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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.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fantasy baseball: Early 2012 rankings -- first basemen

The Tigers might have overpaid Prince Fielder.

They might have ruined the Tribe's AL Central hopes with the signing.

But, hey, it wasn't all bad.

Fielder's $214 million contract will result in Miguel Cabrera moving to third base, which I think vaults him to No. 2 overall heading into the season -- behind Albert Pujols. (The move should also result in plenty of comical highlights of Cabrera and shortstop Jhonny Peralta trying to get to a hard-hit ball in the hole.)

Fielder should thrive hitting cleanup in a Tigers lineup that is expected to feature Cabrera batting third, Delmon Young fifth, promising catcher Alex Avila sixth and Peralta seventh.

Cecil's son batted .299 with 38 homers and 120 RBI in Milwaukee last season. He walked one more time than he struck out (107 and 106, respectively).

We have him ranked fourth at first base and 11th overall -- an ideal late first-round pick in a 12-team league.

All of which brings us to our top fantasy baseman as we get ready for spring training.

Note: All players are ranked at the positions at which they are expected to spend the most time in 2012, not all positions at which they are eligible. ... Stats are from 2011.

Rank, player, team R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.
1. Albert Pujols, Angels 105-37-99-9-.299
2. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox 108-27-117-1-.338
3. Joey Votto, Reds 101-29-103-8-.309
4. Prince Fielder, Tigers 95-38-120-1-.299
5. Mark Teixeira, Yankees 90-39-111-4-.248
6. Paul Konerko, White Sox 69-31-105-1-.300
7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals 90-31-94-2-.301
8. Ryan Howard, Phillies 81-33-116-1-.253
9. Eric Hosmer, Royals 66-19-78-11-.293
10. Adam Lind, Blue Jays 56-26-87-1-.251
11. Gaby Sanchez, Marlins 72-19-78-3-.266
12. Ike Davis, Mets 20-7-25-0-.302
13. Freddie Freeman, Braves 67-21-76-4-.282
14. Justin Morneau, Twins 19-4-30-0-.277
15. Carlos Lee, Astros 66-18-94-4-.275
16. Carlos Pena, Rays 72-28-80-2-.225
17. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks 28-8-26-4-.250
18. Mitch Moreland, Rangers 60-16-51-2-.259
19. James Loney, Dodgers 56-12-65-4-.288
20. Justin Smoak, Mariners 38-15-55-0-.234

Last three out: Todd Helton, Rockies; Yonder Alonso, Padres; Kendry Morales, Angels.

Eligibility notes: The Tribe's Carlos Santana and The Rangers' Mike Napoli are eligible at first base, but are much more valuable at catcher. They are ranked first and third there, respectively. ... Orioles strikeout machine Mark Reynolds should spend some time at first base, but is primarily a third baseman. ... The Rockies Michael Cuddyer and the Nationals' Michael Morse are listed as outfielders. ... The Ranges' Michael Young plays almost everywhere in the infield, but is our top-ranked designated hitter because that is the position at which he spends the most time.

Key stats: Last season was the first in which Albert Pujols failed to hit at least .300 with 100 RBI. He couldn't have come any closer to reaching the milestone for the 11th consecutive season. Pujols hit .299 with 99 RBI. Don't worry about such a "down" season in 2012, Pujols' first in the American League.

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NEXT: Second basemen

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