loaded with fantasy prospects.

Outside of the top five, however, there are more issues than we might be accustomed to at a star-studded position.

Will Prince Fielder produce as he did in 2009?

Was 2010 the beginning of Ryan Howard’s decline?

Will Justin Morneau and Kendry Morales be healthy?

Will Matt LaPorta ever do anything?

We have questions, but none has anything to do with the top of the draft.

Albert Pujols is still the slam-dunk No. 1 overall choice — and it’s not close.

On to our second set of rankings of the season.

Rank, player: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.
1. Albert Pujols, StL: 115-42-118-14-.312
2. Miguel Cabrera, Det: 111-38-126-3-.328
3. Joey Votto, Cin: 106-37-113-16-.324
4. Adrian Gonzalez, Bos: 87-31-101-0-.298
5. Mark Teixeira, NYY: 113-33-108-0-.256
6. Prince Fielder, Mil: 94-32-83-1-.261
7. Ryan Howard, Phi: 87-31-108-1-.276
8. Justin Morneau, Min: 53-18-56-0-.345
9. Paul Konerko, CWS: 89-39-111-0-.312
10. Aubrey Huff, SF: 100-26-86-7-.290
11. Billy Butler, KC: 77-15-78-0-.318
12. Kendry Morales, LAA: 29-11-39-0-.290
13. Adam Lind, Tor: 57-23-72-0-.237
14. Gaby Sanchez, Fla: 72-19-85-5-.273
15. Derrek Lee, Bal: 80-19-80-1-.260
16. Carlos Pena, ChC: 64-28-84-5-.196
17. Ike Davis, NYM: 73-19-71-3-.264
18. James Loney, LAD: 67-10-88-10-.267
19. Adam LaRoche, Was: 75-25-100-0-.261
20. Mitch Moreland, Tex: 20-9-25-3-.255

Preseason top 100 players (13):
Pujols (1), Cabrera (5), Votto (8), Gonzalez (18), Teixeira (29), Fielder (39), Howard (48), Morneau (49), Konerko (61), Huff (85), Butler (86), Morales (88), Lind (99).

Short hops
I wouldn’t worry about Cabrera’s on-field production, despite his recent arrest. He’s a career .313 hitter who has had at least 33 homers and 112 RBI in six of his last seven seasons. ... Teixeira batted a combined .300 in 2008 and ’09 before falling 44 points last season. ... Morneau’s numbers were from 81 games. He is expected to be ready after a concussion wiped out the second half of his 2010 campaign. ... Morales will start the season on the disabled list after he was limited to 193 at-bats by a freak leg injury in 2010. Concerns over his foot this spring dropped him a couple of spots on the above list. ... Lind makes the move to first base after a down year. The former designated hitter batted .305 with 35 homers, 114 RBI, 93 runs and a .932 OPS in 2009. ... LaRoche could provide late-round value after averaging 26 homers the last five seasons. ... Adam Dunn is ranked first at DH, where he is expected to spend most of his time after signing with the White Sox. If you can play him at first, consider him the ninth-best player on the above list, ahead of teammate Konerko.

NOTE: Statistics are from the 2010 season. ... Players are listed only at the positions at which they are expected to spend the most time in 2011.

THIS WEEK: Catchers, Sunday; first baseman, today; second baseman, Wednesday.

NEXT WEEK: Shortstops, third basemen and designated hitters.

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