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AL First Basemen: Day Three
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

American League First Basemen without Positive Draft Value

Quick Key to the tables:
AB = At-bats.  H = Hits.  BA = Batting Average.  HR= Home Runs.
RBI = Runs Batted In.  SB = Stolen Bases.  R = Runs.  B = Bats.  T = Throws.
Pos = Position qualification based on 20 appearances or max. # of games in 2005.
Age = Player's Age as of October 2, 2005.
4x4 = BA, HR, RBI, and SB in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
5x5 = BA, HR, RBI, SB, and R in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
RAR = Runs Above Replacement in 2005; Adjusted RAR = RAR modified to
consider a player's 2005 defensive rating in Scoresheet fantasy baseball.

We ranked players in order from the highest draft value in a 4x4 league to the lowest. As the majority of fantasy leagues allow you to keep anyone traded to the other league, we listed each player in the league where he started the season.

Roberto Petagine329.28119041
BOS Red Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 34B:L    T:L001.11.1

Petagine staying on the 40-man roster only insures that he remains available if needed as injury filler. The addition of J.T. Snow closes out Boston's last open roster spot, though hopefully the Red Sox still will give the veteran slugger an opportunity after he hit .322/.447/.626 with 20 HR, 69 RBI, and a 63:47 BB:K in 270 AB for AAA Pawtucket(IL) last year. Petagine even held an OPS a hair below .800 in his brief stay with Boston, driving home nine runners in thirty-two at-bats. Injuries could continue to limit his potential, and with the Red Sox increasingly prioritizing defense, Petagine may never receive the extended shot he deserves in the majors. Only an outstanding camp will elevate him to more than a reserve-round flyer.

Walter Young3310.30313021
BAL Orioles4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 25B:L    T:R001.41.4

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Baltimore for my comments on Young.

David McCarty42.50002021
BOS Red Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 35B:R    T:L0-111

Although he broke camp with the Red Sox, McCarty left affiliated ball merely six weeks later after the club DFA'd him. He still may post positive fantasy value at some point in the future, but given his limited upside and difficulty remaining in the majors, do not risk rostering McCarty anywhere.

Alejandro Freire6516.24614071
BAL Orioles4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 31B:R    T:R-1-1-1.6-1.6

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Baltimore for my comments on Freire.

Jamie Burke10.00000001
CH White Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 34B:R    T:R-1-1-0.2-0.2

In September, the White Sox chose to add Raul Casanova rather than recalling Burke, who spent parts of the last three seasons in Chicago and offered far more defensive flexibility. He instead remained in the minors almost all year, compiling a .263/.346/.413 performance with 10 HR, 53 RBI, and a 36:53 BB:K in 361 AB for AAA Charlotte(IL). Moving to Texas this winter he essentially retains third-catcher status, so if the Rangers deal Gerald Laird, Burke may return to the majors. Given his skill set and the favorable home park, he should merit a Dollar Days addition as a second catcher for some team.

Justin Huber7817.21806061
KC Royals4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 23B:R    T:R-2-2-5.1-4.5

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Kansas City for my comments on Huber.

Dave Hansen7513.173211151
SEA Mariners4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 36B:L    T:R-2-2-5.5-5.6

Elbow problems coupled with advancing age and the general uselessness of AL pinch-hitters wrecked Hansen's season, leading to his lowest OPS since his 1990 debut. He sunk to a truly awful .065/.184/.065 output in three dozen appearances as a pinch-hitter, so although he still could land an NRI, he no longer merits so much as the briefest consideration for any fantasy team.

Ross Gload427.16705021
CH White Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 29B:L    T:L-2-3-4.1-4.2

Shoulder problems bothered Gload throughout the first half, resulting in a couple months in the minors. He at least continued crushing AAA pitching, posting a .370/.423/.672 line with 16 HR, 46 RBI, and a 23:37 BB:K in 238 AB for Charlotte(IL), but the trade for Jim Thome probably pushes him back to the minors. Of course, he certainly still owns solid skills and could echo his impressive 2004 numbers if given regular playing time, so if Gload lands on the end of the Chicago bench, feel free to gamble an endgame pick on him in the hope that continued injury issues for Thome will open that everyday job.

Andy Phillips406.15014071
NY Yankees4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 28B:R    T:R-2-2-3.6-3.4

Although Phillips contributed nothing at the plate and turns 29 in April, he nearly opened camp as the Yankees' likely DH before Bernie Williams re-signed. Instead Phillips merely qualifies as the starter whenever Jason Giambi needs to DH or New York wants another power bat against a southpaw. Phillips hit .298/.379/.577 with 23 HR, 55 RBI, and a 37:61 BB:K in 305 AB for AAA Columbus(IL) during his four demotions. Extended AAA success supported by strong skills makes him an excellent fantasy gamble despite this 2005 disaster. Go the extra buck to add someone who stands one Giambi injury away from four at-bats a day in the league's best lineup.

First Base Week continues tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: Only Huber currently seems set to enjoy an extended career once he displaces Doug Mientkiewicz later this summer, but Phillips, along with Gload, Burke, and Petagine, all offer more immediate upside when in the majors. The latter trio deserves no less than reserve-round pick-ups as potentially excellent roster filler while Phillips ranks as a superb UT sleeper due to his likely availability very late in every draft.

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