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Showdown: Longoria vs. Franco

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


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 2017 Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. It’s an essential weapon to have in your arsenal at the draft table this spring.

 

 

Evan Longoria vs. Maikel Franco

 

Longoria

 

I was down on Longoria going into last year, but I saw enough to change my mind here. And how could I not? After failing to top 22 homers in either 2014 or 2015, he slugged a career-high 36 homers last season while driving in his most runs since 2012. Yes, power was up everywhere in the game last year, but Longoria hit more fly balls than ever before and also boosted his hard-hit rate. In other words, I’m buying in on the unexpected surge. The contact rate dipped a bit in the process, but I’m willing to sacrifice that for a power boost. Longoria’s health has been a worry in the past and probably will be again at some point now that he’s in his 30s, but he has quietly appeared in at least 160 games over each of the past four seasons. Maybe he doesn’t offer the speed he once did, but it’s not like that is a part of Franco’s game. I think we’re all banking on progress from Franco, but he actually saw his OPS dip from .840 in his rookie season to .733 last year. Regularly swinging so wildly that his helmet fell off, Franco struck out more often and drew fewer walks in the process. He’s just 24 years old and the power potential is evident, but Longoria is simply the safer play right now. - D.J. Short (@djshort)

 

Franco

 

I think Franco gets discounted as being a traditional power hitter -- the Mark Reynolds type who, sure, he'll hit 30 homers, but he'll also strike out 200 times. I don't know where it comes from, but it's not the case. Franco actually strikes out less than the major league average, getting punched out in 16.8 percent of his plate appearances in 2016. He walks less than average, too, but we don't really care about that in fantasy. What we do care about are the homers -- he hit 25 in 630 plate appearances last year -- and the batting average. Perhaps the average, after hitting .255 over a full season in 2016, is where the misconception comes from, but a look at his peripherals shows that it was an undeserved .255, dragged down by a .271 BABIP that belies the fact that he hit the ball hard and often last year. He hits too many ground balls and he's not fast enough to ever hit for a real plus average, but he shouldn't hurt you, either. Notice I haven't mentioned Longoria in this entire piece. I don't have to -- they're similar players in a lot of respects, so it's tough to kill one while praising the other. I just prefer Franco this year. – Nate Grimm (@Nate_Grimm)

 

 

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