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Entries in Rickie Weeks (1)

Friday
Jan252013

The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Ryan Braun

"Who should be the first pick in fantasy baseball drafts?"

There are three primary candidates for you to consider: Mike Trout, Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera. We've already looked at the player profile on Mike Trout.  

 

Now, let's look at Ryan Braun's numbers

Year

LVL

AGE

AB

HR

R

RBI

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

BABIP

FB%

GB%

LD%

2007

MLB

23

451

34

91

97

15

5

.324

.370

.634

.361

34.3%

40.7%

17.2%

2008

MLB

24

611

37

92

106

14

4

.285

.335

.553

.305

36.3%

39.0%

15.1%

2009

MLB

25

635

32

113

114

20

6

.320

.386

.551

.353

22.6%

47.6%

20.7%

2010

MLB

26

619

25

101

103

14

3

.304

.365

.501

.331

24.0%

48.7%

19.0%

2011

MLB

27

563

33

109

111

33

6

.332

.397

.597

.350

28.8%

42.9%

21.8%

2012

MLB

28

598

41

108

112

30

7

.319

.391

.595

.346

31.0%

44.4%

18.2%

 

Pros:

Miller Park, NL Central; power to all fields; durable; consistent

 

Cons:

Limited 30+ steal track record; Rickie Weeks; limited ceiling; Astros move to AL; inflated HR/FB rate

 

Analysis:

Last year I stayed away from Braun in all my drafts because of an irrational fear he would regress due to his potential PED 50-game suspension and the loss of Prince Fielder to the Tigers. I believed he would be walked more and see fewer pitches to hit because he wouldn’t have protection in the lineup. It turned out he put up better numbers than he did during his MVP season in 2011.

 

Then there is his strikeout rate, which was the highest it’s been since 2008 (18.9%). If this trend continues his batting average ceiling could be in the low .300s instead of the .320s.

 

Braun has just turned 29, which may impact on his stolen base potential. Instead of grabbing 30 bags, he may only steal bases in the low 20s.

 

Braun had a career high in home runs with 41, but the home run spike coincided with a career high in his HR/FB rate (22.8%). His average HR/FB rate for his career is 18.8%, so if he regresses back to his average he’ll be a 30-34 home player instead of a 41 homer player. But to be a contrarian, he plays in in Miller Park, the third best home run park for right-handed hitters, so it’s possible he can sustain the home run power he displayed last year.

 

Finally, also consider the move of the Houston Astros to the AL West. The Astros roster looks like a bad Triple-A team and he won't have the opportunity this season to play 16 games against a team that he hit .355 with four homers and 13 RBI last season.