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2012 projections review: first base

Oct 25, 2012, 1:35 PM EDT

Prince Fielder Getty Images

This is the second of a position-by-position review of my 2012 projections. Along with looking at my top preseason top 10 (for fantasy purposes) from each spot, I’m highlighting some other interesting players. Any requests for players not covered can be made in the comments.

1. Albert Pujols – Angels
Projection: .306/.414/.586, 43 HR, 114 R, 117 RBI, 9 SB in 601 AB
2012 stats: .285/.343/.516, 30 HR, 85 R, 105 RBI, 8 SB in 607 AB

After finally settling in above the Mendoza Line on May 15, Pujols came in at .312/.374/.589 the rest of the way. The most striking thing about Pujols’ decline is the huge drop in his walk rate. He drew at least 70 unintentional walks every year from 2004-09 before dropping to 65 in 2010, 46 in 2011 and 36 this year.

2. Joey Votto – Reds
Projection: .314/.426/.564, 33 HR, 105 R, 107 RBI, 9 SB in 567 AB
2012 stats: .337/.474/.567, 14 HR, 59 R, 56 RBI, 5 SB in 374 AB

3. Adrian Gonzalez – Red Sox/Dodgers
Projection: .318/.401/.551, 33 HR, 103 R, 118 RBI, 0 SB in 604 AB
2012 stats: .299/.344/.463, 18 HR, 75 R, 108 RBI, 2 SB in 629 AB

The move to Dodger Stadium will get Gonzalez a weaker projection next year, particularly in runs scored. I may have to ramp up the steals, though. Gonzalez had as many stolen bases in 36 games with the Dodgers (two) as he did in 1,140 career games previously.

4. Prince Fielder – Tigers
Projection: .278/.412/.515, 33 HR, 98 R, 113 RBI, 1 SB in 565 AB
2012 stats: .313/.412/.528, 30 HR, 83 R, 108 RBI, 1 SB in 581 AB

It figured that the move from Milwaukee to Detroit would take a chunk out of Fielder’s home run total. However, he made up for it by hitting .300 for the first time in his career. After such a quick adjustment to the AL, I’ll give him a somewhat better projection next year.

5. Eric Hosmer – Royals
Projection: .293/.365/.487, 24 HR, 89 R, 97 RBI, 8 SB in 598 AB
2012 stats: .232/.304/.359, 14 HR, 65 R, 60 RBI, 16 SB in 535 AB

Hosmer was such a huge disappointment after hitting .293/.334/.465 with 19 homers in 128 games as a rookie. All he seemed to do as a sophomore was hit grounders. The future is still bright, but the Royals need to bring in an alternative at first base and consider sending Hosmer back to Triple-A if he can’t fails to make adjustments next spring.

6. Mark Teixeira – Yankees
Projection: .260/.367/.504, 36 HR, 93 R, 108 RBI, 2 SB in 573 AB
2012 stats: .251/.332/.475, 24 HR, 66 R, 84 RBI, 2 SB in 451 AB

Teixeira’s OPS declined for the fifth straight season, and the Yankees are still on the hook for another four years. Orioles fans should stop booing him and start cheering the fact that their team isn’t the one paying him $22.5 million per year.

7. Ike Davis – Mets
Projection: .277/.363/.501, 29 HR, 81 R, 95 RBI, 1 SB in 553 AB
2012 stats: .227/.308/.462, 32 HR, 66 R, 90 RBI, 0 SB in 519 AB

I don’t know how much the Valley Fever had to do with Davis’s early struggles, but the fact is that he hit .158/.234/.273 with five homers in 183 at-bats through June 8 and then .265/.347/.565 with 27 homers in 336 at-bats the rest of the way. Regardless, he still needs to step up his game against lefties if he’s going to post quality batting averages from year to year.

8. Paul Konerko – White Sox
Projection: .278/.371/.480, 28 HR, 73 R, 98 RBI, 0 SB in 540 AB
2012 stats: .298/.371/.486, 26 HR, 66 R, 75 RBI, 0 SB in 533 AB

Hitting Konerko behind Adam Dunn didn’t really work out for the White Sox. He was still pretty good, but he lost 30 RBI from his 2011 total.

9. Freddie Freeman – Braves
Projection: .282/.348/.476, 24 HR, 73 R, 87 RBI, 3 SB in 561 AB
2012 stats: .259/.340/.456, 23 HR, 91 R, 94 RBI, 2 SB in 540 AB

10. Paul Goldschmidt – Diamondbacks
Projection: .246/.329/.485, 30 HR, 74 R, 85 RBI, 8 SB in 532 AB
2012 stats: .286/.359/.490, 20 HR, 82 R, 82 RBI, 18 SB in 514 AB

One of my most unusual misses: I was off by 40 points of average, 10 homers and 10 steals, yet by only 35 points of OPS and five runs+RBI.

11. Adam Dunn – White Sox
Projection: .230/.347/.489, 37 HR, 80 R, 92 RBI, 1 SB in 538 AB
2012 stats: .204/.333/.468, 41 HR, 87 R, 96 RBI, 2 SB in 539 AB

Dunn was a great story early on, but he was a below average DH over the final four months. In the end, his comeback ranked as only the White Sox’s third best behind Alex Rios and Jake Peavy. While my projection turned out OK, I’ll be going lower next year.

15. Ryan Howard – Phillies
Projection: .261/.350/.499, 21 HR, 51 R, 65 RBI, 0 SB in 337 AB
2012 stats: .219/.295/.423, 14 HR, 28 R, 56 RBI, 0 SB in 260 AB

17. Justin Morneau – Twins
Projection: .269/.361/.473, 23 HR, 71 R, 82 RBI, 0 SB in 490 AB
2012 stats: .267/.333/.440, 19 HR, 63 R, 77 RBI, 1 SB in 505 AB

It’s great that Morneau was able to return from post-concussion syndrome and become a solid contributor. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite resemble the old Morneau at the plate. Even though he was limited to 134 games, he still set a new career high with 102 strikeouts, and he had his worst full season from a power perspective. I expect I’ll give him a similar projection next year.

18. Kendrys Morales – Angels
Projection: .293/.346/.497, 20 HR, 61 R, 73 RBI, 1 SB in 433 AB
2012 stats: .273/.320/.467, 22 HR, 61 R, 73 RBI, 0 SB in 484 AB

As a fantasy projection, this one is pretty great. As far as actually projecting production, it’s a little off; I expected Morales to reach those run and RBI totals in 50 fewer at-bats. Considering that I was projecting a guy who had missed 1 2/3 seasons with a busted leg, I’ll take it either way. Morales had his best two months in August and September, which would seem to be a good sign for next year.

19. Justin Smoak – Mariners
Projection: .258/.350/.440, 22 HR, 70 R, 74 RBI, 0 SB in 539 AB
2012 stats: .217/.290/.364, 19 HR, 49 R, 51 RBI, 1 SB in 483 AB

Smoak was sitting at .190/.258/.316 through the end of August. He hit .341/.426/.580 with five homers in September to seemingly guarantee himself another shot as the Mariners’ first baseman next year.

21. Adam LaRoche – Nationals
Projection: .257/.332/.442, 19 HR, 61 R, 73 RBI, 1 SB in 475 AB
2012 stats: .271/.343/.510, 33 HR, 76 R, 100 RBI, 1 SB in 571 AB

LaRoche hit .172 with three homers in 151 at-bats before undergoing shoulder surgery in 2011. All he did this year was come back with the best season of his career at age 32.

29. Mark Trumbo – Angels
Projection: .248/.297/.460, 16 HR, 39 R, 49 RBI, 4 SB in 315 AB
2012 stats: .268/.317/.491, 32 HR, 66 R, 95 RBI, 4 SB in 544 AB

I’ve been a big skeptic with Trumbo, and I was looking like a big fool with him hitting .307/.358/.630 with 27 homers through 85 games this year. Then he suddenly collapsed to .213/.258/.293 the rest of the way. My feeling is that the flaws in his approach were exposed, and he’s going to have to start laying off bad pitches to survive. That said, he has some of the best power in the league and he can still crush mistakes. He can’t be completely written off.

Previous 2012 projection reviews: catcher

  1. raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Request for Carlos Pena. I assume you projected a poor season and that he lived down to your expectations. I really can’t see my Rays getting back to the top of the division with him at 1st.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      I was certainly expecting more power:

      Projection: .215/.353/.445, 27 HR, 69 R, 82 RBI, 2 SB in 474 AB
      2012 stats: .197/.330/.354, 19 HR, 72 R, 61 RBI, 2 SB in 497 AB

      I don’t think you’ll have to worry about him being back next year. It’d be nice if the Rays could pull off a trade for a first baseman since there isn’t much out there in free agency.

      • number42is1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:48 PM

        Tex? please say Tex…..

      • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:50 PM

        Ha. Full no-trade and no desire to leave NYC. Enjoy!

      • number42is1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:59 PM

        We’ll throw in Arod????

      • raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 10:02 PM

        Number42is1,
        If the Yankees offered the Rays Tex and/or A-Rod (and payed 80% of the salary) for a couple prospects, I’d hope my Rays took it. Tex is still a + defensive player, which offsets a little of the decline in production…and that decline is still a large upgrade over Pena. I’d also be happy to have A-Rod if he were willing to DH or play 1B as he, finally healthy next year, will I think hit around .280 with 30-ish HRs. The Yankees won’t move either of them though.

  2. lyon810 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Frederick Freeman…

    • lyon810 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      my bad, nvm

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Actually, now that I’m looking at it, Freeman’s projection matches up pretty well with Goldschmidt’s season and Goldschmidt’s with Freeman’s.

      I thought Freeman could get stuck hitting sixth a lot, which is why I gave him the modest run and RBI numbers.

  3. geoknows - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Billy Butler? If Adam Dunn is included, Butler should be too.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      Dunn qualified at first base entering the season. Butler didn’t. He was the No. 1 DH, ahead of Ortiz.

      Projection: .307/.381/.490, 21 HR, 81 R, 96 RBI, 1 SB in 592 AB
      2012 stats: .313/.373/.510, 29 HR, 72 R, 107 RBI, 2 SB in 614 AB

      Hadn’t really paid any attention before, but what an ugly run total. 192 hits, 54 walks, 7 HBPs. Excluding the homers, he reached base safely on 224 occasions and was driven in just 43 times. A good illustration of just how bad Francoeur and company were behind him.

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:59 PM

        Good point, Matthew. As a guy who watches the Royals regularly (and, consequently, drinks regularly), Frenchy & Co were terrible all year. Almost zero production below the 4-spot in the lineup until Salvador Perez came back.

        I’d hold off on getting an alternative for Hosmer at 1st. Royals have Butler (try not to laugh) and also a solid org guy in AAA named Clint Robinson who can fill in short-term if Hosmer tanks in 2013. But hopefully his sophomore year was a hiccup– he’s still 22 and has all the talent in the world. Excited to see his career get on track next year.

      • geoknows - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        Butler qualified leagues with a 10-game minimum; that’s why I asked.

  4. joebolt33 - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    How about Yonder Alonso?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      Projection: .249/.323/.402, 16 HR, 60 R, 62 RBI, 5 SB in 507 AB
      2012 stats: .273/.348/.393, 9 HR, 47 R, 62 RBI, 3 SB in 549 AB

      I probably should have ignored the surprising 2011 outburst (5 HR in 88 AB) and given him a lesser HR projection. He was quite solid overall, though, and some of those doubles should turn into homers next year with the fences coming in a bit.

  5. westwarrior2014 - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Corey Hart

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      He was my No. 30 OF:

      Projection: .274/.340/.489, 25 HR, 78 R, 85 RBI, 9 SB in 530 AB
      2012 stats: .270/.334/.507, 30 HR, 91 R, 83 RBI, 5 SB in 562 AB

  6. Marty McKee - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Pujols over Votto? Er.

  7. itsabergthing - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    How about Garret Jones? He had to produce well above projections this year.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      Yeah, he certainly did. I expected him to lose his job as the year went along. He’ll be listed in the outfield article, but here it is:

      Projection: .230/.307/.399, 11 HR, 35 R, 38 RBI, 3 SB in 296 AB
      2012 stats: .274/.317/.516, 27 HR, 68 R, 86 RBI, 2 SB in 475 AB

  8. Matt S - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    WTF? His projections were good and I found the whole thing pretty interesting. Obviously commenting isn’t your thing, I guess.

  9. markcycy - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    15. Ryan Howard – Phillies
    Projection: .261/.350/.499, 21 HR, 51 R, 65 RBI, 0 SB in 337 AB
    2012 stats: .219/.295/.423, 14 HR, 28 R, 56 RBI, 0 SB in 260 A

    yo matt you must be smoking good stuff but howard is an rbi machine. he had 56 this year while the phils had a bad year. he will have 100 rbi next year with 35 plus hrs

    • greymares - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      Howard had 56 RBI in 71 starts 18 hr and your projecting 21 and 65 wow

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      Sorry to throw you off with the title “2012 projections review” but this is actually a review of my 2012 projections.

      • markcycy - Oct 26, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        am an idiot

  10. bh192012 - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Brandon Moss

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      I figured I hadn’t projected him, but lo and behold:

      Projection: .239/.313/.380, 2 HR, 8 R, 9 RBI, 0 SB in 71 AB
      2012 stats: .291/.358/.596, 21 HR, 48 R, 52 RBI, 1 SB in 265 AB

      So close.

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