Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010 N.L. First Basemen

N.L.-only first basemen might be the most predictable commodity in all of Rotisserie. As a result, these guys get paid.

Ten Most Expensive N.L. First Basemen 2010

1Albert Pujols$40$44-3$45$40$45
2Prince Fielder
3Ryan Howard$25$37-12$29$34$34
4Joey Votto$40$31+9
5Adrian Gonzalez$27$30-2$28$24$26
6Derrek Lee$17$25-8$26$23$30
7Lance Berkman$10$24-15$25$25$21
8James Loney$18$21-3$22$22$20
9Adam LaRoche$20$200$20$25$20
10Jorge Cantu$10$18-8$17$16$21


The average salary for these guys has barely fluctuated since 2008: $29 this year, $28 in 2009, and $29 in 2008. Part of this, of course, is because seven of the hitters on this list are repeating for the third straight time; only Cantu and LaRoche are first timers, while Votto is on here for the second year in a row. The market is paying for stability, even if said stability comes at a price.

Three Year Snapshot 2008-2010


1Albert Pujols$128$121+8$121

2Ryan Howard

3Prince Fielder$83$107-24$96

4Lance Berkman$68$87-20

5Adrian Gonzalez$81$86-5$77

6Derrek Lee$71$78-7$81

7James Loney$59$62-3$60

With the exception of the amazing Pujols, these guys all have lost money for their owners in the last three years.

Gonzalez, Lee and Loney are all excellent advertisements for Stage Three conservatism - and Rotoman is an excellent proponent of that in 2010. He bobs and weaves against the market, grabbing Pujols, Lee, Berkman and Loney outright. Even if you factor in ZIPS and their uncapped spending, Rotoman still gets Pujols and Lee.

Is it a good idea to take a $7 bath per year on Berkman, Fielder and Howard?

Berkman is a different story than Fielder/Howard. It is difficult to forecast decline accurately, and while the market adjusts in 2010 it doesn't adjust quite enough (though the trade to the A.L. obviously hurts Berkman here).

Fielder and Howard are definitely overpaid. With average salaries of $37 and $36 per year for Howard and Fielder respectively, they are bound to take a loss unless they hit .300, absolutely dominate in HR/RBI, or both. It is nearly impossible for a non-SB player to crack $40 in 5x5 and - sure enough - Fielder and Howard never do.

In 2010, Votto defied conventional wisdom by cracking the $30 barrier in salary and turning a strong profit. But Votto missed time in 2009 due to a non-injury and was on the good side of the age curve. If he cracks a $35 average salary in 2011 and puts up a loss, I won't blink.

The market is paying for both stability and stats.

Top 10 N.L. First Basemen 2010

1Albert Pujols$40$44-3$45$40$45
2Joey Votto
3Adrian Gonzalez$27$30-2$28$24$26
4Aubrey Huff$27$13+14
5Ryan Howard$25$37-12$29$34$34
6Prince Fielder$22$38-16$34$32$35
7Gaby Sanchez$20$6+14$7$15$1
8Adam LaRoche$20$200$20$25$20
9James Loney$18$21-3$22$22$20
10Derrek Lee$17$25-8$26$23$30


Huff and Sanchez replace Berkman and Cantu on the first chart, but seeing eight of the same hitters on both the best and most expensive charts is very stable indeed. If Ike Davis had simply put up one more hit, this chart would have been a little less stable, but the general point stands.

We don't like paying for these guys but we feel like we have to if we want stats. Unlike the A.L. this past year, there weren't a bevy of unsexy $12-16 earners waiting for us if we were patient. Davis went unauctioned in all three expert leagues I use to track these data, while Mike Morse (1B eligible at the beginning of the season) was only saved from Roto free agent oblivion by a $1 buy in Tout Wars.

If you missed out on the 12 hitters in the three charts above, you really missed out. Maybe you were one of the smart ones and grabbed Davis or Morse. If not, though, you better have spent that $1 on someone who earned $2-5 and got your stats elsewhere.

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