Few first basemen in fantasy baseball made their owners happier than Paul Konerko during the first half of 2012. After going in the fourth round of most drafts, the Chicago White Sox first baseman hit an insane .382 in the first two months of the season before cooling off in June. He still managed to head into the all-star break with a .329 average, though, and he coupled that with an on-base-percentage higher than .400, a .528 slugging percentage, 14 home runs and 42 RBI. For Konerko, all was going well in the first half of 2012.
Until everything fell apart, that is.
In 67 games after the 2012 all-star break, Konerko showed his age. He hit .263 with 12 home runs and only 33 RBI, making his season totals rather disappointing compared to what they could have been. In the end, the White Sox first baseman managed a sub-.300 average last season with 26 home runs and 75 RBI, finally succumbing to the lengthy MLB season.
So what does that mean for 2013? Is Konerko still a top first base option?
He’ll never be up there with Joey Votto and Albert Pujols, and guys like Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez and nearly half a dozen others are better bets as well, but Konerko does have a rather tantalizing stat that fantasy owners should know. The 6’2” 220 pound brute has hit at least .298, launched at least 26 home runs, and knocked in at least 75 RBI in each of the last three seasons.
No other first baseman can say that.
At 37-years-old, it’s safe to say that age has caught up to Konerko, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a decent fantasy option in 2013. 139th overall on some draft boards, he’s more than a great deal in 2013 if he can find some youth here and there, and even if he can’t he’s a solid backup. Who knows, he could surge out of the gates just like last year.
So if you pass up on the big guns in 2013’s thin first base position, remember Konerko come the 13th or 14th round. He’s been arguably the most consistent at his position the last few years, and that might just make him fantasy gold.
2013 Projection: 140 GP, .285 average, 20 HR, 78 RBI, 75 RS