Often times in the midst of your draft, you’ll find yourself deciding between a couple players at the same position. With Player Showdowns, we take two players who are closely ranked by Average Draft Position (ADP) and/or Rotoworld’s 2013 season projections and have writers take a side and debate who should be selected first. Whose side will you be on?
We’ll offer up one Showdown per position (catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base, outfield, starter and reliever) here, and you can get dozens more by purchasing the 2013 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
David Price vs. Stephen Strasburg
Let me start by saying I love Strasburg. But fantasy baseball is all about minimizing risk, and the way I see it, Price is a far safer proposition than Strasburg. Not that this is a unique opinion. But where many impatient owners will be taking Strasburg and his K/9 in the bottom half of the first round, I’ll be waiting on Price’s better-rounded arsenal 10-15 picks later. Going back to Opening Day 2010, Price has posted a 2.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.5 K/9 and 130 ERA+ over 644 innings. He turned in at least 200 frames and made minimum of 31 starts all three years. He’s as reliable as any pitcher in Major League Baseball, and just a shade less productive in five-cat fantasy than Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw. Strasburg’s strikeout ceiling is higher, but Price has the edge in each of ERA, WHIP and wins (sigh, I know). None of that is to mention Strasburg’s injury history. The allure of Strasburg is understandable, while his talent is undeniable. But slow and steady wins the race, and few have proven to be steadier than last year’s AL Cy Young award winner. – Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat)
Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Price and Strasburg are my top four fantasy aces this year and I would feel confident taking any one of them in the first or second round of a standard snake draft. But I’d probably select Strasburg over Price if those were the two remaining options and I felt like grabbing a big-time starting pitcher. They’re both capable of posting ERAs well under 3.00 and WHIPs under 1.15, but Strasburg probably has better raw stuff and it shows in his strikeout totals. Price pitched 211 innings last season for the Rays and fanned 205 batters. Strasburg, in his return from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, went 159 1/3 innings and fanned 197 batters. Price’s K/9 was 8.7 in 2012 and his career K/9 is 8.3. Strasburg’s K/9 was 11.1 in 2012 and his career K/9 is 11.2. Had Strasburg reached 210 innings in 2012, he could have eclipsed the 260-strikeout plateau. Strasburg will get 200 innings this summer if he stays healthy. And I expect it to be one of the finest seasons from a starting pitcher in recent major league history. – Drew Silva (@drewsilv)