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.
Utley was one of my favorites during his prime. After all, it’s hard not to enjoy a guy that hit for average and power, stole bases and played great defense. Unfortunately, Utley hasn’t been at his prime for a few years now due to knee issues, and it’s clear that, at 34, he’s never going to come close to it again. He was reasonably effective with his counting stats while on the field last year, contributing 11 homers, 45 RBI and 11 steals in 83 games. His average tumbled for a fifth straight season to a career-low .256, though, and it’s obvious he’s not going to be an asset in that category again. Even if he plays in, say, 120 games (which is quite optimistic since he hasn’t reached that total in any of the last three seasons), Utley might approach 20 homers while chipping in with some steals. Uggla fell to 19 dingers in 2012, but I feel very confident in saying that it was an aberration. This is a guy that hit at least 31 homers in each of the previous five seasons, and last year’s drop came even though his flyball percentage was above his career average and his line drive percentage was a career-high. Beyond that, Uggla is, unlike Utley, the picture of health, having played at least 146 games every year of his career. I know what I’m getting with Uggla. With Utley, I’m just hoping he stays healthy, and even if he does, he’s a shell of his former self. – Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)
Chronic knee problems caused Utley to miss nearly the entire first half last season and figure to loom over the rest of his career, but he's saying all the right things about feeling good this spring and his production after returning last year was plenty impressive. Utley managed 11 homers, 45 RBIs, 48 runs, and 11 steals in 83 games, and while his .256 batting average was poor overall it looks a whole lot better compared to Uggla hitting .220 and .233 during the past two seasons. Utley's batting average may hurt your team. Uggla's batting average may kill your team. Uggla has more power potential, although he managed just 19 homers and a .384 slugging percentage last season, and Utley should top him in almost every other area. In fact, Utley has had a higher OPS than Uggla in 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006. And don't overlook Utley's value on the bases. Knee problems may limit his running, but he's one of the most efficient basestealers in MLB history and went 11-for-12 last year. Uggla hasn't stolen more than four bases since 2008. I'll take the guy who's still very good and might not stay healthy over the guy who simply might not be very good anymore. – Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman)