Split Decisions: First Basemen
As part of our
19th annual Top 100 Prospects list, we present Split Decisions, where
our prospect experts explain why they favored certain players over
others. Editors in chief Will Lingo and John Manuel, executive editor
Jim Callis and national writer Chris Kline put together the Top 100 and
defend their thinking. Here's a look at some first base prospects: Lars Anderson, Daric Barton and Joey Votto.
To me, this is really Anderson vs. Votto, because I don't believe in Barton's power and see him as a DH. Votto has proven more and is ready to hit in the big leagues. But give me Anderson because he's more advanced than Votto was at the same age and he does things easier. He's poised for a huge breakout season this year.
Anderson's going to be pretty good, but I also think a lot of people look at Barton and bag on him because of the body and lack of athleticism; not to mention the lack of power. I think he's going to have more juice in the big leagues than anyone expects and his defense around the bag has gotten better. Votto is Sean Casey, the sequel.
Anderson has accomplished the least but I think by far has the highest ceiling of the group, and is an easy choice for me as the most desirable. Votto isn't going to be a star but is a safe bet to get the most of his ability, while I just don't like Barton as much as the other two because I think he's going to end up as a DH without much power.
I'm shocked to be Daric Barton's defender, but his strong '07 finish with eight September homers between the PCL playoffs and big leagues made me a believer again. Anderson has the highest upside and should put up ridiculous numbers at high Class A Lancaster this summer. Despite his defensive indifference, Barton's a better bet to be an impact bat than Votto, whose power numbers took a step back in Triple-A.