In our Fake Teams Fantasy All Star series, I will be writing up the National League Outfield All Star piece and have two easy choices in Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen. I was thinking about who I would rather have for fantasy purposes this season last night, and posed the question on Twitter. The majority picked Braun, so that lead to writing this piece, because I think it is closer than you might think.
Ryan Braun is having another monster season at the plate, a year after winning the NL MVP award (I think Matt Kemp had the better season though). Braun is hitting .309-.389-.604 with 23 HRs, 52 runs, 58 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts. He leads the NL in home runs, is second in RBI, is third in SLG, 6th in OPS, 8th in runs scored and 9th in batting average. We are right around the exact mid-point in the 162 game schedule for most teams, so you can pretty much double their stats from here and get an idea as to their projection for the whole season. Braun is on pace for a 47 homer, 117 RBI, 105 runs scored and 26 stolen base season in 2012. In other words, Braun COULD hit 50 home runs, a few months after testing positive for PEDs.
Andrew McCutchen is the best player on the surging Pirates team. The Pirates are the surprise team in the NL this season, and McCutchen is one of the reasons for the team's success so far. McCutchen is hitting .360-.411-.612 with 16 HRs, 52 runs, 54 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 18 attempts. He leads the NL in battting average, is second in SLG and OPS, 6th in HR and RBI and 8th in runs scored. He is on pace to hit 32 home runs, score 105 runs, knock in 109 and steal 28 bases.
I own Braun in one of my NL-only roto leagues, grabbing him with the 2nd pick in the draft, right after Matt Kemp was chosen with the first overall pick. The draft is a bit different than most others, as the first 3 rounds of the snake draft go: 1-10, 10-1, 10-1, as the third round starts with the 10th pick like the second round. Also, when drawing for slot position, if you have #1, you can choose to pick 1st or 10th. I had #2 and chose to pick #2, and I am glad I did. But can see the reasoning for wanted to pick 10th or 9th in this draft.
Anyway, if i had to choose between McCutchen and Braun, I think I would lean Braun, but I love McCutchen as well. I just think that power is more valuable than speed, and while McCutchen is having an MVP type season, Braun is a bit more valuable for fantasy purposes, due to having more power.
The two are ver close in runs, RBI and stolen bases, Braun has more power by a wide margin, while McCutchen has the better BA by a wide margin. Both will be first round picks in 2013, and it is possible both could put up 30-30 seasons this season.
Who would you rather have on your fantasy team this season?