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 2020 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
I think it's worth pointing out that this is close; this position is loaded and it's easy to see several players ending up in the top spot. For me, Torres has the most upside, and he was excellent in 2019 with an .871 OPS, 38 homers and 90 runs driven in over his 604 plate appearances in 144 games. The scary thing here is that he did all of that as a 22-year-old, and he'll play all of the 2020 season at 23. He was one of the best prospects in baseball, so it's not like this came out of nowhere. On the other end of the spectrum, Marte was great – and was once a quality prospect in his own right – but calling everything he did last year a career high is an understatement. I'll take the upside of Torres, and note that he plays in a better lineup as well. – Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB)
The same number of staff writers had Torres as No. 1 in their second base rankings as those who had Marte first, so this is a worthy debate. I don’t doubt Torres’ short-term and long-term prospects. Besides, he still gets to play the Orioles this season. However, I feel like a lot of the hesitation about Marte is that his breakout came out of nowhere. There’s the fear of the super-charged MLB baseball, which I understand. Still, I think some of it is overblown. Marte has added more muscle to his frame since his prospect days, so comparing him to his past production is unfair. He also showed growth last year in regard to his fly ball rate, barrel rate, average exit velocity, and hard-hit percentage, all things you want to see when trying to determine validity moving forward. Marte has always made a lot of contact, so there’s a good chance he’ll continue to hit for average, even if asking for another .329 season is a little much. Torres is in a great situation with room to grow, so the appeal is obvious, but Marte is the safer batting average play from here and he’s also likely to top him in the stolen base department. I’ll take my chances on him delivering something close to a repeat in 2020. – D.J. Short (@djshort)
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