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 2020 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
I wouldn’t say I’m down on Vlad Jr. after his rookie campaign, but I do think we have to weigh the long-term outlook in proportion to the landscape of the third base position in general. The position is very deep in fantasy leagues, so I don’t feel the need to extend for Vlad Jr. when more established players are on the board. Bryant had a brutal April last year which led to speculation about his shoulder, but he was a solid fantasy option the rest of the way, ending up with 31 homers and a .903 OPS over 147 games. It’s interesting that Bryant is never high on the list in terms of average exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, and barrel rate, but he hits the ball in the air frequently enough that it doesn’t matter. The plan calls for him to hit leadoff for new Cubs manager David Ross, so I don’t see him improving his RBI total from last year, but he could very well score 120 runs with his ability to get on base. The batting average is safe, the power has been steady when healthy, and the situation is favorable from a counting stats perspective. I’ll take the known commodity over a promising player who still has some work to do. – D.J. Short (@djshort)
It’s fair to dismiss Bryant’s lackluster 2018 campaign because of his shoulder problems, but he didn’t exactly bounce all of the way back last season. In fact, his Statcast numbers were worse than when he was trying to gut it out the season before. His average exit velocity is down two mph from his first couple of years in the league, and he’s been pretty much in the middle of the pack as far as his expected batting averages and slugging percentages. I just don’t see a ton of fantasy upside at this point. Guerrero is no lock to bust out as a superstar right away as a sophomore, but the potential is there, and it’s not as though he necessarily needs to play like an All-Star to outproduce Bryant from a fantasy standpoint. – Matthew Pouliot (@MatthewPouliot)
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