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.
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Matt Wieters vs. Yadier Molina
With Molina and Wieters, we have two of the best all-around catchers in the game, but there's little doubt who was more valuable in fantasy leagues last year. Molina posted a quality .315/.373/.501 batting line while setting career-highs with 22 home runs, 76 RBI and an .874 OPS. He also led all major league catchers with 12 stolen bases. Hard to ask for much more from a fantasy perspective. As for Wieters, he has had his moments since his highly-anticipated debut in 2009, but he has yet to produce a consistent season of elite fantasy production. Still, it's reasonable to postulate that the 30-year-old Molina is at his peak right now while Wieters is just entering his prime seasons. Molina is also far from a lock to be as opportunistic on the basepaths again this year. Wieters has settled in the low-20s range in homers over the past two seasons, which already makes him a pretty safe asset from the catcher position, but his value could take a big jump if he improves against right-handed pitching. Both should be productive fantasy catchers this season, but I'm going with the one who appears to still have some upside ahead of him. - D.J. Short (@djshort)
It’s a wonderful thing when two of the best defensive catchers in the sport can also be regarded as hot fantasy commodities. Because it doesn’t always work like that. These two have taken fairly similar development paths -- first becoming elite behind the plate and then building the skills necessary to be elite in front of it. Rather, alongside it. I like Molina over Wieters this year in fantasy leagues because Molina is in a better lineup in St. Louis and should see many more RBI chances. He also doesn’t strike out as much as Wieters, and Molina has traditionally reached base at a far better clip. Wieters slugged 23 home runs in 2012 -- one more than Molina at 22. But Molina’s batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.373) and slugging percentage (.501) were all much higher. Which indicates to me that Yadi is a more polished, more developed hitter. Wieters could eventually surpass Molina as an offensive threat -- and it may happen within the next couple of years -- but he is not there quite yet. Draft the Cardinals’ backstop and watch him challenge again for MVP honors in the National League. – Drew Silva (@drewsilv)