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Showdown: Fernando Tatis Jr. vs. Trea Turner

Fernando Tatis Jr.

Fernando Tatis Jr.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Fernando Tatis Jr. vs. Trea Turner

Tatis Jr.

The sky isn’t the limit for Tatis Jr.; the edge of the known solar system might be at this stage of his career. The Padres’ second-generation stalwart missed 32 games last year due to a pair of left shoulder injuries -- which didn’t end up requiring offseason surgery -- yet still managed to lead the senior circuit with a whopping 42 round-trippers. He also chipped in 25 stolen bases just for good measure. To put those numbers in context, only six hitters in the last decade have eclipsed the lofty 40-homer and 20-steal thresholds in the same season. He accomplished the feat while missing over a month of action. Surreal. The 23-year-old fantasy superstar’s stratospheric underlying batted ball metrics, most notably his league-leading 12.8 percent barrels per-plate appearance last year, inspire confidence that his elite over-the-fence pop isn’t going anywhere, especially as he enters his physical prime. It would be prudent to recite a laundry list of advanced statistics that he excelled in last season, but fantasy managers didn’t come here for an extensive math lecture. Here’s an oversimplification: Tatis Jr. consistently makes extremely hard contact and does it more often at ideal launch angles than nearly any other hitter in baseball. He’s also extremely fast. That combination of elite over-the-fence power and speed make him a virtual lock to reach the 40-homer and 20-steal plateaus for the second consecutive season, while also maintaining a near-elite batting average as well. There are simply zero holes in his profile. There are zero guarantees in fantasy baseball, but Tatis Jr. is more likely to contribute at a first-round level than any of the alternatives. – George Bissell (@GeorgeBissell)

Turner

This isn’t just a showdown for the top fantasy shortstop, but also the No. 1 overall pick in most standard mixed league drafts. For me, it’s Turner without any hesitation. If I’m picking first, I want the best combination of upside and safety. Tatis has the edge in terms of upside, but safety just isn’t what he offers, not after multiple scares with his shoulder last season. His exciting style of play also adds to the risk. Turner doesn’t come with that that level of anxiety, thankfully. In addition to winning his first batting title last season, the 28-year-old posted career-highs in homers, RBI, and runs scored while still flashing the best speed in the game. There’s every reason to believe he’ll continue to be a five-category stud with the benefit of a full season with the Dodgers. Go with Turner, you’ll sleep easier. – D.J. Short (@djshort)

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