AL Central Position Rankings - First Base
The voting for preseason AL Central catcher will continue for another day, but let's get the discussion going on "Which AL Central First Baseman will be the best in 2012?" Vote now and comment your rankings.
The First Basemen (2011 stats)
Minnesota Twins - Justin Morneau - .227/.285/.333 (.618) with 16-2B, 4-HR, 30 RBI
Chicago White Sox - Paul Konerko - .300/.388/.517 (.906) with 25-2B, 31-HR, 105 RBI
Cleveland Indians - Casey Kotchman - .306/.378/.422 (.800) with 24-2B, 2-3B, 10-HR, 48 RBI
Detroit Tigers - Prince Fielder - .299/.415/.566 (.981) with 36-2B, 1-3B, 38-HR, 120 RBI
Kansas City Royals - Eric Hosmer - .293/.334/.465 (.799) with 27-2B, 3-3B, 19-HR, 78 RBI
It has been a rough year and a half for the Twins first baseman. Morneau has played in four All Star games, won the 2006 MVP and finished 2nd in 2010. But since getting kneed in the head by John McDonald in July of 2010, he has not been himself. Can he be again? We (Twins fans) sure hope so, but no one knows. He will turn 31 years old in May.
36-year-old Konerko is a guy who people keep thinking will drop off in his production, and then he put up another .900+ OPS season in 2011 despite fighting an injury most of the second half of the season. He also didn't get the kind of protection last year that most thought he would. Consider what numbers he could put up if Adam Dunn comes back with a solid season.
Casey Kotchman was the 13th overall pick in 2001 out of high school. He is just 29 years old and hit well for the Rays in 2011. Cleveland will be his sixth team since 2008, and he is again on a one year contract.
Eric Hosmer was the third overall pick in 2008 out of high school, so he will be just 22 years old throughout the 2012 season. He finished third place in AL Rookie of the Year voting last year with an impressive debut season. Can he fight off a sophomore slump and improve upon hi first year numbers?
The Tigers surprised many in the baseball world by signing free agent Prince Fielder to a monster, nine-year, $214 million contract. He can flat-out hit, and no one seems worried about the 27 year old for the next couple of years. He has played in no less than 157 games in his full, big league seasons. He has finished in the Top 5 in NL MVP voting three times. He has even won two Silver Slugger Awards in a league that included Albert Pujols. However, switching leagues does often impact a player's numbers in year one.
There is the information, now it is time to vote. Who will be the best first baseman in the AL Central in 2012?