As a follow up to yesterday’s post ranking AL East catchers, today I will rank the first basemen of the division. As expected, the first base position provides a lot of power for all five of these teams, but no player is as well rounded as the Adrian the Cat.
The rankings are as follows:
1. Adrian Gonzalez
2. Mark Texeira
3. Carlos Pena
4. Adam Lind
5. Chris Davis
Gonzo needs to be number one here. He was a legitamate MVP candidate last year, which is incredible considering his massive HR drought to start the 2011 season (1 HR in all of April). He’s got a great glove and I expect him to increase his HR total (2nd lowest of career), while maintaining similar RBI production. Although I do see a drop from his career best .338 batting average, I see Gonzo being a force in the middle of the Sox lineup and a MVP contender to start the season.
Texeira is one of the most overpaid players in baseball. He was the third highest paid position player last year (fourth overall). He earned $23.125 million, while Adrian was the 14th highest paid first baseman in the MLB and earned every penny of his $6.3 million. The sad part (for the Yankees) is that they have Texeira and his .248 batting average (from last year) signed into a no trade clause until 2016. I’m the first to admit he is a good hitter, and he’s a player every pitcher is afraid can take them yard any pitch, but he has been unwilling to make any adjustments during his struggles as a Yankee. He’s been known to have struggles adapting to the huge shift that opposing teams put on him as a pull hitter (Sox fans- think David Ortiz during his slump of 2010). Don’t get me wrong, Texiera plays great defense and hits 30+ home runs a year, but any “elite” hitter that earns that much money and then hits .180, .148, and .167 in the last three postseasons, respecitvely, loses all respect in my vote.
I think Pena is starting to decline a bit with his power, which is why I thought about giving Lind the slight edge over him. Despite this, Pena has an uncanny ability to get on base (his OBP is regularly about 130 points better than his BA) and displays underrated defensive skills. Lind hasn’t been consistent enough to warrant the third spot in rankings. Last up is Chris Davis for the Orioles. Davis was a big time prospect a few years ago for the Rangers, and displayed some good power for them in his first two years in the bigs. Since joining the Orioles, Davis struggled with a shoulder injury. He was a good prospect but hasn’t panned out the last few years, so hopefully he can find the power stroke hes been missing lately.
For Catcher rankings: Click Here.