By Scott Barzilla

Editor’s Note: We are proud to announce a new partnership with mlbdepthcharts.com. They have graciously allowed us access to their online magazine in exchange for 2011 TRI data. The rankings for first base prospects are largely based on the data they have provided. You can also hear our interview with mlbdepthcharts.com founder Jason Martinez on Hardballchat Radio episode 16. It is available on Itunes and Podbean. MLBdepthcharts.com and its accompanying magazine is a terrific resource for the serious fantasy baseball player.

First base is not a big prospect position. Most teams don’t really prioritize first base because they feel they can move players there as needed. Also, it should be noted that the rankings are based on impact for 2012, so some higher ranked prospects are left off because they are likely a year or more removed from big league camp.

1. Yonder Alonso– San Diego Padres

2012 Role: Starting ML First Baseman

Baseball America: 1

PA: 404

AVG: .296

HR: 12

BB%: 11.4

The trade bringing in Alonso and Yasmani Grandal was a great move for the Padres. Alonso won’t put up great numbers in San Diego, but he profiles as a .280/20/80/80 type of player. Whether he produces those numbers this year is another question, but he is penciled in as the starter for now.

2. Chris Carter– Oakland Athletics

2012 Role: AAA

Baseball Prospectus: 8

PA: 348

HR: 18

BB%: 12.1

The Athletics have an opening at first and DH and Carter should be in the mix for both of those. Daric Barton is the likely first baseman, but the DH battle is wide open. Even if the Athletics sign Manny Ramirez, he will not be eligible for the first 50 games. Carter will compete with Brandon Allen and Kila Ka’aihue for the DH spot in Spring Training. He did not rank in the Baseball America top ten, but he was too much of a possible factor this season to leave off the list.

3. Anthony Rizzo– Chicago Cubs

2012 Role: AAA

Baseball America: 3

PA: 409

AVG: .331

HR: 26

BB%: 10.5

Rizzo was a flop in his first ML trial run in San Diego, but Chicago is a better hitting environment and most prospects don’t do well in their first taste of the big leagues. Rizzo needs to shorten his swing to succeed at the next level, but he is only 22 so that is a reasonable expectation. If Bryan LeHair struggles he could get another opportunity this season.

4. Chris Parmalee– Minnesota Twins

2012 Role: AAA

Baseball America: 9

PA: 598

AVG: .287

HR: 13

BB%: 11.4%

Parmalee is one of those low ceiling guys that simply produces. He killed the ball in his big league trial last season, but is blocked at first base by Justin Morneau. The Twins have also experimented with him in left field and he could see time there this season. Otherwise, he is waiting in the wings in case Morneau has more issues with post-concussion syndrome.

5. Chris Marrero– Washington Nationals

2012 Role: AAA

Baseball America: 9

PA: 541

AVG: .300

HR: 14

BB%: 10.7

Marrero is a similar player to Parmalee in the sense that his ceiling is limited. However, he has a better chance to stick because Adam Laroche has only one more year on his contract. If Laroche has more injury problems he could be the first option so that Michael Morse stays in left field.

6. Matt Adams– St. Louis Cardinals

2012 Role: AAA

Baseball America: 9

PA: 503

AVG: .300

HR: 32

BB%: 8.0

No, the Cardinals did not let Pujols walk to make more room for Adams, but his presence is a factor. Lance Berkman signed a one year extension because the Cardinals didn’t want to commit multi-years to an aging first baseman. Adams has impressive power numbers that could translate better than the players above him.

7. Neftali Soto– Cincinnati Reds

2012 Role: AAA

Baseball America: 7

PA: 422

AVG: .278

HR: 31

BB%: 6.2

The Reds have an intriguing decision awaiting them after the season. Joey Votto is clearly an elite first baseman, but do the Reds want to commit 20+ million per season to first base? Soto gives them an option. He isn’t the overall player Votto is, but he does have maybe the most impressive power numbers among the players here.

8. Tommy Joseph– San Francisco Giants

2012 Role: AA

Baseball America: 2

PA: 543

AVG: .270

HR: 22

BB%: 5.3

Joseph profiles as a potential trade chip. He is blocked by Brett Pill and Brandon Belt at first base and his low walk rate doesn’t project very well. However, publications like Baseball America obviously think highly of him. He could be one of the pieces teams seek at the deadline if the Giants want to add a veteran.

9. Matt Davidson– Arizona Diamondbacks

2012 Role: AA

Baseball America: 5

PA: 587

AVG: .277

HR: 20

BB%: 8.9

Davidson is in similar shoes as Joseph. Paul Goldschmidt appears to be the Dbacks first baseman of the future. Davidson profiles as better than Joseph, so the Dbacks aren’t likely to move him this year. They will want to see if Goldschmidt can handle the job. He wouldn’t make an appearance in 2012 under normal circumstances anyway.

10. Mike Ott– Texas Rangers

2012 Role: AA

Baseball America: 10

PA: 288

AVG: .267

HR: 14

BB%: 16.7

Ott appears here because the headline says we need ten guys. He profiles as a trade chip because he is 23 years old and still hasn’t left A ball. His walk rate is impressive and he has some power potential. If he performs well at AA I would expect the Rangers to flip him at the deadline to acquire a veteran.

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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Filed under: Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Prospects


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