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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Albert Pujols vs. Joey Votto
News that Pujols may not see spring training game action until mid-March has me a little worried about his recovery from offseason knee surgery, but for now at least I'm banking on him returning to elite status. Last year Pujols didn't hit his first homer until May 6 and the shockingly poor start dragged down his season totals, leading to lots of talk that he's in the midst of a significant decline at age 33. However, he hit .305 with 30 homers, 42 doubles, 100 RBIs, and a .934 OPS in his final 127 games. During that time period only Miguel Cabrera and Josh Hamilton drove in more runs. Votto is an amazing hitter and perhaps even better than Pujols, but his incredible on-base skills aren't valued properly in fantasy leagues and from 2010-2012 his per-150 game averages of 28 homers and 97 RBIs are good but not great for the position. Votto also missed one-third of last season with knee problems of his own, so health-wise he's in a similar boat to Pujols. If you're building a real-life lineup I'd probably rather have Votto batting third, but if you're trying to pile up numbers that win fantasy leagues I'd still lean toward Pujols. – Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman)
You can’t really go wrong here. Both first basemen are sure-fire first-round picks with the potential to produce astronomical offensive numbers in 2013. But I like Votto more than Pujols because I think the two players are at different stages in their respective careers. Votto is 29 years old and posted an outrageous .337/.474/.567 batting line last season. His batting line was .309/.416/.531 in 2011 and .324/.424/.600 in 2010. Pujols, who is 33 years old and has been on a steady decline for the past five seasons, had a .285/.343/.516 batting line in 2012, a .299/.366/.541 batting line in 2011 and a .312/.414/.596 batting line in 2010. Pujols probably has more raw power than Votto, but the cozy confines of Great American Ball Park could help nullify that. Pujols plays at Angel Stadium, where the marine layer during night games can turn big flies into fly outs. Pujols gets to hit behind Mike Trout and Erick Aybar. But hitting behind Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips isn’t so bad either. – Drew Silva (@drewsilv)
Wieters vs. Molina