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 2018 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
The price tag on Polanco might never be lower following a frustrating 2017 campaign where he was limited to 108 games due to a nagging hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Puig is on the upswing again after showing some real signs of growth. It was only one year ago that we were saying the same thing about Polanco, as he was trending in the right direction after posting a .786 OPS with 22 homers and 17 steals in 2016. Sometimes we make too much out of BSOHL (Best Shape of His Life) stories, but he appears determined to rebound and then some. I like Puig just fine — my ranking for him was right in line with a couple of members of the staff here — but I still think there’s some untapped upside with Polanco which could prove to be the difference here. Pure value must also be taken into account, as Polanco’s ADP sits at 158.4 according to NFBC while Puig is going much earlier at 111.2. – D.J. Short (@djshort)
Somewhat quietly -- at least compared to the other stars on the Dodgers -- Puig had a very nice 2017 season, and that's despite him having one of the oddest splits I've seen, one that I cannot imagine will carry over in 2018. Against right-handers, Puig had a .910 OPS with a perfectly sustainable .301 BABIP. Against left-handers, Puig had a .592 OPS, with a laughably unsustainable .209 BABIP. His approach was just as good against southpaws as it was against righties, and his strikeouts came down against both. He'll also be 27 this year, so I think it's reasonable to expect Puig to take another step forward in 2018. I loved Polanco as a prospect, but we're now at close to 2,000 plate appearances of him not reaching his potential. It's totally possible this is the year, but I'd much rather have the "safety" of Puig while knowing that there's plenty of upside here, too. – Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB)