Spin Doctors: David Wright vs. Evan Longoria

OK, you guys should know the drill by now: In Spin Doctors, two Yahoo! fantasy experts will debate the merits of two similarly ranked players. Today we're discussing David Wright and Evan Longoria, a pair of third basemen who are typically drafted three picks apart in Yahoo! leagues (ADPs 21.5 and 24.2). Let's play the feud...

Brad begins: Whether we’re discussing baseball market or overall fantasy worth, Wright is the indisputable Big Apple in this debate.

The 30-year-old is in the midst of his prime, cemented as Terry Collins’ three-hitter for the foreseeable future and is coming off a sensational top-5 season among third basemen. Though it appears his power has waned, evident in a sharp ISO decline since 2010, he remains one of the more efficient across-the-board scorers at the position. Blessed with a sharp eye and plus speed, he should come close to matching his .306-21-93-91-15 output from a season ago.

Most importantly, Wright is much more reliable. Since 2005, he’s failed to surpass 530 at-bats in a season only once, a giant leg up on the Ray.

Longoria is a human pinata. One whack to the body, and he’s slated for a crippling DL stint. In his first five years on the junior circuit, he’s missed a whopping 34.6 games per season. And therein lies the primary difference. Both should hit for a healthy average. Both should drive in at or near 100 runs. And Wright’s speed equalizes Longoria’s higher power ceiling. But the dependability factor gives Mr. Met the edge.

If you’re a skydiving, gator-wrestling, late-night chili-cheese burrito eating advocate, Longoria is your guy. However, if you’re someone who typically chooses to minimize risk, Wright is the appropriate pick.

Play it safe, gamers.

Behrens closes: Look, I've got nothing against David Wright. I've drafted him, I've ranked inside my top-25, I've slotted him fairly close to Evan Longoria. If you're all over Wright this season, fine. He isn't likely to emerge as a fantasy problem.

Just please don't try to tell me that he's somehow impervious to injury, or substantially safer than Longoria. Let's remember that Wright spent 67 days on the DL in 2011, sidelined by a stress fracture in his back. He hurts just like the rest of us. He's also a terrific fantasy asset. Again, I've got no big complaints about him.

The only issue I can identify with Wright is actually more of a team concern. New York's lineup sure seems like a big steaming mess, with Wright in the middle. Here's the official depth chart. Judge for yourself. There's really no way I can comfortably project a 100-run, 100-RBI campaign for Wright in 2013. I'll accept that he can give us 20-some homers with double-digit steals and an average in the .290-.305 range, but I'm having trouble imagining a beastly fantasy season. Last year's line seems doable, but that's as far as I'll go.

With Longoria, it's different. I don't think we've yet seen his best, even though he's been plenty productive over multiple seasons. Tampa Bay's lineup clearly isn't some murderer's row, but the table-setters aren't terrible. Longoria gets an edge over Wright in the power categories — he hit 17 homers in a half-season in 2012, plus 31 the year before — and the man is having an excellent spring (7-for-18). The hamstring issues are in the past.

I'll give Wright the advantage in steals, and I might be willing to concede average, too (though not by much). But I still prefer Longoria in three of the five standard cats. For me, he's the pick. Both guys should be off the board in Round 2 in a standard mixer, however.

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