First Base

Candidates who can hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs abound
March 20, 2006

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

      Avg. HR RBI Runs SB  
1. NL Albert Pujols, Cardinals .330 41 117 129 16  
2. NL Derrek Lee, Cubs .335 46 107 120 15  
3. AL Mark Teixeira, Rangers .301 43 144 112 4  
4. AL Paul Konerko, White Sox .283 40 100 98 0  
5. NL Ryan Howard, Phillies .288 22 63 52 0 With Howard hammering balls into the rightfield windtunnel at Citizens Bank Park, Mike Schmidt's club record for home runs (48) isin jeopardy.
6. NL Todd Helton, Rockies .320 20 79 92 3  
7. NL Adam Dunn, Reds .247 40 101 107 4  
8. AL Richie Sexson, Mariners .263 39 121 99 1  
9. NL Lance Berkman, Astros .293 24 82 76 4  
10. NL Carlos Delgado, Mets .301 33 115 81 0  
11. AL Jason Giambi, Yankees .271 32 87 74 0 Made a surprising comeback from a disastrous 2004,leading AL in on-base percentage (.440); short porch at Yankee Stadium makeshim a 40-homer threat.
12. NL Mike Jacobs, Marlins .310 11 23 19 0  
13. AL Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays .276 19 72 80 1  
14. NL Adam LaRoche, Braves .259 20 78 53 0  
15. NL Tony Clark, Diamondbacks .304 30 87 47 0  
16. AL Chris Shelton, Tigers .299 18 59 61 0  
17. NL Prince Fielder, Brewers .288 2 10 2 0  
18. AL Justin Morneau, Twins .239 22 79 62 0  
19. NL Nomar Garciaparra, Dodgers .283 9 30 28 0 A lifetime .320 hitter who moves over from shortstop,he hasn't played a full season since 2003 and has competition from Hee SeopChoi and Olmedo Saenz.
20. NL Nick Johnson, Nationals .289 15 74 66 3  
21. AL Dan Johnson, A's .275 15 58 54 0  
22. AL Ben Broussard, Indians .255 19 68 59 2  
23. NL Lance Niekro, Giants .252 12 46 32 0  
24. AL Casey Kotchman, Angels .278 7 22 16 1 Hit for a high average in the minors and is expectedto develop power sooner rather than later; he'll challenge for Rookie of theYear honors.
25. NL Ryan Klesko, Padres .248 18 58 61 3  
26. NL Sean Casey, Pirates .312 9 58 75 2  
27. NL Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks .200 2 8 8 0  
28. AL Kevin Millar, Orioles .272 9 50 57 0  
29. AL Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox .278 1 9 11 0  
30. AL Doug Mientkiewicz, Royals .240 11 29 36 0  


SPOTLIGHT

Chris Shelton

When you see aprospect bash 18 home runs and hit .299 in two thirds of a season--despitecalling cavernous Comerica Park home--the fantasy juices start flowing. YetShelton, 25, might still be had cheap because few figure that a Rule 5 pickupout of the Pittsburgh system can be that good, and he hadn't shown much powerbefore last year. In 365 at bats in Double A and Triple A dating to 2003, hehit a total of eight homers. But Shelton is worth a middle-round pick becausethe Tigers, who are tired of waiting for Carlos Peña to mature as a hitter, aregoing to give him every chance to succeed--and because Shelton quickly became afavorite of new manager Jim Leyland. A 25-homer, 95-RBI season is probablyShelton's ceiling, considering his big home park.

DEEP SLEEPERS

ADRIAN GONZALEZ,Padres The knock on the slick-fielding former No. 1 pick (2000) is that hedoesn't have enough power, but his line drive stroke is perfectly suited forSan Diego's gap-hitters' park.

VAL MAJEWSKI,Orioles The prized prospect missed '05 with a torn labrum after hitting .307with 15 homers and 14 steals in Double A the year before. A strong start inTriple A will get him to the majors.

ANDY PHILLIPS,Yankees As a fill-in for Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams (at DH), the powerhitter (47 home runs in Triple A since 2004) should match or exceed the retiredTino Martinez's 17 homers in '05.

PHOTOTOM DIPACE (SHELTON, PHILLIPS)BRAD MANGIN (BACKGROUNDS) PHOTOTOM DIPACE (SHELTON, PHILLIPS)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)