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.
Travis Shaw vs. Brian Dozier
If you’re selecting Dozier in a draft, you’re counting on him rebounding in a big way from his down 2018. He posted a career-low batting average (.215) in 632 plate appearances last season between the Twins and Dodgers, and his on-base percentage (.305) and slugging percentage (.391) left a lot to be desired too. We can blame some of the poor production on the knee injury that apparently plagued him throughout the summer, but Dozier never went on the disabled list, so how serious of an issue was it really? Dozier has been a counting-stats monster in the recent past -- he racked up a total of 76 home runs, 192 RBI, and 34 stolen bases in 307 games between 2016-2017 -- but the arrow is clearly pointing down entering his age-32 season.
Shaw, on the other hand, feels about as safe as can be. He delivered 31 home runs and 101 RBI in his first year with the Brewers in 2017 and 32 home runs and 86 RBI last season. His OPS between those two campaigns: .844. Milwaukee’s lineup is loaded, and Shaw should regularly bat cleanup behind Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, and Jesus Aguilar. I want a piece of that action, and I know there’s a comfortable floor there of homers and RBI output. Sure, the Brewers have the infielders to mix and match, and Shaw might not play in 160 games, but I think we can safely pencil him for 140-150. There will be plenty of opportunity for him to do the kind of damage he has proven capable of doing. - Drew Silva (@drewsilv)
There's no denying that Dozier was bad last year. Bad is an understatement. But I just can't forget how good the 31-year-old was in 2016 and 2017 when he hit a combined 76 homers while stealing 34 bases on 43 attempts. He turns 32 in May, so I have a hard time believing that this is a deteriorating skill set. The analytics say that there was some bad luck here -- his percentage of hard contact is not much worse than it was in the previous campaigns -- and while I don't think you can count on him being what he was, I do think he rebounds and puts up solid -- if not spectacular -- numbers in 2019. As for Shaw, I'm probably too low on him; there aren't many players eligible for the position who have his power, but I do worry about his skill set; it's not one that typically ages well, and I believe there's higher upside in players like Moncada and Cano along with a few others I ranked between the two. I'm just a little nervous about a fall here, but I may be a year off. - Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB)