This season is full of intriguing two-player “Showdowns” that beg comparison and invite debate. In each Showdown we pit two players from the same position against each other, scrutinize their age, injuries (if applicable), and statistics, with only one coming out on top.
The 7th ticket on our Showdown Supercard features two young phenoms who will be the face of baseball for years to come. Now entering the ring, it’s: Dickerson vs Springer.
Although we are in the midst of the biggest pitching era since the 1960s, 2015 must surely be the year of the outfielder. There are so many excellent options for Fantasy owners at the position, and they glom the lion’s share of the ink in our Breakout and Sleeper posts. At the top of the heap of newcomers in the outfield stand our two combatants, Corey Dickerson and George Springer. Let’s see what these two phenoms have in common:
- They will each turn 26 during the 2015 season, as they were born less than 4 months apart in 1989
- They each had an OPS above 1.000 in more than one stint in the Minors
- They each had 20 HR, or more, in partial seasons last year
- They both look to be major contributors to teams that seem to have been in rebuilding mode for the last decade, or so
Corey Dickerson turns 26 in May. Players are said to peak at the age of 27. So, although he is still fairly new to the Majors (last year was officially his sophomore season), he is already entering his prime.
Dickerson had an eye-popping OPS of .981 through 4 years in the minors, and finished two of those seasons (2010 and 2013) with a 1.046 OPS.
He continued this mastery at the plate in the Majors with 24 HR and 76 RBI over 131 games with the Rockies last year. He didn’t qualify for yearly stats, as he missed 31 games. Unofficially, he finished 9th in N.L. in batting average (.312), 3rd in slugging (.567), and 6th in HR/AB.
If he qualified, his OPS (.931) would have been good for 6th in both leagues, sandwiched between Mike Trout and Jose Bautista. That’s some pretty elite company.
There is talk about Dickerson being used in the leadoff position from time to time this season. He did manage 8 steals last year, but has never managed more than 16 in his Minor League gigs.
George Springer turns 26 in Septmeber. His arrival in in the Bigs was even later than Dickerson’s. He debuted just last year. So, he too, is already entering his prime years.
A .960 OPS and 65 HRs in 287 games in the minors are reason enough to get excited about this rare kind of talent. But he also has very good speed to go with the power: he had 32 steals in 128 games in 2012, and then 45 in 135 games in 2013. In fact, he was only 3 HR short of the 40/40 club that year.
He struggled out of the gates last year, going 10 for 55 in April (.182 AVG), but turned it all around in May, going 30 for 102, with 10 HR and 25 RBI for the month.
Springer’s poor start in 2014 kept his BA down (.231), but if you prorate his 20 HR in 78 games – well, just double both numbers, and it gets pretty scary what this kid might do.
Although Springer has been the more highly heralded of the two, Dickerson’s jump to the MLB has been more seamless. Perhaps this is partially due to the fact that he plays at Coors Field. However, Minute Maid isn’t exactly pitcher-friendly either.
There are substantial differences in a couple of their counting stats. In particular, the walks and strikeouts columns:
Oddly enough, Springer had more walks and strikeouts than Dickerson, despite playing in 53 fewer games.
Although Springer might ultimately become the more dynamic player of the two, his strikeout rate has to come down some before this happens. It’s difficult to find any negatives in Dickerson’s numbers. He has enjoyed the smoother transition, and has more big league experience behind him. Meanwhile, it may be another year before Springer completely comes into his own.