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 by Average Draft Position (ADP) and/or Rotoworld’s 2016 season projections 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 2016 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
Some will look at Beltre's dip in home run production over the past two years and make inferences about his bat speed. After all, he's 36 years old, so A plus B equals C, right? Well, not so fast. Using Seager as an arbitrary -- but relevant for this discussion -- reference point, it may surprise some to find out that the elder statesman actually had a higher average exit velocity last season per Baseball Savant, 89.88 miles per hour to 89.25 mph for Seager. The two were also separated by just six spots in average home run distance. Given that information, it's difficult to draw any real conclusions from the numbers both players have put up in recent years. Here's what we do know: Beltre plays in a park more favorable for right-handed power hitters than Seager does for lefties, according to Fangraphs' park factors. More subjectively, Beltre hits in the middle of a lineup that should score more runs than Seager's in 2016. And Beltre, for what it's worth, is in the last year of his deal, so he'll be motivated to perform for a new contract. When two players are as similar as Beltre and Seager, those small differences are what end up separating them at the end of the season. And Beltre checks more boxes than Seager this year. – Nathan Grimm (@Nate_Grimm)
Seager has certainly proven his bona fides as a power threat now, edging out his previous career highs with 26 homers and 37 doubles last season. What he hasn’t done is hit for average, which is really surprising considering that he came in at .328 in his 269 minor league games before reaching the majors. Seager’s strikeout rate has always been good, but it hit a new low last year, as he fanned a full 25 percent less than the league average. Still, he hit in the .260s for the third straight year, thanks to his poor .278 BABIP. One would think his luck would turn one of these years, and he’d come through with a .280-.290 average. But even if this isn’t the one, he’s still a pretty good bet, especially since he’s likely to bat second ahead of Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano in the Mariners lineup. He also steals a handful of bases each year. I’d say he’s the best value pick behind the big four (Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant) at third base. – Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)