Early ADP Review
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Following an offseason that was too long and a spring training that was maybe too short, the 2022 Major League Baseball regular season is underway. The games count, and teams are vying for a spot in the new 12-team postseason format.
Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. . This week we’re going to pick between two of the game’s greats.
R.J. Anderson: You can’t go wrong either way, but give me Soto. He has a longer track record of being an elite hitter despite being almost the same age, and he’s capable of playing an outfield position. Plus he’s a lefty, which is always a nice bonus.
Matt Snyder: Gonna go with Soto. It’s a tough one, though, and I’m not sure how many other players in baseball I’d take over Vlad. My rationale is that they are essentially the same age, but there are already 2,000-plus plate appearances of Soto being a superstar. He’s walked more times than he’s struck out in his career and his grasp of the strike zone is only getting better. As such, he’s a lot less prone to slumps than most other players. I have nothing bad to say about Vlad Jr. He’s just a short step behind Soto and that’s no crime. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say I expect we’re talking about two Hall of Famers here.
Dayn Perry: Yeah, I have to go with Soto, too. As young as he is, he’s in his fifth season of producing at an elite level. The power and patience combination is the best in the game today, and it’s possible he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. It’s a marvel that, with as much power as Soto has, he has more walks than strikeouts. That’s a feat in this era.
Mike Axisa: No wrong answer here, though I’ll take Soto as well. There are times he looks like a once-in-a-lifetime hitter more than a once-in-a-generation hitter. There’s such a precociousness to Soto’s plate discipline and swing decisions. They’re the best in the game and he’s still only 23. Vlad Jr. has demonstrated a higher power ceiling (48 homers last year, Soto’s career high is 34) and he did that as a right-handed hitter who is at the platoon disadvantage more often. That said, I think Soto has more power in him, plus he has a longer track record. He produced at an elite rate the day he arrived in the big leagues. Guerrero didn’t until last year. Vlad Jr. is awesome, but I’m not ready to say he’s unseated Soto as the best hitter in the game.
(With all due respect, I’m not looking for defensive or baserunning value out of these guys. They are hitters first, second, and third.)
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