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Fantasy Baseball: Is Ryan Braun Over-Hyped?

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Two days ago, I posted my top NL outfielders, with the Dodgers Matt Kemp as my number 1 outfielder in the NL ahead of Ryan Braun. A few weeks ago, I ranked Matt Kemp ahead of Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez in NL-only leagues for 2010. Readers of Faketeams have questioned my ranking of Matt Kemp. Today, I present more stats for my stance on Matt Kemp vs Ryan Braun.

Here are their stats through Thursday 9/24/2009:

Kemp, Matt CF LA 575 96 176 26 100 51 134 34 0.306 0.362 0.510
Braun, Ryan J. LF MIL 593 106 185 29 103 56 112 16 0.312 0.381 0.536

Their stats are about even. Kemp has 18 more SBs than Braun, while Braun has 3 more HRs and RBI than Kemp, along with 10 more runs scored. Braun has the power to hit 40 HRs in the near future. I think he is an excellent hitter, and will be drafted before Kemp in many drafts in 2010. But should he? I say no.

Consider that Kemp spent most of the season hitting between 6th and 8th in the Dodgers lineup, while Braun hit 3rd in the Brewers lineup all year. Recently, manager Joe Torre has been hitting Kemp 4th or 5th in the lineup, which is where he will probably hit for most of next season. So, he spent most of the season hitting in the bottom 3rd of the Dodgers lineup, and still has comparable stats to Braun.

Braun is a great hitter, and even better power hitter. He hits in a Brewers lineup with Prince Fielder hitting behind him. Yet, his power numbers are down from the last two years, and his HR/FB% has dropped each of the last two years, while Kemp's HR/FB% has increased this season. In addition, his walks are up, his K's are down, and he is hitting more fly balls than Braun.

What happens should the Brewers trade Prince Fielder? There have been a few rumors that the Brewers may dangle Prince this offseason for much needed pitching help. Plenty of teams will be calling GM Doug Melvin this offseason. The Brewers will have a tough time signing Fielder to a long term deal.

This is something to consider come draft day 2010.