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.
Amed Rosario vs. Paul DeJong
DeJong wasn’t able to duplicate his impressive rookie numbers last year, but he still smacked 19 homers in 115 games while missing significant time with a fractured hand. It’s fair to expect better from him in 2019, especially as he’s projected to hit third in the Cardinals’ lineup. However, it doesn’t appear that he has much batting average upside and he’s a complete zero in the speed department. Rosario still has work to do with his approach, but he at least improved his strikeout and walk rates last season and saw an increase in his hard-hit percentage during his strong finish. Now going into his age-23 season, Rosario has the look of someone who should continue to progress in the power department. He’s already an asset in terms of stolen bases, which isn’t insignificant given the state of the game right now. Rosario would be a lot more interesting in fantasy leagues if he was hitting leadoff, but that’s not the best choice in the short-term with the Mets going for it in 2019. Even if he’s in the lower-third in the order, he has the potential to do enough across the board to rank ahead of DeJong at season’s end. - D.J. Short (@djshort)
I do like Rosario to take a big step forward this year at age 23 and he is a lock to provide more value than the 25-year-old DeJong in the stolen bases department, but DeJong is clearly the better pick for power and is a much safer draft-day option at the shortstop position, at least in my view. Despite missing six weeks last year with a fractured left hand -- an injury that can have negative lasting effects at the plate -- DeJong still managed to tally 19 home runs and 68 RBI in 115 games. This came after a 2017 season that saw him swat 25 home runs in 108 games and finish second only to Cody Bellinger for the National League Rookie of the Year. There is a lot of swing-and-miss in DeJong’s approach, but the same can be said for Rosario and you also have to think about lineup spot when comparing two fantasy commodities -- another area where DeJong has a clear advantage. Word is he could bat second or third for the Cardinals this year, surrounded by the likes of Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, and Marcell Ozuna -- all players we’re high on this year at Rotoworld. Rosario, meanwhile, figures to open the season batting eighth for the Mets. I also think it’s worth noting that DeJong was tremendous defensively last season and finished with a 3.8 in Baseball-Reference’s version of Wins Above Replacement. He would have been a four-win player had he stayed healthy all year. Rosario’s bWAR as a rookie last season was 0.6.- Drew Silva (@drewsilv)