Here are my rankings for 2003 first basemen. I have ranked the top 12 at this position.
1. Todd Helton- Last year's numbers were considered a "down" year, but remember that he had back issues and a humidor to contend with. I have a feeling that a terrible record and the admission that pitching doesn't win in Colorado might make that humidor packed with Garcia Vega's and not hardballs in 2003.
2. Jason Giambi- His numbers will rival Helton's without the home/ away disparity. He's also a horse who always plays.
3. Carlos Delgado- This line-up is looking extremely solid from top to bottom. If Carlos can just get that avg. up he would join Helton and Giambi.
4. Mike Sweeney- He's 29 years old and hits .330 without nearly as many walks as Giambi or Helton. This gives you more bang for your buck in hits/ avg. Did I mention that he's a shoe-in for 30 HR and 110 RBI? He also might be the best sb threat at his position.
5. Jim Thome- The "Thominator" is guy who always stinks up the joint the first six weeks of the season before his swing gets rolling, and that's in a league he's familiar with. Thome's persistently sore back coupled with 81 games on Philly's turf scare me off this guy a little.
6. Jeff Bagwell- His speed is no longer a stat stuffer and he probably won't regain his pre-shoulder injury form. That being said he's hitting in a whiffle ball field with studs all around him.
7. Rafael Palmiero- zzzzzzzzzz...280, 34 HR, 115 RBI...zzzzzzzzzz
8. Paul Konerko- He has one of the most compact and powerful swings I have ever seen. He's already a .300 caliber hitter who's pitch selection should improve by leaps and bounds. He might have the biggest upside of anyone on this list.
9. Richie Sexson- He's got an even worse line-up than last year to produce in. He'll be extremely lucky to duplicate last season's numbers.
10. Derek Lee- He was a super-prospect a few years back and looks to be a late bloomer. With castillo and possible Lowell and Pierre hitting around him he might knock in 110 this year. He also plays for the marlins, a team not afraid to move runners and stockpile sb's. Playing in Florida's ballpark is holding his stats way down.
11. Sean Casey- I'm looking for a huge season from the guy. hitting .320 with 22 bombs is not out of the question for Casey, who will be playing in new and packed park and is currently hitting in a line-up including Griffey, Dunn, Kearns, and Boone. he's another guy who doesn't walk but maintains a high avg.
12. Aubrey Huff- A guy in his physical prime playing for Piniella who is capable of .290, 24 HR, 95 RBI. You can get him cheap and his numbers just might rival you would have to spend twice as much to land. Call it the Devil Ray discount.
Aubrey Huff and Sean Casey both on this list? Yikes! Is 1B that shallow?
Where are these guys? I'd take nearly any of them before those two (Casey's a huge injury risk), but it's early and I'm not fully up to speed research-wise:
* Nick Johnson (DH/1B)
* Adam Dunn (1B eligible)
* Jeff Kent (1B eligible, perhaps)
* Albert Pujols (1b eligible)
* John Olerud (easy to forget, always produces)
* Scott Spezio (coming of age?)
* Brad Fullmer (whereever he lands)
* McGriff (30 HR year in and year out)
* Nevin (rebound time, plus eligible at 3B?)
* Carlos Pena
* Durazo (if healthy)
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Speaking of McGriff, does anyone know if he'll be back next year? There was some speculation before last year that it would be his last, but I haven't heard anything about it this year. With Hee Seop Choi and Eric Karros, it doesn't look likely that the Cubs will even bother trying to re-sign him (they already declined to pick up the option on his contract), but that doesn't mean some other team wouldn't be willing to pick up his 30 HR's. But it's possible that he's just sick of playing.
I would have to rate Thome 3, Bagwell 4, Delgado at 5. Delgado has a long swing, his 300 season was a fluke, plus he struggles versus lefties. Bagwell still had a .916 ops with a bad shoulder all year. Thome will be interesting to watch, since the Jake beniffitted him greatly.