Comparing Hanley Ramirez and Albert Pujols is like comparing apples and oranges. Except in this case both fruit kind of taste the same, yet still are very different.
You have the speedy flare of Ramirez against the cautious baserunning style of Pujols. The strikeout prone Ramirez opposed to the high-contact approach of Pujols.
One thing these guys have in common is that they can both hit the lights out and have the ability to hit balls over the fence to all parts of the field.
From the prospective of a fantasy owner, both guys bring all types of different things to the table. SB's, OBP, OPS, HR's, RBI...etc. We could really be here all day, these guys are just that good. For next year's owners who find themselves with the No. 1 pick in their fantasy draft ready at their disposal, a tough question presents itself.
Who do I select? The freakishly consistent Albert Pujols, or the fantasy stud Hanley Ramirez.
Now, let's say you have the first pick in next year's draft, and your in a keeper league that has a ESPN standard scoring system. If your league has a custom based scoring system then you might want to throw what your about to read out of the window and just see which guy's abilities will garner you more points in relation to your custom system.
Back to the standard scoring league, what would really help is if somehow you could see over the last three years, who has been a more valuable fantasy player. Ramirez has only been playing full time for the past three years, so his numbers from his first three seasons will go up against Pujols' past three season.
First, let's take a look at Ramirez's stats for the past three years.
A couple of things jump out right away. His home-run total has steadily risen along with his strikeout rate. Also, his SB's are steadily decreasing. These are both very interesting.
While the HR and SO rate are something to be expected, the SB rate is a little startling. The speed is obviously still there because his caught stealing numbers are pretty consistent in his first two years, and then in his third year actually decreased due to his lack of attempts.
I attribute this to the manager, Freddie Gonzalez who took over as manager for the Florida Marlins last year, after Joe Girardi left for the Bronx. With stolen bases being something that almost gave HanRam the edge over Pujols, this almost gives owners more of an incentive to draft the flat footed Pujols.
But who knows, a change in management could come in the offseason with the Marlins' inconsistency this year, so the argument of Hanley stealing less doesn't hold much weight.
In his first three years, he average about 45.6 SB, not bad at all, and I expect Ramirez to steal around 30 bases annually for the rest of his career.
HanRam had a killer year in 2007, where he posted a line of .332/.386/.592/.948 and hit 29 HR with 81 RBI to go along with 51 SB and only 95 SO to go with 52 BB.
In his 2008 campaign, he increased his OBP, BB, and HR totals. But most of his other categories saw a small decrease, with the exception being 16 less SB with 35 bags for that year.
For his first three seasons, his offensive averages were: .308/.381/.527/.907/ 191 H/ 26 HR/ 69 RBI/ 115 SO/ 66 BB/ 45.6 SB/ 620 AB respectively.
Using ESPN's Fantasy Baseball Standard Scoring System Hanley Ramirez averaged 516 points for the past three years. Not bad for a guy just getting his feet wet in the MLB.
Now it's time to put Albert's stats are under the microscope.
Now, remember Ramirez's last three years have been his first three in the MLB and Pujols' have been his sixth, seventh, and eighth.
At first glance, all of Pujols' stats look incredible: his average, HR totals, RBI, low SO total...etc. They all look freakish actually. But when you look closely, you see that sandwiched between the monster years of '07 and '09, where Pujols had one of his worse seasons.
Granted this season could be dozens of other MLB player's career year by itself.
In 2007, Albert played in his third highest game total, 158 games, yet he saw almost every offensive category decrease. Every stat on his batting line decreased with the smallest being .2 percent points in his OBP, meanwhile his BA dropped .4 percent points. All in all, nothing to be concerned about.
Other stats decreased too, he hit 17 less HR, drove in 34 less batters, and accounted for 20 less runs. He increased his walk total by seven, his hit total by eight, and his strike out total actually increased by eight.
To me, these stats are just a result of Pujols just trying to do too much for an offensively challenged team.
The next year, all of these stats increased showing that 2007 was just a fluke. Over his past three seasons, Pujols has put out an impressive .338/.440/.630/.1.1071 batting line, he also averaged 183 H/ 39 HR/ 118 RBI/ 54 SO/ 98 BB/ 3.5 SB/541 AB.
Using ESPN's Fantasy Baseball Standard Scoring Albert Pujols averaged 611 fantasy points, 95 more points than Hanley Ramirez averaged over that time.
Now, if the reader is saying, "Well of course Pujols is going to average fantasy points, he had five years under his belt before the three that you recorded." We'll take a look at this stat, if you use ESPN scoring system and run Pujols' first three years through, he averaged 609 fantasy points. Still a considerable amount more than Ramirez.
This shows just how consistent Pujols is, and if your the type of owner who likes to know what exactly they are getting, then you're best bet is to probably to go with Albert Pujols.
But, if you like to go outside the norm pick, Hanley Ramirez.
He is an absolute stud, he will hit for average, hit for power, steal bases, tally runs, drive in guys on base. Anything you want in terms of offense, he can provide. He is going to hit 30/30 this year, that is a sexy combo in fantasy baseball.
When it comes to who to draft out of the two, you really have to look at not only the numbers I have presented, but also this year's numbers, and what your draft strategy is.
If you want a top offensive player who can allow you to go after pitching, then get Albert. If you want a guy who can do everything, but might not be able to put up the points like Pujols, then go with Ramirez and just get another bat within the next couple of rounds.
Both of these guys are great players and are having great years. Their styles compare and contrast, making next year's No. 1 pick for most owners about as easy as picking between apples and oranges.