The news broke today that, much to the chagrin of Major League Baseball, Ryan Braun has won his appeal and will avoid a 50 game suspension. Now suddenly available for the full year, we all know that he is a first round lock. Where does he now fall on our Top 40 Outfielder list? Let’s take a look:
- Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
- Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
- Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
- Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox
- Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
- Josh Hamilton – Texas Rangers
- Mike Stanton – Miami Marlins
- Curtis Granderson – New York Yankees
- Hunter Pence – Philadelphia Phillies
- Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
- Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
- Michael Bourn – Atlanta Braves
- Alex Gordon – Kansas City Chiefs
- Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
- Shin-Soo Choo – Cleveland Indians
- Desmond Jennings – Tampa Bay Rays
- Corey Hart – Milwaukee Brewers
- You could argue the order of Bautista, Kemp and Braun, but no matter how you slice it they are the clear top options at the position. Regardless of your preference, they are all virtual locks to go within the first six picks on draft day.
- If Prince Fielder were still in Milwaukee I would be a little more apt to put Braun in the first two slots. However, Aramis Ramirez just isn’t going to put the same scare into opposing pitchers and isn’t likely to drive in as many runs as Fielder did. Could Braun be intentionally walked more often? Could his runs scored drop slightly? Those questions keep him third on the list for me.
- One of the results of Braun’s rise in the rankings is Curtis Granderson now falling outside the Top 10. I spoke about Granderson a few weeks ago (click here to view), explaining why I felt he was too big of a risk to be taken in the early part of the second round. There is just too much chance of a significant regression from his 2011 production. Does anyone really expect him to come close to replicating his 119 RBI and 136 R performance?
- Generally I am not a big proponent of taking someone who is all stolen bases and minimal (if any) power. However, I definitely would make an exception with Michael Bourn since he has the potential to virtually win the category for you. Over the past three years his low in SB is 52, including two years of over 60. Throw in the fact that he could reach 100 R for the first time in his career, playing the full year in Atlanta, and there is an awful lot to like.
- Will this be the year that Jay Bruce finally puts it all together? What he needs to do is add consistency. Of his 32 HR in 2011, 12 of them came in May and 7 in August. In rotisserie style leagues it doesn’t matter much, but in head-to-head leagues it’s a potential killer.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings: