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.
Mike Trout vs. Ryan Braun
As tribute to his remarkable 2012 campaign, Trout is the rare 21-year-old that most expect to regress. No one is actually expecting him to better last year's .326/.399/.564 line, even though he's stronger now, having added muscle in the offseason, and the competition is weaker, with baseball's worst team, the Astros, having joined the AL West. I have him slipping in four categories, though just barely in runs, and adding one RBI to his 2012 total of 83. That's a nod to the likelihood that he plays 150+ games this year after his late-April callup limited him to 139 last season. In my estimation, what's left is still enough to make him the top outfielder and overall player on the board. He probably will need to steal 40 bases to stay there, but as adept as he is on the basepaths, I don't see why he wouldn't. – Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)
Here it is, the big debate. Unless you are a fan of Miguel Cabrera, chances are your decision will come down to these two if you have the No. 1 pick in a fantasy draft this spring. Coming off one of the best seasons in recent memory, it's very difficult to pass up on Trout. The 21-year-old was a monster in all categories last season, batting .326 with 30 home runs, 83 RBI, 49 stolen bases and 129 runs scored. And that's despite spending nearly the entire first month of the season in the minors. But setting the bar so high as a rookie also raises many questions. It's hard to believe that he could be better, so what could regression look like? For one, I'm skeptical that he'll be able to show the same power numbers if he can't increase his modest fly ball rate. And remember, speed is easier to find late in drafts (or on the waiver wire) than power. It's this level of uncertainty which causes me to go with Braun, who offers a lengthy track record and has produced multiple seasons of elite fantasy production. This includes back-to-back seasons with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Perhaps Trout doesn't miss a beat in his sophomore season and largely replicates his ridiculous 2012 numbers, but we have a lot of evidence to suggest that Braun will leave you plenty satisfied if you prefer to err on the side of caution. - D.J. Short (@djshort)