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2013 Fantasy Baseball Debate: Albert Pujols vs. Joey Votto

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Albert Pujols vs. Joey Votto

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy baseball drafts are beginning all over the country and that means it's time for the heated debates over which players are better first round selections. This is a very important part of the fantasy off-season because first round picks can either make or break your upcoming season, so it is crucial to make the right call.

For the coming weeks heading into the 2013 fantasy baseball drafts, I will dissect some critical matchup and positional debates to think about before drafting. For many fantasy owners, that hardest part about drafting is deciding who to pick at the last minute, so I will help make your final choice much easier.

One of the most debated topics among fantasy baseball circles for 2013 is the question of which first baseman is better, Los Angeles AngelsAlbert Pujols or Cincinnati RedsJoey Votto.

They both are potential All-Stars and both will finish towards the top of their league in home runs.

Pujols is nicknamed The Machine because of how automatic he has been over the last decade, but he has slowed down in recent years.

On the other hand, Votto seems to be leading the next generation of first basemen. He has showed that he can hit over 40 home runs, but he has also showed that he can survive with a batting average over .300.

To help you in your drafts this year, here are the results of the debate between the two best first base options in fantasy in 2013.

Adam McGill is the Senior Fantasy Sports Writer at Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @adammcgill83, like him on Facebook, or add him to you networks on Google here or here.

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Games Played

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats

Albert Pujols: 154 games played

Joey Votto: 111 games played

Votto has missed serious time in two of the last four seasons and will always be viewed as an injury risk. Pujols may be getting older and seeing his numbers decline, but the superstar has played in at least 143 games in all 12 of his MLB seasons. Pujols will no doubt play in more games than Votto this season.

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Batting Average

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats

Albert Pujols: .285

Joey Votto: .337

Pujols has seen his batting drop from .357 in 2008 all the way down to .285 last season. He was once a guaranteed .300 hitter, but he is no longer the elite contact hitter he once was.

Votto hit a ridiculous .337 in 2012. He actually led the entire MLB in batting average last year, but he just did not qualify with enough games played. If he can hit .337 in 111 games, however, I think we can officially say that he has become an elite stick.

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Home Runs

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats

Albert Pujols: 30 Home Runs

Joey Votto: 14 Home Runs

Votto may be a better contact hitter than Pujols, but The Machine is still in full swing when it comes to hitting long balls. Pujols may not have any more 50-home run seasons, but he will easily eclipse the 30 dingers he hit in 2012.

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats

Albert Pujols: 105 RBI

Joey Votto: 56 RBI

Even in a so-called down year, Pujols still managed to drive in 105 runs in the Angels star-studded lineup. During Votto’s amazing 2011 season, he only drove in 103 runs. I would rather take Pujols and his amazing track record on this one.

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Stolen Bases

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats

Albert Pujols: eight stolen bases

Joey Votto: five stolen bases

Both first basemen are among the worst stealing threats in the infield, so don’t count on either to post double-digit steals. However, if forced to choose, Votto simply has fresher legs.

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Runs Scored

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

2012 Stats

Albert Pujols: 85

Joey Votto: 59

This is another category that will come down to the wire. Cincinnati has an amazing young core of players and will be among the top scoring offense in the game.

Los Angeles will be the number one scoring offense in all of baseball with players like Pujols, Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo. Pujols will have a chance to come home every time he gets on base, so expect him to easily go over 100 runs in 2013.

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Winner - Albert Pujols

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Many people may be high on Votto and low on Pujols this off-season, but I am not one of those people. I think Pujols will get back to his 100-40-100 seasons and will easily beat out Votto for the number one first baseman in fantasy.