Showdown: Jansen vs. ChapmanThursday, March 16, 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?
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Kenley Jansen vs. Aroldis Chapman
Jansen is the safest relief pick on draft day. He’s awesome, having struck out at least 13 batters per nine innings in each of his seven seasons, and he hasn’t had the faintest hint of an arm problem since missing three weeks with shoulder inflammation in 2011. He plays for a team that figures to win 90+ games despite not scoring a ton of runs, so he’s about as good of a bet for save chances as anyone in the league. His stuff hasn’t degraded in the slightest since he reached the majors in 2010. Chapman will have a few more strikeouts if both pitch the same number of innings, but that will likely be more than balanced out by Jansen’s advantage in WHIP; he’s come in at 0.78 and 0.67 the last two years, compared to 1.15 and 0.86 for Chapman. And I think Jansen is more likely than Chapman to top 65 innings anyway. Chapman hasn’t landed on the DL since he was hit by a comebacker three years ago, but he had minor shoulder issues in both 2014 and 2015. – Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)
Chapman was suspended for the first month of the 2016 season and still went on to record 36 saves while punching out 90 batters in only 58 innings (13.97 K/9). He also showed a gain in skills, registering the lowest walk rate of his career (2.79 BB/9). He has perhaps the game's best setup corps to get him the ball with the lead in the ninth inning and is a veritable lock to put up monster numbers in his age-29 season. Don't get me wrong, Jansen is no slouch either. He's coming off an unbelievable season where he saved 47 games and posted a career-best 37% K/BB%. Trying to choose between Jansen and Chapman is like splitting hairs as the two clearly stand out as the top two closers in the game. Again, I'm giving the nod to the flame-throwing left-hander by virtue of his supporting cast. While Chapman has the likes of Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren to hand him leads in the ninth inning, Jansen is forced to rely upon Grant Dayton, Sergio Romo and Pedro Baez. Chapman should work more innings and have slightly more strikeouts while posting jaw-dropping ratios. Some may have him downgraded on draft day due to his off-field incidents regarding domestic violence, but as long as he's healthy and on the field he'll perform as one of the top closers in all of baseball. – Dave Shovein (@DaveShovein)
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