Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Ryan Braun or Matt Kemp, more

by Todd Zola, on July 24, 2013 @ 13:44:05 PDT


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Mixed League - Junior Lake or Henry Urrutia?

Los Angeles Dodgers OF Matt Kemp
Most prefer Kemp

RC: Junior Lake, though I haven't really seen either guy play, and both could be merely stop-gaps for their teams, so I will go with the guy with the clearer path to potential everyday playing time, and that for me is Lake. He can play multiple positions and the Cubs will be selling at the trade deadline, and all it will take is an Alfonso Soriano or Nate Schierholtz trade to get Lake regular at bats. 

PVH: To me this is first a question of AB which favor Lake and then category contributions which again favor Junior.

TH: Urrutia could see more competition for AB in Baltimore and doesn't have much upside outside of BA, maybe SB. The Cubs want to see what Lake can offer as they make long-term plans. Give me Lake. It has to be a deep league for me to consider either, though.

LM: Lake, since he's hot, thus more likely to stick.

TZ: I'll make it a consensus. I like Lake's shortstop eligibility as well as the path to playing time.

More likely to draft in the first round next season -- Matt Kemp or Ryan Braun?

RC: Ryan Braun - Both players will be risks, but even post-PEDs I think I would rather gamble on Braun staying healthy and providing first-round value. 

PVH: Pretty sure it will be Kemp as players view the ultimate upside, plus some will have Braun on their do not draft list after being burned this year.

TH: Ask me this question again in November, but for now I'll say Braun. We can't be certain about how long he was taking supplements, and we can guess that with the mountain of evidence MLB has on him, he has had to wean himself off the stuff and allow enough time for his body to adjust to a down cycle. It's not like this is Alex Sanchez trying to beat the system; Braun's still a heckuva hitter. Of course, a strong finish by Kemp to this season will propel the Dodger ahead of him. Both are late-first- or early-second-round considerations for me, at best, on July 23.

LM: Kemp. Damn you Ryan Braun! Destroyer of my NFBC team.

TZ: What Lawr fails to mention is he wanted Kemp but, due to a glitch, he got Braun. I, on the other hand was of sound mind and body when I made Braun the second overall pick in my National Fantasy Baseball Championship league, but I am not cursing him, at least not too loudly as I have managed to keep the team afloat and am in strong contention for the lead.

I don't regret the decision and am not falling into the "What if I drafted Mike Trout?" trap that no doubt is being uttered by those of us that bypassed Trout for Braun. Fact is, if I took Trout instead, it isn't fair to just add on the difference in stats and say "this is where I would be if I drafted Trout" because the entire draft flow would have been different and I may have picked 22 different players. Say I took Trout. What does the team with the third pick do? What if they took Cano? They now have a second baseman instead of Trout, so their team construction could be different. The team taking Cano has to take a different player, and this snowballs down the line.

OK, enough. I'm procrastinating answering my own question.

I'm going to say Kemp mainly because Braun's acceptance back to an MLB clubhouse is going to be an issue. I know winning cures all that ails and if Jeffrey Dahmer could throw a 95 mph fastball he'd have an eating disorder (credit to ex NFLer Fred Smerlas for that line), but there is something personal about being lied to that makes this different.

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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