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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Mariano Rivera vs. Joe Nathan
I understand if there's some slight hesitation about Rivera since he's 43 years old and is coming off a serious knee injury, but we're talking about the best relief pitcher of all-time here. Just to show you how dominant he has been in the late stages of his career, he has posted a sub-2.00 ERA in eight out of his last nine full seasons. Besides, all reports have been positive this spring and he has looked fine during Grapefruit League action. Rivera averaged right around 60 innings per season from 2010-2011 and Yankees manager Joe Girardi could be even more careful about his workload this season, but it's not like Nathan is a spring chicken, either. And he also comes with a health risk. Nathan returned to form in 2012 in his second full season back from Tommy John surgery, so honestly you should be happy if you end up with either on your fantasy team this season, but I refuse to be on the side that bets against Rivera. - D.J. Short (@djshort)
“Mo” is the best closer in baseball history and a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but this is an easy call for me in 2013. Rivera underwent major knee surgery last June to repair a torn right ACL and turned 43 years old this winter. He’ll probably figure out a way to be effective this season like he has so many times in the past, but Nathan is the safer pick on the better team with a much better career strikeout rate. Nathan, who turned 38 years old in November but seems downright youthful when compared to Rivera, posted a 2.80 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 78/13 K/BB ratio across 64 1/3 innings last season for the Rangers, saving 37 games in 40 opportunities. He had a 10.9 K/9 and owns a 9.5 K/9 for his career. Rivera’s career K/9 is 8.3 and he hasn’t been over 9.0 in that category since 2009. Vegas has both the Yankees and Rangers pegged for 86 1/2 wins this season, but the Rangers have fewer injury-prone geezers. I believe Texas will pass more leads to Nathan than New York will pass to Rivera. And that means a whole lot. – Drew Silva (@drewsilv)
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Ramirez vs. Reyes
Uggla vs. Utley
Pujols vs. Votto
Wieters vs. Molina