Monday, February 20, 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.
Brian Dozier vs. DJ LeMahieu
Last year proved that LeMahieu deserves to be taken seriously in mixed leagues. He offers a safe floor because of Coors Field and his elite contact rate, but his category upside just doesn’t quite match that of Dozier. I understand the skepticism about Dozier being able to equal his amazing power output from last season, but it’s not like he hasn’t been useful in that area before. Maybe he won’t reach 42 homers again, but I’m not worried about a dramatic drop-off. He lofted the ball more often than ever before last season and utilizes a pull-heavy approach. That’s what you want to see. In addition to the significant power advantage, Dozier went 18-for-20 in stolen bases season. Despite posting a .416 on-base percentage in 2016, LeMahieu only had 11 steals and was caught seven times. It’s true that Dozier can’t match LeMahieu in batting average, but he shows enough patience where he should still be an asset in runs scored. In the end, I’ll take the power advantage and everything that comes along with that. – D.J. Short (@djshort)
Dozier was an absolute monster in 2016, tallying 42 home runs, 99 runs batted in, 18 stolen bases, and 104 runs scored in 155 games, but I’m pretty skeptical he can replicate that stat line and I definitely don’t think he can build on it. Consider that Dozier was a .240/.314/.411 career hitter leading into Twins camp last spring, averaging 23 home runs for every 162 games. He wouldn’t be the first baseball player to suddenly become a superstar at age 29, but the odds are against it. That’s not to say that LeMahieu is a budding Hall of Famer, but he is a year younger than Dozier and he gets to play half of his games at power-friendly Coors Field and he led all major leaguers in batting average last season with a mark of .348. His full batting line, including OBP and slugging percentage, was .348/.416/.495. I’ll hang my hat on the better all-around plate approach of LeMahieu, and expect much bigger counting stats from the 28-year-old in 2017 given the talent around him in the Rockies lineup and the thin air of Coors Field. Target Field plays a little more hitter-friendly than its reputation, but it’s obviously nothing like Coors. – Drew Silva (@drewsilv)
Sanchez vs. Lucroy
Belt vs. Thames