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Spin Doctors: Chris Davis vs. Prince Fielder

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Crash into me (USAT)

Fantasy baseball is a game of opinions and disagreements. Okay, sometimes it's a game of arguments, too. That's what we try to capture for you in the Spin Doctors series; two Yahoo scribes who can't see eye to eye on numbers and potential.

Chris Davis and Prince Fielder are blue-chip sluggers in 2014, Top 20 players on any reasonable board. But which one should you target first? Are they legitimate first-sound selections? Andy Behrens and Scott Pianowski are here to play the feud.

Happy fake baseball, gamers. Yahoo Fantasy opens for business this week. You belong with us.

Andy opens in Baltimore: Last season, Chris Davis out-homered Prince Fielder by 28. Davis also finished with 32 more RBIs than Prince, he scored 21 more runs, and his batting average was seven points higher.

Are we done here? We're done, aren't we?

What else needs to be said? Prince played all 162 last year, so it's not as if his counting stats didn't reflect his talent as a hitter. Davis and Fielder occupy different tiers on my board. The difference between these two players is substantial.

I'll concede that A) Fielder has relocated to a better hitting environment in 2014, and B) Davis is a clear candidate to regress. But again, the difference between these players was massive last year. If Davis' power production is reduced by a third this season, he'll still hit 36 bombs — that's 11 more than Fielder gave us in 2013.

But for the record, I don't think we'll see such a significant dip from Davis. He was a mauler in the high minors, a beastly power hitter, and he's finally figured it out at the big league level. His two-year MLB homer total is 86; Prince's is 55.

You're drafting these guys for power, and Davis simply offers more. Don't overthink it. Buy the Bird.

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Fresh Prince of Arlington (USAT)

Pianow closes in Texas: Sure, Davis crushed Fielder - Davis crushed a lot of people - in 2013. No getting around that. But it's just one year. Look back to 2012, when Josh Hamilton, R.A. Dickey and Chase Headley were Top 12 players. A lot can change in a new season.

Davis's power lasted the entire season, but let's acknowledge one thing: he wasn't the same overlord in the second half. His post-ASB slash came down to .245/.339/.515 (with 85 strikeouts) - useful, but a far cry from the .315/.392/.717 behemoth he was in the opening half. He batted .211 in July, .216 in September. Davis whiffed 199 times for the year. His .266 career average is far more realistic than the .286 mark we saw last summer. Heck, .246 is probably more realistic than .286. There's batting average risk here.

Fielder fell short of any rational expectations last year (a messy marriage split played into it), but a .279-82-25-106 line plays in any format. You get a terrific floor with a Fielder pick. He's played 157 games or more for eight straight years, and he's missed just one game over the past five. Perhaps Fielder will become a health mess in his mid-to-late 30s, but that hasn't been a problem yet. He turns 30 in May.

Prince's offensive game was essentially neutral in Comerica Park, but now he's in Arlington - where left-handed power has a field day (ask Hamilton, he remembers). Big win there. The Detroit lineup wasn't bad, but Texas has a deeper and more threatening group, 1 to 9. Fielder's changing cities, parks and teams at the right time. I'll be shocked if he doesn't improve the line was saw last year.

Fielder's 162-game career average checks in as such: .286-90-35-107. Nothing unreasonable about setting that as his 2014 projection, and I could see him surpassing it in the juicy new environment. Early fantasy picks are more about floor than upside to me, though Fielder grades well in both of those areas. Go with the established slugger, gamers. See the big picture.

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