Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Who'd You Rather: Jose Bautista or Dom Brown?

This may seen like a situation where Bautista chases the pitcher in the third inning, but the crazy rumors (or rumours, for our French-Canadian readers) of the Toronto Blue Jays – Philadelphia Phillies swap compelled me to compare these two outfielders.

Somebody get a banjo because it’s time for another episode of….

Dueling Right Fielders!

Jose Bautista3345282287369847.259.358.498
Dom Brown2649665278339978.272.324.494

You may not have expected them to be so similar. It’s hard not to have Bautista’s 54 homers in 2010 and 43 in 2011 anchored in your brain. So let me make a quick case for each man, then I’ll leave you with a few concluding thoughts.

The Case for Jose Bautista

Simply put, Jose Bautista has a better track record. And we’re talking about the player who had such an insane breakout that analysts for clamoring for any sort of track record to verify it. By now we have a pretty good read on the type of hitter Bautista is, so I’ll keep his section short.

2010 – 54 Home Runs to go with a .260 AVG. This was the season he shocked the world.

2011 – 43 Home Runs to go with a .302 AVG, albeit with an inflated BABIP. This was also the season he convinced the fantasy baseball world that he was for real.

2012 – 27 Home Runs and a .241 AVG in the midst of an injury-plagued season.

2013 – 28 Home Runs and a .259 AVG in the midst of an injury-plagued season.

In the interest of brevity I don’t want to redo all the analysis on Bautista. Indeed, I came here not to condemn the man, but to praise him! So just three quick thoughts:

  1. His power is for real. We believe in it, we trust it.
  2. He’s battled injuries and at age 33 that won’t get any better.
  3. He knows his balls and strikes.

I think these three things are significant to point out because they are often the factors that will be used as a primary point of comparison to Brown, which makes for a nifty transition.Who'd You Rather Hitter

The Case for Dom Brown

You don’t break out until you break out. Just ask Jose Bautista. But just like Bautista, fantasy owners don’t trust Domonic Brown‘s first success and will be looking at 2014 as a confirmation moving forward.

Critics commonly point to three things:

1. Brown got a huge chunk of his homers in one month – May.

2. During the same stretch, Brown didn’t take a base on balls.

3. Dom Brown plays in Philadelphia, but wore a Dallas Cowboys jersey.

Sure, Brown had an unusual month of May and that has us perplexed, but it should also leave us excited. Month splits have very little utility in analysis. There’s nothing particular about a month, and there’s nothing particular about the month of May.

In 2013, two things happened: Brown got regular playing time and Brown started swinging at more pitches earlier in the count. He flipped the “I’ll punish early fastballs” switch.

It’s not all roses and sunshine however. His average homer distance was a little lower than you’d expect for a guy with 27 home runs, which suggests that many of them were of the “just enough” category. Yet, his park plays well for a left-handed pull hitter, so that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that his power seemed to play up. He’ll also need to keep a HR/FB% above 20 if he wants to see 25+ homers again in 2104.

Who’d You Rather?

Given Bautista’s name recognition and the memory of that magical 50+ homer season, I think he’ll be drafted too high as a rule. I had also previously written a piece comparing Dom Brown to Jay Bruce, so I’ve spent enough time in his underlying component numbers to have a good degree of confidence that he’s for real and will be a threat in 2014 as well.

Factoring in age and the fact that Brown will be drafted much later that Bautista, I’m calling this match a surprising upset for Brown.


Tags: Domonic Brown Fantasy Baseball Jose Bautista Philadelphia Phillies Toronto Blue Jays

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