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.
Dustin Pedroia vs. Ian Kinsler
Pedroia’s 2010 campaign was sabotaged by a foot injury, but he bounced back in a big way in 2011. The former American League MVP set new career highs in home runs, RBI and stolen bases, and he topped 100 runs scored for the third time in the last four years. Pedroia also played in a career-high 159 games, topping 150 games played for the third time since 2008. And that’s where we get to the reason why I’m choosing Pedroia over Ian Kinsler. While I love Kinsler’s skill set as much as anyone, the guy has proven to be quite fragile in the career, as 2011 was the first time that he didn’t make at least one trip to the disabled list. I realize Pedroia was limited to just 75 games in 2010, but I view that as a fluke, as he’s been extremely durable otherwise, averaging 152.3 games played in his other full seasons. Kinsler, on the other hand, has averaged just 128.8 games played during his six full campaigns. Will he outperform Pedroia if he stays healthy in 2012? Probably. But I’m not betting on it. – Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)
Chances are you'll find Pedroia and Kinsler flip-flopped depending upon which publication you read. And for good reason, as any fantasy owner should be thrilled to have either one of them on their team. Pedroia certainly presents an interesting case after batting .307 last season while establishing new career-highs with 21 homers and 26 stolen bases, but Kinsler gets the edge with me because of his consistent advantage in the power and speed departments. The 29-year-old has reached the 30-30 club in two out of the last three seasons and has managed at least 18 homers and 23 stolen bases in four out of the last five. Kinsler has never been a high BABIP guy (.282 career BABIP), despite his speed, but he's making contact more often than ever before and his .243 BABIP from last year shows some room for growth. And while Pedroia may get more RBI opportunities in the middle of Boston's lineup, Kinsler's solid plate discipline should put him in position to score plenty of runs atop the powerful Rangers' lineup. You honestly can't go wrong with either, but Kinsler's unique power-speed combo sets him apart. - D.J. Short (@djshort)
Miguel Cabrera vs. Albert Pujols
Buster Posey vs. Carlos Santana