Showdown: Sanchez vs. LucroySaturday, February 11, 2017
Often 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 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 2017 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
Gary Sanchez vs. Jonathan Lucroy
Sanchez was on the Yankees’ roster for 57 games last year, in which time he hit .299 with 20 HR and 42 RBI. Prorating that to 162 games would put him at 57 homers and 119 RBI. I write this not to hype expectations for what Sanchez should do in his first full season, but instead to illuminate just how much he could falter and still remain a dominant fantasy catcher. In the last 10 years, only two catchers have hit 30 homers (Evan Gattis with 32 last year and Mike Napoli with 30 in 2011), and Buster Posey (103 in 2012) is the only one to reach 100 RBI this decade. Sanchez seems like a pretty good bet to do the former, and he has a chance at the latter as well, since he figures to hit third in the Yankees lineup and DH at least a couple of times per month. Sanchez started 53 of those 57 games when he was on the Yankees’ roster last year, which is a pace the DH spot could allow him to maintain. I expect Sanchez’s prodigious strikeout rate will catch up to him somewhat this year, lowering his average, but I don’t imagine that anyone is touching his power numbers; he demonstrated elite exit velocity and barreled the ball as much as anyone in the majors last year. I’m taking him over Lucroy and over Posey, as well. – Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)
The Rangers ponied up big-time in order to acquire Lucroy at the deadline last year, and they reaped the benefits down the stretch as the catcher slashed .276/.345/.539 with 11 homers in 47 games after the trade. Now, at age 30 and by all appearances completely past his concussion issues, the prized acquisition is primed for a monster campaign. He'll be slotted into the middle of a power-packed lineup that also includes Adrian Beltre, Rougned Odor and Mike Napoli. He appears to enjoy hitting in Arlington's ballpark very much based on his .979 OPS in 27 games there -- third-highest of any yard where he has more than 50 plate appearances. That comes as no surprise given the stadium's hitter-friendly reputation and the way baseballs tend to sail in the midsummer Texas heat. While Gary Sanchez might offer the tantalizing upside after banging out 20 homers in 53 games as a rookie, he's bound to come back to Earth as a sophomore, perhaps in a big way. Meanwhile, Lucroy is an established commodity in a terrific situation. – Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN)