Would You Rather: Hanley Ramirez or Troy Tulowitzki (I'd rather Hanley)

Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Alex Kantecki argues why fantasy owners should take Hanley Ramirez over Troy Tulowitzki for 2013 and beyond.

Would You Rather is a conversation game used as an icebreaker in uncomfortable party situations that often leads to more awkwardness. It's a way to learn things about your peers, and then immediately regret having learned them. Such as, would you rather play patty cake with Moises Alou, or have a thumb war with Antonio Alfonseca?*

*For further explanation, go here and here.

In this week's point/counterpoint series, Fake Teams is playing a Would You Rather** of sorts with a pair of polarizing shortstops. Take a look at the five-by-five roto averages for player a and player b over the last three years:

PAs

BA

HRs

SBs

R

RBIs

Player A

446

.305

22

7

68

76

Player B

557

.270

18

24

75

71

**RotoGraphs started a Would You Rather series two offseasons ago, and it must have seeped into my subconscious. RotoGraphs, the "Simpsons did it" of fantasy baseball.

So, based on the stats, would you rather take player a and sacrifice playing time for more power, or would you rather take player b and sacrifice average for more speed? In case you haven't figured it out yet, player a is Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and player b is Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, and the scenario posed above is a likely dilemma for fantasy owners set on selecting either one on draft day.

Tulowitzki and Ramirez will both be drafted as top shortstops in 2013. But if you had the choice to own one for 2013 and beyond, who would it be? For me, it's Ramirez.

I'm not totally sure where Ramirez will be spending the majority of his time fielding grounders in 2013. At the end of the year, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti suggested Ramirez could be the everyday shortstop with Luis Cruz playing third, and recent reports of the Dodgers shopping Dee Gordon would be good news for his long term prospects at short. But even Tulowitzki's future at the position has come into question, so neither player is a lock to stay at shortstop beyond 2013.

Coming into 2012, Tulowitzki was the consensus No. 1 shortstop, as he hit .302/.372/.544 in 606 plate appearances in 2011. Ramirez, meanwhile, was plagued by injury and struggled to a .243/.333/.379 line in 385 appearances. One year later, and the roles reversed: Ramirez batted .257/.322/.437 in 667 plate appearances in 2012, while Tulowitzki missed the final four months of the season with a groin injury. And that's the problem with Tulowitzki. Since 2008, he's missed 246 games. If you plan on drafting him, you're putting yourself at risk of losing out on a big chunk of production from one of your early round picks.

Following his midseason trade to the Dodgers, it was apparent Ramirez's talent didn't disappear, as he had a higher wRC+ (103 with Marlins; 111 with Dodgers) after being shipped out west:

With the Marlins (395 PA): .246/.322/.428, 14 HR, 49 runs, 48 RBI, 14 SB

With the Dodgers (272 PA): .271/.324/.450, 10 HR, 30 runs, 44 RBI, 7 SB

All things considered, it was a very successful year for Ramirez, who was one of three major league shortstops -- along with Ian Desmond and Jimmy Rollins -- to go 20/20 in 2012. While it's not likely Ramirez pushes 30/30 ever again, it remains very possible he continues to challenge 25 home runs and 20 steals the next two or three years. His strikeout rates are up a little and his walks right are down some, but still not terribly far off from his prime. Ramirez's line drive rates and home run-to-fly ball rates are trending up from last year, and his contact rates are on par with his career averages.

For my money, a rejuvenated Ramirez is more valuable than an injury-prone Tulowitzki. Over a full year, granted, Tulowitzki's power numbers will be better than Ramirez's. But Ramirez will help you across the board, and he won't sink your team in any category. The average is the biggest concern, but seeing him hit 25 points better with Los Angeles is a sign that Hanley is finally healthy and happy.

And, for the record, I'd rather play patty cake with Alou.

Statistics from FanGraphs.

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