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 2019 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.
J.T. Realmuto vs. Gary Sanchez
This matchup wouldn't have been a question this time last year. I firmly believed that Sanchez was in his class of his own among fantasy catchers. However, he had such a bad year that I can’t help but reevaluate his position here. With improved health, Sanchez is certainly capable of a nice bounceback year, but I think we can also expect bigger things for Realmuto, even coming off a career year. A big reason for that, of course, is the trade from the Marlins to the Phillies during the offseason. It can’t be stated enough how much Realmuto’s numbers suffered in Marlins Park. He has put up a .678 OPS there for his career compared to an .848 OPS on the road. I’m really excited to see what he can do in a better situation and a better lineup. I guess the only negative about Realmuto’s numbers last year was that he only went 3-for-5 in stolen base attempts, but it would be no surprise if he bounced back in that area. He just feels safer than Sanchez going into 2019. – D.J. Short (@djshort)
Even in what was a disastrous year for Sanchez, he hit the ball about as hard as anyone in the game; his exit velocity on liners and flies was fifth in the majors and Giancarlo Stanton was the only player in either league to hit a ball harder than Sanchez's max velocity. He already has a 30-homer season under his belt, and he had a .283 average in 756 plate appearances before last year's dreadful .186 mark. Of course, some think Realmuto could be good for 30 homers now that he's in Philadelphia. Still, Realmuto doesn't have Sanchez's raw power, and he's probably not going to hit as high in the lineup as he did in Miami. He also won't get to save some wear and tear by DHing on occasion as Sanchez will. If Realmuto were still a decent bet to swipe 8-12 bases, then he'd have a better case for first at catcher. However, since he stopped running on a bad team last year, there's no reason for him to start again now that he's on a better one. Sanchez gets a clear edge in three categories, and I wouldn't be surprised if their batting averages prove quite similar, too. – Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)