Often times 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 2015 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 2015 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
Abreu had a breakout season in 2014, his first in the major leagues after coming over from Cuba, tying for the fourth-most home runs in baseball with 36. The question on everyone’s mind is, “Can he do it again?” In this debate, having to choose between him and Cabrera, I wouldn’t bank on a repeat performance. First off, we haven’t yet seen a league-wide adjustment in approaching Abreu and, as we all know, major league pitchers (along with their catchers and coaching staffs) are excellent at making adjustments – this is why Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was rendered obsolete. Secondly, while the power may be legit, we have to ask if a .317 batting average is something we should count on, as it was based on a .356 BABIP. Hitters can certainly maintain such a high BABIP, but they’re typically not slow-footed, one-dimensional sluggers; they usually have a knack for hard contact or are agile. On the other hand, you have Cabrera who has been the most consistent hitter in baseball since earning an everyday job in 2004. He has never dropped below a 130 adjusted OPS and has hit at least 25 home runs with 100-plus RBI in 11 consecutive seasons. – Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill)
Cabrera has been remarkably consistent over his 11 full major league seasons, and the two-year stretch he had while winning back-to-back American League MVP awards (.338/.417/.620, 88 home runs, 276 RBI) was legendary and something we might never see again. However, we saw a minor chink in the armor last season when he suffered through a painful foot injury that left him looking like he was playing on one leg. That he was still able to put up the numbers he did is a testament to his talent, but Cabrera did fall off significantly in the power department. Cabrera had a more-serious-than-expected surgery after the season, wasn’t expected to be cleared for baseball activities until this week and isn't a given to be ready for Opening Day. There’s a chance he’ll regain his MVP form, but we also can’t rule out the possibility of another year of diminished power. Abreu, meanwhile, has zero health concerns and took the majors by storm in his first season, batting .317/.383/.581 with 36 homers and 107 RBI to capture AL Rookie of the Year honors. I’m anticipating a batting average correction after last year’s .356 BABIP, but I also expect Abreu to have a notable power edge over Cabrera and he should also see his runs and RBI totals rise in the White Sox’ improved lineup. Chances are both of these guys will be great in 2015, but the injury concern with Cabrera has me siding with Abreu. – Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)