Last week we took at look at the Top 10 Catchers in Baseball, so today it’s only natural to move on to 1B. Some younger guys are climbing the list, while many familiar names remain. While Billy Butler likely belongs somewhere on here, Kansas City’s recent decision to move him to full-time DH makes him ineligible. So here they are, the Top Ten 1B for 2011:
1. Albert Pujols, STL – The best player of his generation, Pujols will be at the top of this list for some time. The three-time MVP has posted an OPS over 1.000 in all but two of his ten seasons in the majors.
3. Miguel Cabrera, DET – Considered by many to be the second best right-handed hitter in baseball, Cabrera narrowly missed his first MVP last season. After a relapse in his continuing struggle with alcohol, it will be interesting to see what kind of numbers he can post in 2011.
4. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS – Gonzalez was able to average over 100 RBIs over the last four seasons while playing for a poor offensive team in San Diego. Now that he’s surrounded by talented hitters in Boston, there’s no telling what his production will look like. Just 28, the California native’s best years are ahead of him.
5. Mark Teixeira, NYY – Though he always seems to start slow, Tex’s numbers end up with the best in the league year in and year out. In addition, he’s one of the best defenders and smartest baserunners at his position.
6. Prince Fielder, MIL – Perhaps a slightly better hitter than Teixeira, Fielder’s weight causes issues with his fielding and mobility. Teams are willing to look past that, when you’re capable of clubbing over 50 HRs in a season, like the soon-to-be free agent Fielder is.
7. Justin Morneau, MIN – It could be argued that the Twins slugger belongs above Fielder on this list, but Morneau is older, and his recent concussion issues are a major concern. Still, his OPS+ of 184 in 2010’s first half was incredible.
8. Ryan Howard, PHI – This Phillies slugger has seen his offensive production regress slightly in the past couple seasons, but he’s still a constant threat at the plate, leading the league in RBIs in both 2008 and 2009.
9. Paul Konerko, CHW – After underperforming slightly from 2007-2009, Konerko had a masterful 2010, putting up a .977 OPS while clubbing 39 HRs. The White Sox took notice and signed him for three more years.
10. Kendry Morales – Assuming he’s able to bounce back from his humiliating 2010 injury caused by a team celebration, Morales belongs on this list. The 27-year-old plays solid defense, and in a full season at the position in 2009, Morales hit 34 HRs to accompany an OPS+ of 139.
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