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First base has the honor of being one of the deeper positions in the game. With such a rich amount of great talent, it can be easy to wait on a 1B in your draft. Why not? There were 16 players who qualify at 1B who hit 25+ HR in 2008 so clearly power is not an issue for this position. However, I personally think at least four 1B will be gone after Round 1, so don’t think you can wait too long.
The best 1B for the 2009 season…
Hank Blalock, Texas Rangers
Sure he is an injury risk, but considering he will probably drop to the last 5 rounds of your draft then he is easily worth the risk. If he can actually reach 100 games then he will earn his keep. Plus, he is slated to be the DH this season which limits the risk factor. If healthy, expect a cheap 25 HR.
Casey Kotchman, Atlanta Braves
Kotchman was always a solid hitter for the Angels. After being traded to Atlanta last season, he took a small dive. With the Braves, he hit only .237 with 2 HR. Maybe you could chalk it up to new surroundings and getting a feel for the NL. Don’t let the overall Atlanta #’s fool you, Kotchman had a great final month of the season with a .305 avg and 15 RBI. He’ll be fine in Atlanta.
Matt LaPorta, Cleveland Indians
The big prize in the CC Sabathia trade will start the season in the minors. His 2008 numbers in AA Huntsville were impressive (.288 avg, 22 HR) and being the big reason the Indians traded away a stud pitcher like Sabathia will make LaPorta an eagerly anticipated call up. LaPorta also plays in the outfield so he may get an early chance if Ben Francisco or Shin-Soo Choo falter or get injured.
Next Week: Second Basemen