Posts Tagged ‘freddie freeman’

By David Kerr

We are just over a week into the 2013 season and there has been plenty of craziness already. Yu Darvish almost threw a perfect game, Justin Upton, Chris Davis, and Michael Morse have been killing the ball, and Roy Halladay’s spring training struggles have carried over into the regular season. Over the next two days, I want to take a look at six guys and their performances to date, followed by a recommendation for the rest of the season. First the guys that have started hot.

Justin Upton

Justin Upton has been the hottest hitter from a power standpoint in the National League since the start of the season. He already has six home runs and if this type of production keeps up, he could easily finish April with ten or more. Upton is a guy that everyone has always been waiting on to break out. I believe that truly happens this year. He’s going to drive in the most runs of his career and will finish with his highest average to date. Who knows how many home runs he will hit, but 40 isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Recommendation: HOLD or BUY. This will be Upton’s career year to date. You will want to be along for this ride. His value is high right now, but if he cools down for a short period, pounce and don’t look back.

Chris Davis

Chris Davis played out of his mind over the first four games of the season, hitting four homers and driving in 16 runs. That will easily be his best week of the season. Davis is a streaky hitter that strikes out a ton. He’s prone to slumps and will definitely go through his fair share this season. With that said, he should have no problem hitting 30 home runs again. He has one of the best power bats in the game. If I owned him and could turn him into an injured Freddie Freeman, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Recommendation: SELL.

Clay Buchholz

Carrying over from his strong spring, Clay Buchholz has looked sharp in his first two starts of the season. He sports a 0.64 ERA to go along with 12 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. Can he sustain? I’m skeptical. Since his breakout of 2010, he’s been often injured or under-performing. To date his batting average against is .184. That is 66 points lower than his career BAA number of .250. There is no way that will continue. Buchholz has also stranded every runner he’s allowed on base this year. His only run allowed was from a home run. Once these numbers even out, everything will be going up, except of course, the strikeouts. I’d look to move him.

Recommendation: SELL. If you could trade Buchholz for a starter such as Brandon Morrow, Ian Kennedy, or Doug Fister, I’d pull the trigger immediately. He may have his best season since 2010, but I’d rather invest in a starting pitcher that I know will put up good numbers.

I’ll be back tomorrow with three players that have started ice cold and my recommendations for them for the rest of the year.

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By David Kerr

2013 First Base Rankings

1. Prince Fielder
2. Joey Votto
3. Albert Pujols
4. Edwin Encarnacion
5. Billy Butler
6. Paul Goldschmidt
7. Allen Craig
8. Freddie Freeman
9. Adrian Gonzalez
10. Paul Konerko
11. Ryan Howard
12. Anthony Rizzo
13. Eric Hosmer
14. Adam LaRoche
15. Ike Davis
16. Mark Trumbo
17. Corey Hart
18. Mark Teixeira
19. Adam Dunn
20. Kendrys Morales
21. Garrett Jones
22. Justin Morneau
23. Yonder Alonso
24. Brandon Belt
25. Mark Reynolds
26. Justin Smoak
27. Mitch Moreland
28. Brett Wallace
29. Brandon Moss
30. Gaby Sanchez

UPDATED 3/20/13:
Mark Teixeira falls from #13 to #18.
Ike Davis rises from #17 to #15.
Brandon Moss rises from #30 to #29.
Brett Wallace makes the list for the first time at #28.
Gaby Sanchez makes the list for the first time at #30.
Carlos Lee falls off the list.
Carlos Pena falls off the list.

Overall Thoughts

Do you want consistency? Look no further than Prince Fielder. He is my top rated First Baseman and I write that with confidence. He’s played in at least 157 games each season since 2006, his first full season in the majors. He’ll club home runs, give you a great average, get on-base, drive in runs, and best of all, you don’t have to worry about durability. I like Joey Votto over Albert Pujols because Pujols’ has started slow the past two season and I have to admit, it bothers me to some extent. Pujols will put up very good numbers, but my confidence has waned slightly.

I’m an Edwin Encarnacion believer and think he’ll come close to repeating the career year he had in 2012. Keep in mind that his BABIP was only .266 compared to a league average of .297. You could say “E5” was a bit unlucky in that department. When it’s all said and done, I see a line of .270/37/100/8 which is hardly a huge drop off. Paul Goldschmidt is my First Base breakout candidate. He’s going to see an increase in power and should continue to steal his fair share of bases. I see him going 30/15 in 2013.

Adrian Gonzalez is a guy that I’m just not that confident in. His walk rate was down to a career low since he became a full-time player and his home runs have fallen every season since he peaked with 40 in 2009. A player I would compare him to is his teammate, Andre Ethier. He should be solid, but he’s nothing special. Let someone else overdraft him.

Who will hit more home runs in 2013, Mark Teixeira or Ryan Howard? I’ll say Tex, but both players are on the decline. They’re very similar and I’ve noticed Howard has fallen a bit further than Teixeira in a few Mock Draft’s I’ve done.

Anthony Rizzo or Eric Hosmer? I have to go with Rizzo. I believe he will break out in his true sophomore season the way many thought Hosmer would last season in his. As for Hosmer, it is hard to gauge what to expect. He cannot be as bad as last year, but I’m not so sure he’s going to have a full breakout this season. He should hit 18 home runs and steal 15 bags to go along with a .260 average. That would definitely be a step in the right direction. Another player that had a rough go of it last year was Ike Davis. He was much better in the second half though, so hopefully he can build on his strong finish headed into the 2013 season. He will hit upwards of 30 home runs, so he may be able to provide cheap pop if he can get him later in drafts.

Corey Hart is going to miss the month of April and likely half of May as well. With that said, don’t forget about him. When he’s playing, he’ll produce. If you have an injured reserve to stash him on, don’t hesitate to do it. He’ll give you four solid months of production.

Hopefully Brandon Belt gets the chance to play everyday and has a breakout. I love his walk rate, but he needs to increase his power. He should do that with an everyday job at First Base.

Mark Reynolds will hit a nice amount of home runs, but will hurt you, especially in points leagues that give negative points for strikeouts. Carlos Lee has little power left, but will hit for a decent average. Carlos Pena will absolutely tank your average, but could provide some pop. If any of these three is your starting First Baseman, you’re in trouble at the position.

How many home runs will Brandon Moss hit in 2013? Last season he came out of the blue and hit 21. I say he ups his total to 22 and has a decent year. Maybe he’s just a late bloomer at the big league level!

Thanks for reading! Agree with my Rankings? Disagree? Please leave a comment. I’d love to interact with you. Look for Second Base Rankings tomorrow! Click below to follow me on Twitter!