Random Notes: First Base

The First Base rankings and projections are out. The First Base podcast is available for all. Now, it’s time for some random notes! Make the jump for some delightful reading.

Joey Vottofuoco Over Here Everyone loves them some Joey Votto after the amazing season he enjoyed in 2010. I love me some Votto Loco too, but I’m having a hard time seeing those 37 Home Runs manifesting themselves in 2011. The reason: his 25.0% HR/FB%. That includes a 39.1% HR/FB% in July. These are the types of numbers you cannot chase. He posted HR/FB% numbers of 18.5% in 2008 and 17.5% in 2009. Do I think he regresses to those percentages in 2011? No. Votto may have had an inflated HR/FB% from last season, but he was pretty consistent with those high numbers. Five of six months, we seen Votto post a HR/FB% of 22% or greater. When it came to projection time, I credited Votto with a 21.3% HR/FB%. That combined with the projected K% (22.7%) and Fly Balls (150), gives us 32 HR for 2011.

Adrian! I really want to purchase my ticket to board the Adrian Gonzalez hype train. Leaving Petco for Fenway will help him produce outrageous numbers. Video games stats. I don’t think you need convincing that Petco suppressed Adrian’s numbers, but I have to point out the .303 career AVG away from SD and the 93-to-47 road/home split for Home Runs in the past four years. It’s almost reasonable to expect 50 HR and 150 RBI. Almost. And then he had shoulder surgery and won’t swing a bat until March. I’m afraid the Adrian Gonzalez hype train could derail. I wish I could stop waffling here, but this is really a wait-and-see type situation. Spring Training can’t get here fast enough.

I’m a Vegetarian Prince Fielder’s HR/FB% is a little more erratic than most players’. Will it be 18% or 23%? He’s posted two of each in the past four seasons. I have projected 580 At Bats for Fielder, with a 24% K%, 178 Fly Balls and a .290 BABIP. If he posts a 18% HR/FB%, he’ll hit .259 with 32 HR. If he posts a 23% HR/FB%, he’ll hit .271 with 41 HR. Judgment call time. I settled on middle ground and projected a 19.7% HR/FB% (.263 with 35 HR).

89 Cents! Hold That Guy! If you want to be a Guardian Angel or the Cherub of Justice, you better not let someone get away with scamming your league and getting a discount on Kendry Morales. Every auction draft needs a sheriff. Woodchuck to Gray Squirrel, Woodchuck to Gray Squirrel, we have a situation here.

Everyone Should Know About This aka Here Ya Go Sissy Boy Gather around everyone. In case you haven’t heard, Billy Butler is a First Baseman who has a HR/FB% below 10%. Other players who have a similar HR/FB% since 2008: Jhonny Peralta, Carl Crawford, Johnny Damon, Marlon Byrd, Jorge Cantu and Melvin Mora. So why does Billy Butler have a Average Draft Position of 85? [Alternative Titles: Billy Butler in Breasts of Fury and Let Me Tell You Something! the Story of Fire Marshall Billy]

You Must Be Jussstin Sssmoak Justin Smoak was a much hyped prospect, the centerpiece in the Cliff Lee deal and was unlucky while in Texas, but you probably won’t want to mess around with anyone in the Seattle lineup this season. Even if Smoak hits Line Drives like Officer Stacey Koons hit Rodney King, the power numbers and run production will be sub-standard. Anyone who has big expectations for Smoak is likely high on PCP.

You’re Really Starting to Look Good to Me Now Garrett Jones may be stuck in a platoon situation with Matt Diaz, but you didn’t really want to start him against LHP anyway. Jones will be a high maintenance player, but he should put up good stats against Righties. If you have someone to play when the Pirates face a LHP, you should be able to get some productive stats from your 1B/CI/OF position in deeper leagues. I have Jones projected to hit .282 with 18 HR and 5 SB in 400 At Bats. If you can find 150-200 useful AB from someone else, you’ll be fine. You could do worse.

He Can Assist Your Team You’re going to hear people telling you that Adam LaRoche is an underrated player who can help your team. He can help your team alright… help your team die! Who cares if he’s going late in drafts, he’s going to hit .246 with 24 HR in Washington. He’s swinging at more outside pitches, his Contact percentage is trending downward and he’s leaving a hitter’s park for a more neutral ballpark. He hit .261 last year with a career high in BABIP, that is not good. LaRoche is 31-years old, he’s trending downward and he’s no longer underrated.

You’ll Never Graduate Young Grasshopper I like Daric Barton, but I don’t know why. I don’t have him projected to do much and he’ll eventually lose his job to Chris Carter (Redwood City style), but I’m rooting for him. He’s pretty much a poor man’s James Loney, who is a poor man’s Billy Butler, who is a poor man’s First Baseman.

I Grew Up Watching You It’s time to cancel the Todd Helton Show. His Contact Percentages fell through the floor last year and he has very little, if any power. He’ll be lucky to hit 10 HR this season. A First Baseman who would be lucky to hit 10 HR in Colorado? There should be a 30-40 HR hitter here, but we’re stuck with Todd Helton and Ty Wigginton.