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.
If they were teammates, I'd give Cole a bit of an edge over deGrom following his ridiculous 2019 campaign. However, one of those guys is pitching in Yankee Stadium and the AL East and the other is working in Citi Field and the NL East. Citi Field has played as the game's best pitcher's park over the last three years; the Mets have scored 206 fewer runs in home games than in road games during that span and their pitchers have allowed 219 fewer runs at home. Yankee Stadium isn't as bad as its reputation suggests, but it yields plenty of homers and Cole is a modest flyball pitcher. DeGrom's stuff has somehow gotten better every year of his career -- he averaged 96.9 mph with his fastball last season -- and the Mets should score some more runs this season. He's No. 1 in my book. – Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)
You can’t really go wrong here. Cole and deGrom will be the top two starting pitchers off the board this spring in pretty much every standard mixed fantasy league, and there’s not much of a gap between them right now in average draft position on Yahoo: Cole is at 6.4 and deGrom is at 9.1. I’ll side with the general industry consensus in ranking Cole as my No. 1 overall starter for 2020 after he led all major league pitchers last season with 326 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings and scored a record nine-year, $324 million free agent contract from the Yankees. There’s no doubt that deGrom is the safer bet in terms of ERA -- he has a 2.05 ERA over his last 64 starts dating back to the beginning of 2018, compared to a 2.68 ERA for Cole in that same span -- but the strikeouts and the WHIP and the wins all side with Cole. For his unquestionable greatness as a back-to-back Cy Young Award winner in the National League, deGrom finished with a 10-9 record in 2018 and an 11-8 record in 2019. Pitcher wins are a silly stat, but they do matter in fantasy. I like Cole’s odds of getting the better run support of the two New York aces. – Drew Silva (@drewsilv)
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