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Highlighting top 1B prospects for '11

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First base is typically the deepest position in Fantasy, and it starts at the minor-league level. If you're looking for the next great hitter to stash in a long-term keeper league or snag with a late-round pick, you have a pretty good chance of finding one here.

This list features the top 10 first base prospects for Draft Day, the ones most likely to follow in the footsteps of Gaby Sanchez and Ike Davis and emerge as relevant Fantasy options -- or in some cases, even more.

Note: This list has been adjusted for Fantasy purposes. Long-term potential is one of several factors that influence the order and is arguably less important than the player's expected role in 2011. Not every one of these players profiles as a superstar, but they're the names most worth knowing in Fantasy right now.

1. Freddie Freeman, 21, Braves
Where played in 2010: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .319 BA, 18 HRs, 87 RBI, .898 OPS
Major-league stats: .167 BA (24 at-bats), 1 HR

Freddie Freeman could make a significant second-half impact in Atlanta. (Getty Images)  
Freddie Freeman could make a significant second-half impact in Atlanta. (Getty Images)  
Freeman has played Robin to Jason Heyward's Batman for most of his time in the Braves system, but he'll take center stage as the team's top prospect now that Heyward is a full-fledged major-leaguer. As if preparing for the role, Freeman put up his best numbers yet at Triple-A Gwinnett last season, rebounding from a slow start to emerge as the middle-of-the-order slugger scouts projected him to be. He didn't show much in a September call-up, partially because he was limited to pinch-hitting duty, but the Braves think enough of his potential to all but hand him the starting first base job entering 2011. His 21 years of age might be the reason he gets overlooked outside of NL-only leagues, but given his natural hitting ability, he could make an impact in mixed leagues before season's end.

2. Eric Hosmer, 21, Royals
Where played in 2010: Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .338 BA, 20 HRs, 86 RBI, .977 OPS

What a difference a year makes. Hosmer's stock plummeted when he put together a .695 OPS in his first full professional season in 2009, but he was a different player last year, showing exactly why the Royals made him the third overall pick in 2008. He didn't flinch when they promoted him to Double-A midway through the season, actually improving his power numbers with 13 homers and a .615 slugging percentage in 195 at-bats. With 59 walks and only 66 strikeouts in 520 at-bats, he looks like a natural -- one of those players who could become a Fantasy stud the moment he steps foot in the big leagues. A midseason arrival would be something of a surprise, but the Royals might have trouble holding him back. He's a must-have in long-term keeper leagues and deserves a look in AL-only leagues as well.

3. Brandon Belt, 22, Giants
Where played in 2010: Class A, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .352 BA, 23 HR, 112 RBI, 22 SB, 1.075 OPS

The Giants couldn't keep a leash on Belt in 2010. A nobody entering the season, the former fifth-round pick put up arguably the best numbers of anybody in the minors. And while most people dismissed him as a product of the California League at first, his .337 batting average and 1.036 OPS at Double-A forced them to take notice. Even his .229 batting average at Triple-A wasn't so bad considering he had a .393 on-base percentage and a .956 OPS. The jury remains out on Belt since his breakthrough was so unexpected, but if the numbers say anything, he'll soon have a place in the middle of the Giants lineup. He's unlikely to reach the majors before midseason, and a re-signing of Aubrey Huff might hold him back until September. Still, don't be surprised to see his name called late in NL-only drafts.

4. Yonder Alonso, 23, Reds
Where played in 2010: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .290 BA, 15 HRs, 69 RBI, .820 OPS
Major-league stats: .207 BA (29 at-bats), 10 Ks, 0 BBs

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Alonso, the seventh overall pick in 2008, once profiled as an ideal No. 3 hitter, showing the ability to hit for average and power with good strike-zone judgment -- and he could still live up to that billing. But his numbers in the high minors have been a little underwhelming, causing him to lose some of his luster. He certainly looked overmatched in a brief call-up late in 2009, showing none of that strike-zone judgment that had the scouts so high on him in the first place. With Joey Votto entrenched at first base for the Reds, Alonso got some time in the outfield last season, and that move will have to be a permanent one if he hopes to break through with the Reds. A trade would speed up his timetable and make him potentially a viable option even in mixed leagues.

5. Mark Trumbo, 25, Angels
Where played in 2010: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .301 BA, 36 HRs, 122 RBI, .945 OPS
Major-league stats: .067 BA (15 at-bats), 0 HRs, 8 Ks

Trumbo is one of those prospects whose numbers make him look better than he probably is. Yeah, he hit 36 homers last year, but he did it at Triple-A Salt Lake, where Brandon Wood hit 31 homers, Sean Rodriguez hit 29 numbers and Jeff Mathis hit 21 homers. Like each of those players, Trumbo is a free-swinger type who could crumble against major-league pitching. That doesn't mean we should ignore him, of course. Power is power. But he probably isn't the best choice in long-term keeper leagues. He's mostly on this list because the Angels are hungry for offense and have some potential openings in their outfield, where Trumbo played 24 games between the majors and the minors last year. If he wins a platoon role, he could provide cheap power numbers in AL-only leagues.

6. Lars Anderson, 23, Red Sox
Where played in 2010: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .274 BA, 15 HRs, 69 RBI, .810 OPS
Major-league stats: .200 BA (35 at-bats), 8 Ks, 7 BBs

Anderson continues to tumble in the rankings after once looking like a future OPS stud. As his walks have gone down, his strikeouts have gone up, to the point he now profiles as something like another Adam LaRoche. In fact, you could argue Anthony Rizzo has replaced him as the team's first baseman of the future, but for Fantasy purposes, the edge goes to Anderson because he's further up the organizational ladder and has already made his major-league debut. The good news is he showed some signs of regaining his long-lost batting eye during his stint in the majors, as brief as it was. He deserves a look in AL-only leagues because the potential exists for him to start if Adrian Beltre leaves via free agency and the Red Sox don't bother to acquire anyone else (like that'd actually happen).

7. Jonathan Singleton, 19, Phillies
Where played in 2010: Class A
Minor-league stats: .290 BA, 14 HRs, .393 OBP, .872 OPS

Singleton is on this list for one reason and one reason alone: upside. He's not going to reach the majors anytime soon, but after his impressive showing at Class A Lakewood, Baseball America named him the top prospect in the South Atlantic League last season. Singleton, a former eighth-round pick, has a good batting eye and emerging power, but with Ryan Howard locked up long-term at the major-league level, the 19-year-old's future may be in left field, where the Phillies plan to move him in 2011. Singleton is worth owning in long-term keeper leagues because of his potential, but owners in seasonal formats need only remember his name for now.

8. Chris Marrero, 22, Nationals
Where played in 2010: Double-A
Minor-league stats: .294 BA, 18 HRs, 82 RBI, .800 OPS

Marrero was once considered an elite prospect, ranking 27th according to Baseball America in 2008, but a gruesome leg injury later that year set him back a bit. He's coming off back-to-back solid seasons in the minors, though, and could enter into the Nationals' regular-season plans if Adam Dunn leaves via free agency. Marrero may lack the plate discipline to make an immediate impact in Fantasy, but his power is legit. He'll be someone worth watching in NL-only leagues this spring.

9. David Cooper, 24, Blue Jays
Where played in 2010: Double-A
Minor-league stats: .257 BA, 20 HRs, 78 RBI, .769 OPS

Cooper entered last season as the expected replacement for pending free agent Lyle Overbay, which is perhaps the reason why the Blue Jays were willing to deal Brett Wallace to the Astros. But the team's first-round pick in 2008 appears to have stalled at Double-A New Hampshire. He spent his second full season there last year, and though he doubled his home run total from 10 to 20, he actually declined in batting average (.257) and on-base percentage (.327). He profiles as more of a doubles hitter than a pure slugger, which is already a strike against him at a position like first base, and he'll have to improve his consistency if he ever hopes to hold down a major-league job. Still, the Blue Jays' lack of options at the position gives him some low-end AL-only appeal.

10. Paul Goldschmidt, 23, Diamondbacks
Where played in 2010: Class A
Minor-league stats: .314 BA, 35 HRs, 108 RBI, .990 OPS

Goldschmidt fits somewhere between the Brandon Belt class of "where the heck did that come from?" and the Mark Trumbo class of "probably too good to be true." An eighth-round pick in 2009, Goldschmidt has exceeded all expectations so far. His minor-league numbers in two seasons -- .321 batting average, 53 homers, 1.009 OPS -- read like the back of a Manny Ramirez baseball card, but you should keep in mind the Pioneer and California Leagues are two of the most hitter-friendly leagues in the minors. His free-swinging ways (161 strikeouts in 525 at-bats) could catch up to him as he moves up the ladder, but his power and 23 years of age give him a chance of reaching the majors sometime this season. If you want a sleeper for homers in deeper NL-only leagues, you have a candidate here.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Prospects in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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