First Basemen Outlook

by Tim Heaney on August 10, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


FIRST BASEMEN

Table: Do not bench list

Player
Team
Justin Morneau
MIN
Ryan Howard
PHI
Prince Fielder
MIL
Albert Pujols
STL
Mark Teixeira
ATL
Paul Konerko
CHW
Derrek Lee
CHC
Lance Berkman
HOU

UPPER ECHELON

Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies

Schedule: 6 games - @SD (3), @LAD (3)

Analysis: As if a 10-for-39 stretch heading into last Wednesday's game wasn't enough of a deterrent, Helton left Wednesday's contest with back spasms in what manager Clint Hurdle called a "precautionary move." The Rockies were up big in that game, but Hurdle said he would've pulled him regardless of the score. This does not help his situation for the coming week. If possible, try to look elsewhere until Helton shows his back isn't hindering his swing.

Carlos Delgado, New York Mets

Schedule: 6 games - @PIT (3), @WAS (3)

Analysis: Delgado has not clubbed a homer in August but is still contributing with six RBI and four doubles for the month thus far. The Pirates should be a favorable situation for Delgado, but the spaciousness of RFK Stadium has tamed him to a .125 average in two games there this year. However, in the big three offensive categories, Delgado's road numbers trump his figures at Shea. He is hitting 40 points higher on the road at a .272 clip, with nine home runs and 36 RBI away from Flushing, N.Y. Considering the Mets' increasingly potent offense and this week's feeble opponents, Delgado has a good opportunity to help your team.

Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres

Schedule: 6 games - COL (3), HOU (3)

Analysis: Gonzalez has danced on the edge of both fantasy stardom and fantasy evil this year, frustrating owners with his most recent slump. He has hit three homers with six RBI in his last 10 games, rekindling his fire from weak pitching staffs in Houston, San Francisco and St. Louis. Even with two series at PETCO Park, he could once again take advantage of Houston's pitching woes. He's hitting .389 versus Houston this year and .333 with two home runs and 11 RBI against Colorado. This is a potential renaissance week for the youngster.

Ryan Garko, Cleveland Indians

Schedule: 5 games - DET (2), @TB (3)

Analysis: The 26-year-old has not contributed a home run or an RBI in the past five games. Although he has not put up a home run or RBI against Detroit pitching this season, he is batting .326 with 10 homers at Jacobs Field. He is also 1-for-5 with a three-run homer at Tropicana Field this season. The young gun could be valuable with these settings.

MIDRANGE

Carlos Pena, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Schedule: 6 games - @BOS (3), CLE (3)

Analysis: Pena has been one of the pleasant fantasy surprises this season, with his 26 home runs already eclipsing his previous two seasonal totals combined. He has just one home run with three RBI in nine games this month, and just 18 RBI since the All-Star Break. With his matchup against two strong pitching staffs, Pena might not produce at the first-half rate that his owners have been dreaming of. Be cautious with him until he proves his second half sluggishness won't last.

Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox

Schedule: 6 games - TB (3), LAA (3)

Analysis: Youk hit .219 in July, so he was only expected to come back up. He has jumped out of the gate in August by hitting .323. He had 16 hits in 73 at-bats in July, and he already has 10 hits in 31 at-bats for August. With the Sox starting their large second-half stretch against the Rays, this is a time for Youk to start heating up again. He has driven in a personal best seven RBI against Tampa Bay this year. 

Adam LaRoche, Pittsburgh Pirates

Schedule: 7 games - SF (1), NYM (3), PHI (3)

Analysis: LaRoche has just one home run in his last 10 games, and two in his last 21. Ironically, his batting average was at this season's apex when it hit .247 on Aug. 4. He's hitting .143 against the Mets, .250 against the Phillies, and he's 0-for-3 against San Francisco. All of these facts aren't enticing, and neither is LaRoche for starting fantasy lineups this week.

James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers

Schedule: 7 games - HOU (4), COL (3)

Analysis: Loney doesn't have a home run or RBI in his last 10 games. Sure, Loney is hitting .321, but he isn't doing much else to earn the removal of "Bench" from his title next week. He's looking more like Sean Casey - which should immediately scare you.

OTHERS FOR CONSIDERATION

Richie Sexson, Seattle Mariners

Schedule: 6 games - MIN (3), CHW (3)

Analysis: Putting Sexson in your fantasy lineup is like adding a brownie a la mode to your bacon cheeseburger. Sure, his fleeting home runs taste good, but you will eventually learn to regret the blockage caused by his disgusting .199 average. When you need to put the name "Mendoza" in the same sentence as one of your fantasy players, you might need to consider other options. He has hit only one home run and two RBI in his last 10 games. He is hitting .325 against Minnesota and .125 against Chicago. He has a home run against each team. His .178 post-All-Star break average is scary enough to negate those numbers, as owners should look elsewhere until he hits a few more bombs.

Dmitri Young, Washington Nationals

Schedule: 6 games - PHI (3), NYM (3)

Analysis: Even after signing an extension with the Nats at the trade deadline, Young has not completely returned to Earth. Sure, fantasy owners have the right to be skeptical when Meathook puts up strong numbers, and his uniform doesn't give you any further comfort to what he could offer. But this season has been different; he has actually sustained his success. Young is raking at .414 in August, with a homer and eight RBI, and he has 19 RBI in 79 at-bats after the midsummer classic.

Lyle Overbay, Toronto Blue Jays

Schedule: 7 games - @KC (1), LAA (3), BAL (3)

Analysis: Let's just say Overbay's power options won't help much: he hasn't homered since May 28. Although his RBI production still brings his name up in discussions of utility players, his trip to the disabled list in June derailed a promising season. He's not a primary option, but he's not someone to just outright drop. He's averaged 82 RBI over his last two seasons. Just because he probably won't reach those numbers, doesn't mean he won't drive in runs at the same rate for the rest of the season. Daily leaguers should play the matchups, weeklies should assess their situations before inserting him into the lineup.

Casey Kotchman, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Schedule: 6 games - @TOR (3), @BOS (3)

Analysis: Kotchman has four RBI in six games in August, but he has no home runs in the second half and just three RBI in 20 at-bats. Although he has seemed to have turned things around since his 3-for-40 slump at the end of the first half, the Angels are still throwing in Robb Quinlan as part of a lefty-righty platoon. He is still hovering around the middle and the bottom of the lineup. If you're desperate, put him in. He could still be useful in deep leagues, also.

Dan Johnson, Oakland Athletics

Schedule: 7 games - @DET (1), CWS (3), KC (3)

Analysis: Johnson has climbed back into the starting lineup this week, appearing in the starting lineup in seven of his last eight games up until August 7. However, he went 3-for-27 in that stretch, not exactly a ringing endorsement for Johnson after being dangled as unwanted trade bait. Although Johnson is 0-for-3 at the plate against Detroit and 1-for-12 against Chicago this season, he has abused Kansas City, going 9-for-24 with three home runs and seven RBI. Those games, however, were in May, so who knows if Johnson will remember how to hit against them. Be wary of Johnson's fantasy potential.

Conor Jackson, Arizona Diamondbacks

Schedule: 6 games - @FLA (3), @ATL (3)

Analysis: Jackson has no homers or RBI in his last seven games, and the Diamondbacks lineup continues to shuffle with the incoming of uber-phenom Justin Upton. Despite his lack of production, the main benefit of Jackson is that he has hit cleanup or fifth in the order for all of the aforementioned games. While everyone but Eric Byrnes, Orlando Hudson, and Chris B. Young seem to be dragging weight in that lineup, the fact that Jackson hits behind them might have some positive influence in the near future. For this week, Jackson's road power numbers (five home runs, 21 RBI) beat his road numbers (two home runs, 14 RBI). If you have no other options, Jackson might be worth it.

Sean Casey, Detroit Tigers

Schedule: 7 games - OAK (1), @CLE (2), @NYY (4)

Analysis: Despite his underwhelming fantasy stats - surprise there - Casey has six RBI in his last 10 games. He is 12-for-30 (.400) with eight RBI against the Indians this year and 2-for-8 with an RBI against Oakland. Casey will not impress you, but if you need emergency RBI, Casey is better than nothing.

Mike Jacobs, Florida Marlins

Schedule: 6 games - ARZ (3), SF (3)

Analysis: Jacobs' 0-for-28 stretch isn't encouraging for managers considering playing him this coming week. For those who staunchly believe in the term "due," this could bring success in the near future. He is 5-for-16 with a homer and three RBI this season against Arizona, and 3-for-9 with two RBI against San Francisco. These numbers aren't enough to convince managers to play him this week. Wait until he starts contributing before having him take up a spot in the starting lineup.

KEY PLAYERS ON DL

Nick Johnson, Washington Nationals - Out until late August

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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