Alas, the Reds-dissing continues as the comparison of the players in the NLC moves on to first base. Alack, this time it's much more justified:
This is an exciting group of players to say the least. Itâ€™s scary to think that the power numbers could be conservative guesses due to changes in 2007 that ZiPS might not account for. A healthy Derrek Lee will get closer to 550 AB (same with Berkman), and Pujols should approach 600. I wouldnâ€™t consider any of them to be particularly prone to injury. Adam LaRoche wonâ€™t be platooning this year, so barring a stint on the DL, heâ€™ll get well over his estimated 445 AB. That also might mean his batting average will take a hit, as heâ€™ll face more left-handed pitching. Scott Hatteberg might lose some late season playing time to Joey Votto, so Iâ€™m not certain heâ€™ll get 460 AB. Prince Fielderâ€™s projections look about right to me. Heâ€™ll mash, just like his daddy.
STL=10 | HOU=9 | CHC=9 | MIL=7 | PIT=7 | CIN=4
Though I quibble with Conine's contribution being left out of the comparison, adding him in would hardly make first base a position to get excited about for the Reds compared to the other teams in the division.
I mean, we're talking about a position that, on other teams, has Albert Pujols and Derrek Lee. And we're also talking about the Reds, a team that hasn't depended on their first baseman for power since before Sean Casey.
But the Reds are a team that can't seem to turn around without someone hitting a home run, so I don't see the relative lack of production from first base as particularly problematic. I mean, that's what we have our left fielder, center fielder, third baseman, catcher, pinch hitter, and Bronson Arroyo for.
As for Joey Votto, isn't he still in AA Chattanooga? Given the organizational comfort with Hatteberg, I doubt we'll be seeing Votto this year before September. But come 2008, watch out, man: with Votto at age 24, Lee at 33, and Pujols at “29” the Reds will moving up in this position.