1B preview is up first. Just so you know, this is not a list of the top seven guys at the position but rather seven guys I felt like writing about. Look for the 2B preview on Friday....
1. Albert Pujols 1B Cardinals - What can I tell you about the St. Louis 1B that you don't already know. He is flat out the best offensive 1B in baseball - the guy has never scored less than 99 runs, hit less than 32 HR, drove in less than 103 RBI, and hit lower than .314 in a season. Unlike last year where there was some speculation that he would be shutdown mid season because of his elbow, Pujols will be completely healthy come opening day after having off season surgery to resolve the issue. If you want to nitpick, the only knock on El Hombre is the lack of support surrounding him in the lineup, but people have been saying that for years and it's clearly never impacted his numbers.
2. Ryan Howard 1B Philies - The former MVP has averaged over 50 HRs the past three seasons, and there is no reason to believe he won't continue that trend in 2009. He has also led the majors in RBI two out of the past three seasons, and in 2007 when he finished 4th, he had 136 - not too shabby at all. Howard's draft position varies somewhat depending on your draft strategy and league type. In roto leagues, I personally would not take him until the latter half of the 1st round/early 2nd round as you don't want to target someone who is going to literally kill you in a category (avg). In H2H leagues though, he could be considered a top 5 pick.
3. Miguel Cabrera 1B Tigers - After getting off to a horrible start in his first season with Detorit, Big Mig was still able to put up a line of 85 R, 37 HR, 127 RBI, and a .292 average thanks to a monster 2nd half. Seems like the four time all star has been around forever, but he's actually only 25, and as sick as it is, his best years are surely ahead of him. He put up career highs in HR and RBI last season, and it would not be surprising to see these totals increase again in 2009. Cabrera is without a doubt a first round pick this season - his ADP on Mockdraftcentral.com is 7.3, which seems about right, but if hes 3B eligible in your league, I could see reaching for him as high as fourth or fifth overall.
4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B Padres - Since 2006, his totals in runs, HRs, and RBIs have gone up every year, and while I don't know if we'll see that happen again this season, I would surely take last years 103 R, 36 HR, 119 RBI, and .279 average. Gonzalez usually gets taken in the late 3rd/early 4th rounds of drafts - since January 31st on MDC, he has been taken as high as 21 and as late as 50. It really depends on your personal preference with Gonzo, but he has been raking in the WBC, and at the age of 27, is in the prime of his career.
5. Prince Fielder 1B Brewers - Similar to Miguel Cabrera, Fielder got off to a horrendous start in 2008, hitting only four HRs in each of the first two months of the season. I'm not really sure what to expect out of Fielder this year - if you take a look at his stats over the past three seasons, his 2006 and 2008 seasons look a lot alike, where his 50-HR 2007 clearly stands out and at this point should be considered somewhat of a fluke. Fielder is still young (he turns 25 in May) so he still has plenty of room for improvement, but his K rate was slightly up and his BB rate slightly down - two signs that don't point to a turnaround in production. I would project Fielder for similar numbers to last season, with a few more HRs and RBI.
6. Joey Votto 1B Reds - The 25 year old Votto might be a couple of years away from showing his true potential, but should still put up solid fantasy stats in 2009. He put up a line of 69 R, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 7 SB, and a .297 average last season , and considering that he started off sharing time at 1B with Scott Hatteberg and got most of his AB hitting 7th, that line is fairly impressive. He will most likely be hitting 3rd for Cinci this year behind Willy Taveras and Jay Bruce. Taveras had an OBP of .308 last season, and Bruce was not much better at .314, so a lot of Votto's value depends on how the speedy Willy T and potential-oozing Bruce produce in front of him.
7. Derek Lee 1B Cubs - There is not a whole lot of upside that comes with drafting Lee in 2009, as he seems to be way past his prime. After crushing 46 HRs in 2005, Lee hit 22 HRs in 2007 and 20 in 2008, so you should look for that 20 or so HR trend to continue this season, a total that isn't very sexy when compared with the other studly 1B. While he may be lacking potential for a monster season, Lee is extremely safe and reliable - in addition to those 20 or so HRs, you can definitely expect 85-90 Runs and 85-90 RBI, in addition to an average around .30o. Lee's average draft position on MDC is 73rd overall, and I can't really see taking him before then.