February 20th, 2014

Prime First Basemen (Cabrera vs. Davis)

This is one of the harder lists of this series. There are so many good first basemen in the game today, and there are some really good ones who I had to leave of the list. Players who just missed the cut include Adrian Gonzalez, Allen Craig, and Prince Fielder.

5. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
Freeman an RBI machine, and was Atlanta’s best hitter last season. They wouldn’t have made it to the postseason without him. Freeman is coming of the best season of his career in which he hit .319, drove in 109, and hit 23 homers. 
4. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds

Votto is an on-base machine with insane walk totals (135 last season), but has taken a lot of criticism for not swinging enough with runners in scoring position, when his team needs an rbi hit and not just a walk, which resulted in his relatively low RBI total of 73. Still, he remains to be one of the best first basemen in baseball due to his good defense at 1B and consistency at the plate. Last season, Votto hit .305 with 24 homers. 
3. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldschmidt matured into one of the best hitters in baseball last season, finishing second in the NL MVP voting and nearly leading his team to the postseason. Last season, he lead the NL in home runs with 36, and RBI’s with an amazing 125. He had a very good walk total of 99 and a solid average of .302. Goldschmidt is also solid defensively, as he won a gold glove at first base last season.
2. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles

Davis had a huge breakout season in 2013, leading all of baseball with a remarkable 53 homers and 138 runs batted in.  He is also one of the few power hitters who are able to hit for average, as he hit .286 last season. The only things keeping Davis from being #1 on this list are Miguel Cabrera, a very high strikeout total of 199, and bad defense. 
1. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers

Since Cabrera is moving back to first base for the 2014 season, that made the decision of who’s #1 on this list a lot easier. Cabrera won the AL triple crown and MVP in 2012, and followed that up with another amazing MVP season in 2013. The only thing that kept Cabrera from being the first player to win back-to-back triple crowns was injuries, as his hip, groin, and abdomen bothered him for the last month of the season. But Cabrera is reportedly completely healthy for spring training. In 2013, Cabrera hit .348 which lead the league, and was second to Davis in homers with 44 and RBI’s with 137. And at  30 years old, in the middle of his prime, Cabrera has hit 365 homers so far in his career. 

Braves Lock Simmons

The Atlanta Braves, a team who have spent a lot of money locking key players to extensions just signed Andrelton Simmons to a 7 Year Deal. This deal was just announced, but it already seems like a bust for the Braves. Signing a 247 hitter to a 7 year deal is too risky for me, but only time will tell.

Spring Training Schedule

Some Baseball fans are having some trouble understanding the schedule of Speing Training, so I’m going to to a little simplification. Pitchers and Catchers reported last week for MLB Teams, this is because generally pitchers need more work then position players. Position Players are generally reporting now ( Yesterday till Tommorow). However some teams have position players report earlier or later. All workouts are generally light in this time of Spring Training, but by Saturday the workouts will turn into. Scrimages, which will turn into games. The first official Spring Training game will be this upcoming Tuesday, between a Major League and a college team. The first “real” game is this Wednesday. Teams are divided into two leagues, the Cactus (Arizona) and the Grapefruit

 ( Cactus).   Generally teams that play in the West divisions are in the Cactus, while teams that play in eastern divison  are in the Grapefruit league. Teams that play in the central are usally split. Spring Training games generally run through March 26th, when teams go to the stadium that they play in for Opening Day. Some play exhibition games in Major League parks the preceding nights. The only exception to the rule is the Sydney Opening series, actual MLB Regular season games, to be played in Sydney, Australlia. The first MLB games to be played there. The series of two games will feature the D-Backs and the Dodgers. Pepper’s preseason lineup is better than anywhere else! Mondays we’re giving you Inside acess to the Spring Training with Pepper Preseason Podcasts! Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’re Unveiling the Best of the Best with our Prime lists! Saturdays it’s an edition of our Pepper Show! Then on Wendsday it’s the Pepper Archives!