Friday, January 10, 2014


2014 fantasy baseball drafts are right around the corner and the e-mails have started coming in asking when I would start the Draft Debate features again.  Well today is the day as we check in near the top of the first baseman rankings to see who should be picked ahead of one another between the Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto and the Toronto Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion.  Both guys lay behind Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Davis in the first base hierarchy but both are extremely close in numbers.  So without further delay let's compare the two guys in the standard 5 x 5 categories to see who comes out on top.

AVERAGE:  One of the best pure hitters in the game, Votto takes this one handily with a career .314 average to Encarnacion's .265.  Even looking at the last two seasons, Votto has hit .337 and .305 while Encarnacion hit .280 and .272.  No contest here.
ADVANTAGE:  Joey Votto

HOME RUNS:  As easily as Votto won the average debate, Encarnacion hands down is the better home run hitter.  In fact Encarnacion would have put up back-to-back 40 home run seasons if he didn't spend some time on the DL in 2013.  Encarnacion has hit 42 and 36 home runs the last two seasons while Votto has hit only 14 and 24.  Votto also only has one 30-plus home run season in his career and that one was a clear outlier as his fly ball rate was way out whack that year.  Encarnacion should hit 35 home runs easy if he stays healthy while Votto is more of a 25 home run bat.
ADVANTAGE:  Edwin Encarnacion

RUNS:  This one is real close as Votto scored 101 runs last season to Encarnacion's 90.  Votto has 3 100-plus run seasons in his career while Encarnacion has reached that plateau not even once.
ADVANTAGE:  Joey Votto

RBI:  Encarnacion has driven in 110 and 104 RBI the last two seasons while Votto drove in only 73 in 2013 but did knock in over 100 for two years running between 2010-2011.  Again this one is real close but Encarnacion hitting cleanup and his recent success there should win out over Votto in the three spot.
ADVANTAGE:  Edwin Encarnacion

STOLEN BASES:  Votto once stole 16 bases back in 2010 but in the three seasons since he has stolen only 8, 5, and 6.  Encarnacion on the other hand has stolen 8. 13, and 7 the last three seasons which gives him the slight edge.  Very slight.
ADVANTAGE:  Edwin Encarnacion

INTANGIBLES:  We have to mention an intangible here which is the fact Encarnacion qualifies both at first base and at third base in a good deal of formats which carries some additional value.  Keep that in mind when drafting him early on as it than gives you the flexibility to put him at either spot.

WINNER:  Edwin Encarnacion

I have said from the beginning that Encarnacion is a first round pick and should be taken over Votto.  Votto is a nice player but he is a bit overrated since he has only one fluky 30 home run season and has been dealing with more injuries lately.  Encarnacion is not a picture of health but his added third base eligibility and power bat wins out.

Be sure to check back for more of the starting pitching rankings as we move forward through the week.  Let us hear your thoughts.

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