Division Debate: Youngsters Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder Fuel the Fire
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder (Brewers), or Ryan Ludwick and Albert Pujols (Cardinals); which duo would you rather have in your lineup as the 3-4 hitters?
I'm a numbers guy, so here's what I came up with to help me in my decision.
Individual stats from 2008
Ryan Braun - 37 HR, 106 RBI, .285 avg, 42 BB, 129 K
Prince Fielder - 34 HR, 102 RBI, .276 avg, 84 BB, 134 K
Ryan Ludwick - 37 HR, 113 RBI, .299 avg, 62 BB, 146 K
Albert Pujols - 37 HR, 116 RBI, .357 avg, 104 BB, 54 K
2008 Duo stats
Braun/Fielder - 71 HR, 208 RBI, .280 avg, 126 BB, 263 K
Ludwick/Pujols - 74 HR, 229 RBI, .328 avg, 166 BB, 200 K
2008 team stats
Milwaukee - 198 HR, 722 RBI, 550 BB, 1203 K, .253 avg
St. Louis - 174 HR, 744 RBI, 577 BB, 985 K, .281 avg
Percentage of duos production
Braun/Fielder - HR: 36%; RBI: 29%; BB: 23%; K: 22%
Ludwick/Pujols - HR: 43%; RBI: 31%; BB: 29%; K: 20%
So, what's the verdict? I'm taking the boys from Brew City.
Yes, the Cards' duo has the higher percentage of power numbers, while the Brewers walk less and strike out more, but here's my take on the numbers.
I know, Pujols is probably the best hitter in the game today, and is very consistent, but the future is also very bright for Prince and Brauny.
Pujols will always give you .320-30-100, but still has no help offensively.
Fielder supposedly had an off-year after hitting 50 HR in 2007. Who can hit 50 HR year after year, without being probed by the steroid questions?
Did his loss of power coincide with him becoming a vegetarian? No way, he may be vegetarian, but he his still undoubtedly the 'meat' of the Brewers' order.
With the lower percentage of power numbers for Braun and Fielder, that means the rest of the team is capable of producing as well.
When the rest of the team can help, that reduces the pressure that the youngsters have on them.
The two can then relax at the plate knowing that they aren't alone, which I think actually results in better production.
Ludwick and Pujols have added pressure on themselves, seeing as how they combine for a lot of the Cardinals' offense. If they fail to maintain the high numbers, their fall is further down than others.
Ludwick has the potential to be a great counterpart to "Fat Albert," but in this game, the word "potential is like the plague.
Pujols proved last year that he can't carry the team by himself, and the Brewers duo proved that when one is down, the other has his back.
When Milwaukee went into its typical summer slide last year, it was Prince who carried the offense in early September. When Prince fell off the production train, Braun put the team on his back, and lifted them into the playoffs.
Braun and Fielder are the ultimate teammates, joking around the clubhouse 24/7. They know when to be goofy, and when they need to get down to business.
That says nothing negative about Pujols and Ludwick, but if I was making the lineup card, I'm definitely putting Milwaukee's 1-2 punch at 3-4 in the order.
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