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Who Would You Rather Have: Stephen Drew Or Rafael Furcal??

With fantasy drafts coming up, I conducted a reader survey over at Fake Teams asking the readers what types of articles they wanted to see on the site. This article is in response to one of the reader's requests.

Coming off an outstanding 2008 season, the Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew was highly ranked going into 2009 fantasy drafts. I ranked him ahead of Troy Tulowitzki, and Tulo made me look pretty bad for doing so. Drew's 2008 season was in a word-tremendous. He went 21-67-91-.291-.333-.502. In addition to the 21 HRs, Drew hit 44 doubles and 11 triples for a total of 76 extra base hits. The 76 XBHs lead many to think he could approach the 30 HR mark in 2009, but it was not to be. Drew hit only 12 HRs in 2009, driving in 65 runs, scoring 71 runs, with a slash line of .265-.320-.428.

So what happened? Drew actually improved his BB rate from 6.2% to 8.2%, and decreased his K% from 17.8% to 16.3% in 2009. His FB% stayed steady around 42%, but his LD% dropped from 22.6% to 18.9% and his HR/FB% dropped from 9.7% to 6.3%. His BABIP also dropped from .322 in 2008 to .288 in 2009.

Bill James projects Drew to go 17-71-80-.275-.335-.456 in 2010, but I think he can beat his projections as long as he can maintain his K/BB rate, and increase his LD% in 2010.

Rafael Furcal had terrific numbers in 2008 with a slash line of .357-..439-.573, but unfortunately that covered only 143 at bats, as Furcal had back surgery in 2008. Some experts felt he was completely healthy after putting up that slash line upon returning from the DL. That was not the case, however. Furcal's 2009 season was underwhelming, as he went 9-47-92-12-.269-.346-.391 in 613 at bats.

Furcal's OPS is trending down. In 2007, his OPS was .684, and in 2009 it increased slightly to .711. But prior to 2007, Furcal's OPS ranged from .758 to .814. In 2009, Furcal's BB and K rates were right around his career averages of 9% and 14% respectively. Furcal has become a ground ball hitting machine, as his GB% increased from 49.7% in 2007 to 53.1% in 2009, and his FB% dropped from 32% in 2007 to 28% in 2009.

Furcal's SB attempts are trending down as well. Here are his SB attempts over the last 5 seasons-56, 50, 31, 11, ad 18. The 11 SB attempts in his injury shortetned 2008 season lead many to beleive he would go back to stealing again, but that was not the case. I watch alot of Dodgers games, and he isn't running like he used to. He has lost a step on the basepaths, which further hurts his fantasy value.

Bill James project Furcal to go 10-50-94-16-.278-.346-.391 in 2010, but I would be surprised if he meets those projections. As a Dodgers fan, I hope he can meet or beat James projection, but, realistically, I don't see it happening.

I would be long Stephen Drew and short Rafael Furcal in 2010 (stock market lingo for buying Drew and selling Furcal).