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.
We have long considered Pedroia among the elite fantasy second basemen, but I'm beginning to think that run is over. The 31-year-old dealt with another nagging injury last season, this time to his wrist, while finishing with a .278/.337/.376 batting line to go along with just seven home runs and six stolen bases. He had surgery late in the year and is expected to be 100 percent for the start of the season, so it's fair to expect some bounce back in 2015, but by how much? He should hit for average and get on base, so look for him to score plenty of runs in Boston's improved lineup, but I wouldn't bank on much more than 10 homers and his speed has already begun to depreciate as an asset. And while he's shown an ability to play through it, you can't help but be concerned about the potential for another injury. Meanwhile, Dozier is on the rise. The 27-year-old is tied with Robinson Cano for first in home runs among second basemen over the past two seasons and only five second-base eligible players have more stolen bases in that time. He might not hit for average like Pedroia, but he had the 12th highest walk rate in the majors last season and possesses much more upside from a power/speed perspective. That gives him the edge with me. - D.J. Short (@djshort)
There’s no disputing that Pedroia has seen his offensive numbers take a turn for the worse. His OPS has been trending in the wrong direction for a few years now, bottoming out at a career-low .712 last season. However, I’m buying the fact that a wrist ailment that plagued him throughout 2014 (as well as a thumb injury in 2013) is mainly responsible for the downturn in production. After all, Pedroia is just 31 and was able to finish as the No. 4 fantasy second baseman in 2013 despite the thumb malady. Pedroia has raved about how good he feels now after surgery last September and how he expects to rebound in the power department in 2015. He’s probably never going to steal 20 bases again, but double-digit homers and a .300 average seems doable. Dozier is a rising talent with an intriguing power/speed combo, but he faded badly down the stretch in both categories last year with just five homers and five steals after the All-Star break. He’s also a given to be a drain on your batting average. In the end I think Pedroia will be closer to his 2013 rather than his 2014 production, and that’s probably going to be enough to edge out Dozier. – Ryan Boyer (@RyanPBoyer)