Braun's fantasy baseball player profile
- Power, power, power: Last year Braun smacked 32 dingers, and almost half
of his batted balls were grounders. His HR/FB remained relatively the same
as '08; as long as he lifts more pitches, he should come close to 40 homers.
The baseline for Braun is more established than his Dodgers
counterpart. We've seen it from Braun for three seasons. Sure, Kemp is on
the upswing, but not everyone improves drastically each year; do you want
to risk that with your No. 1 pick?
Improving eye = BA stability
- OK, I admit Braun's stolen base potential doesn't compare to Kemp's ...
but Braun will snag enough that you won't have to risk drafting a lone-category
contributor later. You'll be establishing a stronger power base while not
- The 26-year-old Braun is showing more signs of maturity at the plate: His
batting eye and contact rate have both improved two seasons running. Keep
in mind he didn't have a ton of minor league seasoning. His indicators suggest
he could keep his batting average high while not sacrificing homers.
- Kemp was spotted with Rihanna this offseason (definitely not a bad thing),
plays in a major baseball market and will have a spotlight on him this year
like he hasn't had before. Braun plays in the land of beer, brats and football.
Unless he starts wearing a Brett Favre Vikings jersey during games, he'll
likely remain relatively spotlight-free.
: It's a choice between an established star who still has some upside and a rising star who isn't yet completely established. Taking the latter is fine later in the draft, but with your first pick you want minimal risk. That's Braun.
Cory J. Bonini
Kemp's fantasy baseball player profile
- Kemp is basically a lock to be a .290-plus hitter, especially because of
his high liner percentage. An improved batting eye from 2008 to 2009 suggests
more patience from the blossoming 25-year-old.
Kemp's home run total improved to 26 from 18 the year before in as many at-bats
(606). His groundball percentage (40.4 from 45.0) came down while his HR/FB
rate climbed from 12.3 percent to 14.4 in '09. He homered and doubled more
often in the second half, too.
Kemp on the rise
- He is a potential 30-30 threat after swiping 35 and 34 bags the past two
years, respectively. Detractors say he runs less when Manny
Ramirez is in the lineup, but last year Kemp ran just as often after Ramirez
returned from suspension as he did before that.
- Given his production level and steady improvement, the Dodgers
are likely to use Kemp in a more prominent lineup spot, like they did in the
2009 season's final two months.
- He could be significantly better. The center fielder has shown two years
of quality play and improvement. His upside is palpable.
: All indicators suggest Kemp will have another fine season, and natural maturation at his age points to further improvement. Even with all of the positives surrounding Kemp, it's risky to draft him ahead of Ryan Braun
because Kemp hasn't quite reached prime age.
KFFL staff verdict
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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