The 2012 AL Central Position Analysis - First Base

Kyle Rivas

A review of the position in 2012 down to the A ball level for all of the AL Central franchises.

Next, we move onto the first base sack. As has been detailed on this site numerous times, Kotchman had a horrible, horrible season. But, even if we regress to the mean in 2013, this position is still a black hole within the division as Fielder and Konerko are very good. Morneau had a slightly down year, but was still productive. And Hosmer, while his numbers are closer to Kotchman, he is still only 23 in 2013 so there is a lot of room for growth. Also noted here are quite a few of the DHs as I will not be delving into that position individually in this series.

Hafner was ok in his limited time. Dunn was fantastic considering he has a low average. Butler was also excellent. It will be curious to see how quickly Victor Martinez recovers after a whole season off. LaPorta's numbers look fairly decent, but those are his AAA numbers listed.

The only team with a black hole this offseason at first base was Cleveland. Hopefully Reynolds will be decent enough, but I fear his production will still land the Indians fifth in the division, even if he OPS+'s around 110 or so.

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Cleveland

Casey Kotchman

MLB

FA

29

500

12

55

280

333

612

Carlos Santana

MLB

Signed thru 2016, 2017 team option

26

609

18

76

365

420

785

Travis Hafner

MLB

FA

35

263

12

34

346

438

784

Matt LaPorta

MLB:AAA

Pre-Arb-3

27

434

19

62

350

472

822

Jose Lopez

MLB

FA

28

224

4

28

272

366

639

Russ Canzler

MLB:AAA

Pre-Arb-3/NYY

26

539

22

79

328

487

815

Chicago

Paul Konerko

MLB

2013

36

598

26

75

371

486

857

Adam Dunn

MLB

2014

32

649

41

96

333

468

800

Detroit

Prince Fielder

MLB

2020

28

690

30

108

412

528

940

Victor Martinez

injured

2014

Kansas City

Eric Hosmer

MLB

Pre-Arb-2

22

598

14

60

304

359

663

Billy Butler

MLB

2014, 2015 team option

26

679

29

107

373

510

882

Minnesota

Justin Morneau

MLB

2013

31

570

19

77

333

440

773

Chris Parmalee

MLB:AAA

Pre-Arb-1

24

282

17

49

457

645

1102

Joe Mauer

MLB

2018

29

641

10

85

416

446

861

Onto the minor league assessments ...

Cleveland

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Beau Mills

AAA

CIN

25

138

7

21

239

394

633

Lars Anderson

AAA

AZ

24

69

0

7

319

286

605

Jared Goedert

AAA:AA

PIT

27

504

19

77

373

502

875

Gregorio Petit

AAA

FA

27

422

10

45

320

403

723

Patric Tolentino

AAA:AA

2011 aFA

22

72

2

7

250

308

558

Chun-Hsiu Chen

AA

2008 aFA

23

459

5

43

394

426

820

Adam Abraham

AA

2008-13

25

434

13

54

343

441

783

Jesus Aguilar

AA:A+

2008 aFA

22

514

15

71

372

461

833

Justin Toole

AAA:AA:A+

2009 aFA

25

339

1

21

272

284

556

Jeremie Tice

AA:A+

2008-6

25

280

13

58

357

528

886

Tyler Cannon

A+

2010-12

24

320

1

27

331

358

689

Jerrud Sabourin

A+

2009-18

23

144

2

16

187

215

402

Charlie Valerio

A:A-

2010 aFA

21

236

5

35

331

394

725

The Tribe AAA roster in 2013 is extremely crowded. Goedert has moved onto Pittsburgh. Mills has been a major disappointment. Even with Anderson departing, the Tribe now has McGuiness, McDade and Gomes under contract. Even though Chen looks ready for AAA, without some reduction in the logjam, I see him sticking at AA this year. Aguilar is also looks like a promising prospect and will likely reside in A+ again. Tice's numbers look good, but he is way too old for that level.

Chicago

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Dan Johnson

MLB:AAA

FA

32

589

28

85

388

492

880

Jim Gallagher

AAA:AA

2007-7

26

363

2

32

312

316

628

Hector Gimenez

MLB:AAA

2012 mFA

29

418

14

57

324

440

764

Seth Loman

AAA:AA

2009 mFA

26

486

16

58

364

453

817

Andy Wilkins

AA

2010-5

23

502

17

69

335

425

760

Dan Black

A+

2009-14

24

572

17

88

392

483

875

Cyle Hankerd

A+:A

2012 mFA

27

350

20

65

426

657

1082

Leighton Pangilinan

A

2009-40

21

497

8

56

299

342

641

Grant Buckner

A

2011-26

24

474

6

59

330

348

678

Martin Medina

A

2011-11

22

283

3

25

321

336

657

Nothing too exciting in the upper minors here. Johnson and Gimenez are both journeyman. Black has good numbers, but is a tad old for A+. Hankerd was also resigned, but he is way too old for A+. If I had to place bets, Wilkins looks to be the best prospect here. If he continues in AAA this year, he could take over for Konerko in 2014, but he still must improve more.

Detroit

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Brad Eldred

MLB:AAA

FA

31

256

24

65

374

695

1069

Ryan Strieby

AAA

AZ

26

376

13

52

279

374

654

Danny Dorn

AAA

2012 mFA

27

194

7

25

376

485

861

John Lindsay

AAA

2013 mFA

35

271

15

47

365

536

902

Rawley Bishop

AAA:AA

2009-19

26

491

8

52

319

357

676

Jordan Lennerton

AA

2008-33

26

582

21

82

368

469

836

James Robbins

A+

2009-30

21

496

11

62

295

382

677

Lance Durham

A+:A

2012 mFA

24

222

5

25

369

411

780

Aaron Westlake

A

2011-3

23

518

9

69

320

391

711

Dean Green

A

2011-11

23

446

12

79

375

474

850

Pat Leyland

A

2010-8

20

271

2

24

250

300

550

Jeff Holm

A+:A

2011-12

23

160

1

11

367

331

698

Eldred is another classic AAAA guy, but he was not retained. Strieby was dealt to the Diamondbacks. Lindsay is ancient for AAA, but was resigned for 2013. But with Fielder signed through 2020, any development of a prospect here is most likely as trade bait. Green would likely be the best looking prospect here. And somehow I doubt the nepotistic Leyland will progress much further.

Kansas City

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Clint Robinson

AAA

PIT

27

570

13

67

393

452

845

Max Ramirez

AAA

2011 mFA

27

445

17

77

374

473

847

Mitch Maier

MLB:AAA

FA/BOS

30

156

4

17

385

424

809

Jamie Romak

AAA

2012 mFA

26

37

0

2

216

206

422

Mario Lisson

AA

2002 aFA

28

435

11

52

338

410

748

John Whittleman

AA

2011 mFA

25

376

15

44

359

433

792

Matt Fields

A+

2012 mFA

26

289

17

41

367

538

904

Brian Fletcher

AA:A+

2010 aFA

23

552

15

59

335

422

757

Juan Graterol

A+

2006 aFA

23

211

2

18

338

393

731

Jake Kuebler

A+

2008-17

22

118

2

10

222

224

447

Murray Watts

A+:A

2010-28

24

333

13

43

301

418

720

Dean Espy

A

2011-15

22

311

3

27

300

338

638

Henry Moreno

A:Rk

2008 aFA

23

210

4

22

286

375

661

Robinson had a good year last year, but was designated for assignment and subsequently dealt to the Pirates. It is unclear if LGFT was retained, but he is likely a backup/mentor at this point. Maier was signed by Boston. Ian Gac (AA) was signed this offseason, but is not really a prospect at this point. It will be curious to see if Lisson or Whittleman gets more playing time in AAA. Nothing jumps out at me in the lower levels. But with a young Hosmer, this is not a critical position of need unless Hosmer doesn't pan out.

Minnesota

Level

Status

Age

PA

HR

RBI

OBP

SLG

OPS

Sean Burroughs

MLB:AAA

FA

31

240

1

18

326

348

675

Aaron Bates

AAA

STL

28

103

0

10

379

286

664

Matt Rizzoti

AAA:AA

2012 mFA

26

197

2

17

325

327

652

Chris Colabello

AA

2012 mFA

28

562

19

98

358

478

836

Michael Gonzalez

A+

2008-9

24

266

6

27

340

378

717

Steven Liddle

A+:A

2009-15

24

268

8

35

347

419

766

Andy Leer

A+

2010 aFA

24

322

3

27

297

253

549

Lance Ray

A+

2010-8

22

426

13

66

327

403

730

Adam Bryant

A

2011-9

23

318

1

32

279

301

580

Kennys Vargas

A

2009 aFA

21

186

11

36

419

610

1030

Rory Rhodes

A:Rk

2009 aFA

20

291

8

39

309

388

697

Drew Leachman

A

2011-37

23

468

5

46

349

359

708

Burroughs is another classic AAAA player, but he didn't do so well last year. Colabello had a great year last year but will be 29 in 2013. Jeff Clement was signed and most likely will be in AAA this year. Reynaldo Rodriguez was another recent signing. Lance Ray looks to be the highest ranked prospect and I suspect he'll open in AA. Vargas had great numbers but limited playing time. There don't seem to be any other high draft picks here.

All in all, this position is as stable as the catchers were. With the Tribe having the one major opening. Hopefully Reynolds can be decent, but he isn't a long term solution and there does not seem to be one in the minors either. Dean Green might be the best ranking prospect but is still too far away to be counted on. I don't see much help for many of the franchises here. Once Konerko and Morneau fade away, I suspect the infusion of talent will have to come from elsewhere. And if Hosmer doesn't pan out, the Royals are in trouble, unless they feel Butler can man first base.

This series attempts to review how each position fared within the AL Central last year and what holds for the future. The first chart reviews how the position fared in the majors between the five teams. The subsequent charts track each position through each team's farm system. Status is not always correct as some of the info was culled a few weeks ago. For players not on the 40-man roster, I have taken my best guess as when/how they were acquired. Not every player who played the position in the minors has been identified as again, I have tried to identify core players at the position only. Some identified as minor league free agents, could have been trade acquisitions. I also only reviewed down to the A level as players at A- or in the rookie leagues are still quite volatile.

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