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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Chase Headley vs. Ryan Zimmerman
There’s no doubt that Zimmerman has a better track record than Headley. After all, Headley parked just 36 balls over the fence in his first 2,114 big league plate appearances before last year’s 31-homer breakout. It’s easy to be skeptical of such an extreme spike in production, and I concede that another run at 30 bombs for Headley is probably unlikely. But this is a guy that’s always had good raw power, and he’s in the midst of his prime hitting years. Headley will also surely benefit from the fences coming in at Petco this season, and he’s as good a bet as any to lead those at the hot corner in stolen bases. As far as Zimmerman goes, multiple cortisone shots proved to be magical for the Nats’ third baseman last season, allowing him to delay surgery until the offseason. He’s yet to encounter any hiccups during his rehab, but there’s no guarantee his shoulder issues are completely behind him, and even if they are, it’s possible his power will be slow to come around. Also, for a guy generally viewed as a steady fantasy option, Zimmerman’s production has actually been more up-and-down than you might think, as he’s posted the following OPS’ over the last seven seasons: .822, .788, .774, .888, .899, .798, .824. If I were totally convinced Zimmerman would stay healthy, I might side with him, but Headley is much more durable and I think has a tad more upside. – Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)
Shoulder problems plagued Zimmerman early last season, but he was everything fantasy owners hoped for and more following a cortisone shot in late June, batting .321 with 22 home runs, 73 RBI and a .967 OPS over his final 90 games. He had surgery following the season, but all reports have been positive this spring and he should be ready for Opening Day. It's easy to dig in on Headley, as he's coming off a breakout year in which he batted .286 with 31 homers, a league-leading 115 RBI and 17 stolen bases, but I'm afraid he could be overvalued because many will be focused on the short-term production. Keep in mind that Headley had a grand total of 36 home runs over his first 521 games in the majors, so I'm skeptical whether the power spike was completely legitimate, especially considering that he didn't hit fly balls more often than in his previous seasons. Meanwhile, Zimmerman has five seasons of 20 or more homers, including a 33-homer season back in 2009. I still think Headley will be valuable in mixed leagues and the changes at PETCO Park should help his cause, but I'll go with the guy with the longer track record. - D.J. Short (@djshort)
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