2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 8: Why Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun Should Be The First Outfielder Taken On Draft Day
Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.
Despite failing to hit 30-plus home runs for the first time in his four-year career last season, Ryan Braun remained among the top fantasy producers at a very deep outfield position. His 2010 stat line (101 runs, 25 HRs, 103 RBI, 14 steals, .304 batting average) was perhaps the worst of his career, which speaks volumes to Braun’s potential entering his age 27 season.
Although Braun hit only 25 homers last year, he set a career-high in doubles with 45, the fifth most in baseball.
One theory which could explain Braun’s “off” season stems from being plunked by Tommy Hanson on May 10 last year. He missed the next two games, and was arguably never the same after, especially in the power department:
- Before May 10: 32 games, 31 runs, 6 HRs, 28 RBI, 18/18 K/BB ratio, .359/.443/.594
- After May 10: 125 games, 70 runs, 19 HRs, 75 RBI, 33/87 K/BB ratio, .289/.342/.490
Braun wasn’t DL’d, but the Tommy Hanson pitch he took off the elbow clearly affected his production at the plate for the remaining four and a half months of the season. Given that he’s finally recovered, another 30-plus HR campaign is most certainly on the horizon.
If that isn’t enough to convince you that Braun is the number one fantasy outfielder, consider the growth in his plate discipline peripherals since he entered the league in 2007. A free-swinger who took just 29 walks in his rookie season, Braun has increased his walk rate and decreased his strikeout rate in each of his first four seasons:
- 2007: 5.9%
- 2008: 6.3%
- 2009: 8.1%
- 2010: 8.2%
- 2007: 24.8%
- 2008: 21.1%
- 2009: 19.1%
- 2010: 17.0%
Similarly, Braun’s contact rate and swinging strike rate have improved each season:
- 2007: 76.3%
- 2008: 79.2%
- 2009: 80.8%
- 2010: 81.8%
Swinging Strike Rate
- 2007: 12.1%
- 2008: 10.5%
- 2009: 8.7%
- 2010: 8.4%
The law of averages (among many other things which we’ll get into in a later post) suggest a regression for the top outfielder in 2010, Carlos Gonzalez, paving the way for Ryan Braun to be drafted as the number one outfielder in 2011.
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Image courtesy of: Steve Paluch
Fantasy Baseball Insiders’ 2011 Big Board:
- No. 1: Albert Pujols
- No. 2: Hanley Ramirez
- No. 3: Miguel Cabrera
- No. 4: Troy Tulowitzki
- No. 5: Adrian Gonzalez
- No. 6: David Wright
- No. 7: Evan Longoria
Previous articles from Fantasy Baseball Insiders:
- 2011 Projections: Adrian Beltre
- The Sub-2.50 ERA Curse: Why Five Elite Starting Pitchers May Regress in 2011
- 2010 Batting Average on Balls in Play Leaders: What to Expect in 2011?
- 2011 Closer’s Corner: Papelbon, Cordero & Rivera Are the Only Reliable Options
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Tags: Ryan Braun