Often times in the middle 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 2012 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 2012 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It's an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
Buster Posey vs. Carlos Santana
Although Buster Posey and Carlos Santana followed different paths to the big leagues, they did the same thing once they got there: live up to the hype. Linked by serious lower-body injuries and their status as consensus top-10 prospects heading into the 2010 season, each is now firmly established as a top-five fantasy option behind the plate. They’ve taken different avenues to get there, as well. Where Posey specializes in putting the ball in play, Santana excels at depositing it over the fence. Both approaches have yielded stellar early-career OBPs (.353 for Posey, .362 for Santana), but have also revealed holes in their games. For Santana, it’s a tendency to strike out too much. For Posey, it’s an over-reliance on singles. The deficiencies have been less glaring for Posey, however. Even if he isn’t homering every three or four games, he’ll still help you out everywhere else, and won’t hurt you anywhere. The same isn't yet true for Santana (.244 career average), whose “bomb or BOB” approach translates better to “real” baseball, where simply reaching base is of far greater concern than it is in fantasy. Posey has been the better all-around hitter to this point in their respective careers, and by a fairly significant margin. Even coming off serious injury, it’s more likely than not he’ll be fantasy’s top catcher in 2012. That’s not a knock on Santana, but it’s hard to be better than the best. – Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat)
Could Buster Posey wind up as the No. 1 fantasy catcher when it's all said and done this season? Perhaps. But I'd rather take my chances with the guy who isn't coming back from a fractured leg and surgically-repaired ankle. While I'll concede that Carlos Santana's .239 batting average from last season was a bit of a disappointment, he still managed to finish second among fantasy catchers in home runs (27), third in RBI (79), first in walks (97), first in runs scored (84) and sixth in OPS (.808). His combination of power and patience already places him among the elite options at the catcher position, so just imagine what his production could look like if he sees an improvement from his .264 batting average on balls in play from last season. Pretty scary, that's what. The Indians signed Casey Kotchman in early-February, but Santana should still see some time between first base and DH in order to keep his potent bat in the lineup and lessen his workload behind the plate. There are still way too many questions about Posey's recovery to go with anyone besides Santana as the No. 1 option at catcher in mixed league drafts. – D.J. Short (@djshort)