Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:35 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 10:46 am

By Matt Snyder

As we continue the ongoing series of Would You Rather Have, we'll tackle a PED-themed version today. As every baseball fan surely knows by now, Ryan Braun failed a drug test and is facing a 50-game suspension for the beginning of the 2012 season, unless his appeal is upheld. Jose Bautista, on the other hand, has never failed an MLB drug test. However, I'd wager a hefty sum that if the Braun news first broke as "an unnamed All-Star slugger has tested positive for a banned substance" that the overwhelming majority of people would have guessed Bautista was the culprit.

In no uncertain terms, I think it's unfair how many people -- and it's not just fans, some media members are in on the witch hunt -- seem to believe that Bautista could not possibly get better at age 29 without having cheated. I've written about it multiple times (like here) but it drives me crazy. His body type hasn't changed one bit. Then again, neither has Braun's.

Whatever the case may be, that's why I connected these two superstar corner outfielders. Fair or not, one of these players has failed a drug test and the other has the suspicions of the majority of baseball fans. Since they are both big-time power hitters and play a corner outfield position, the debate works. Let's dive in.

The case for Bautista

Last year at this time many people believed the slugger's breakout campaign in 2010 was a fluke, but then Bautista went out and had an even better all-around season. He was once again punished for not playing on a team in contention in the MVP voting, finishing third. This time around it was much more egregious, considering the batting average and on-base percentage gains made. Bautista led the AL in home runs, walks, slugging percentage, OPS and Wins Above Replacement, version (he actually tied Justin Verlander there with 8.5).  Bautista's 181 OPS-plus led the majors and is insane (if you aren't familiar with the stat, it's ballpark adjusted and means Bautista's OBP plus slugging percentage was 81 percent better than the league average).

Would You Rather Have
Also impressive, Bautista walked more times than he struck out, an amazing feat for a slugger of his caliber. Albert Pujols regularly does it, but not many other power hitters ever do.

While neither outfielder here is going to approach a Fielding Bible Award any time soon -- both rate out poorly in advanced defensive metrics -- Bautista has a nice arm in right field, racking up 13 outfield assists in 116 games last season (he played 25 games at third). Using the eye test, too, I'd much rather have Bautista in the outfield than Braun.

Oh, and Bautista isn't facing a 50-game suspension.

The case for Braun

The 2011 NL MVP, Braun had a spectacular season with 33 homers, 111 RBI, 109 runs, 33 stolen bases and led the NL in slugging percentage and OPS. His OPS-plus was 166 and WAR was 7.7, for comparison's sake. Since winning the NL Rookie of the Year (after playing just 113 games) in 2007, Braun has been one of the best hitters in all of baseball.

Again, neither is a very good defender in terms of range or saving runs for his pitching staff, but one thing Braun does very well is not commit errors. He's only made six errors in the past four seasons combined. So while he won't get to as many balls as, say, Brett Gardner, Braun is sure-handed when he does.

If you wanna use age, Braun isn't that much younger than Bautista. He does have a three-year lead, as he turned 28 in November while Bautista turned 31 in October.

Our call

You can call me petty, but I'm going with Bautista until -- if ever -- he fails a drug test of his own. I'm pretty sure I would have leaned that way in October, but it would have been incredibly tough. That's irrelevant now, though, because Braun's name is tainted, even if temporarily, while Bautista's is not.

Vote away, and I have to say, I'm very interested to see how this one goes down. Lots of different issues in play, so let's hear those opinions. Please do keep in mind this is moving forward. Even if Braun misses 50 games this year, he's signed with the Brewers into his late 30s.

Fan Vote:

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Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 5:43 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

Can we stop with this notion that Braun tested positive for a PED?  From the more recent articles written about this, it seems clear that Braun had a private medical issue that needed to be taken care of, and he just forgot to get the medication cleared with MLB. 
Sorry, but I dont believe this for a second unless and until I hear some proof about what "private medical issue" required medication that included apparently ridiculously high levels of synthetic testosterone.  From the "more recent articles" -- I've seen a lot of talk about herpes or something -- you don't treat that with synthetic testosterone.  Maybe he's innocent, maybe not -- but I have yet to hear a convincing theory for why Braun would test positive for such a high level of syth testosterone.

the source that leaked this, (illegally I might add, since the appeal process had not been completed
The leak was not "illegal" -- there is no law on the subject.  The CBA says its supposed to be confidential, but that does not make it illegal.  As for doctor-patient privilege, that was already at least partially waived as the results are give to MLB, otherwise testing would be useless, and positive results do get released to the public (after the appeals process ideally).

Since: Nov 18, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 5:00 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

I'd rather have beauty than Braun.  HEY: did anyone else notice that every time Ryan Braun was shown close-up his eyes looked the size of golf balls?  Or is he just the next Marty Feldman?  

Bautista's swing is monstrous but Bautista will soon be playing like my seesta.  (See Buddy Guy, "Old Man Blues"...)  He's not really too old -- cripes, the Rockies paid Michael CudGoodyear a pile of cash and he's frickin' 33 on March 27th.   

Hey Readers Out There:  Who would you rather have?  1. Matt Snyder or 2. this community college journalism student hottie right here who just handed me my burger?  

Since: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: January 16, 2012 4:50 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

     Baseball fans are so educated, and get more knowledgable  each day, and with each player caught about all things  steroids. Lets see where do I begin.
     One, we all know you need a certain amount of time off of the drugs before a test in order for the drugs to wash out of your system, in order for you to pass and be deemed clean. Somewhere in the realm of 14 to 30 days it seems, and a minimum10 days swhich Ben Johnson tried to push in Seoul because of an injury. OK, now if you don't want to go that route then you will either have to substitute what is being tested, generally blood, usually urine, for a clean sample. That is submit someone else's that is presumably clean. In other words ...cheat. LOL, I mean cheat again. Or, you can mask the drug with a masking agent, with which you would have to be very careful, and totally educate yourself as to what is working, and what the testers have caught up with. I think people are being caught largely because their masking agents are either out of date, or they did not take the agent properly. Either way these are some options for cheaters that most of us know about. In short you have to be pretty dumb, or work very hard in order to be caught. Further, the downside for sports, and sports fans, is there is ample opportunity if you want to use steroids and be deemed clean.
     Now who is on the juice ? Well, just take one look at the athlete. In Barry Bonds' case, don't even presume, assume, go to court or anything..He is Guiltier than Judas. The skeletal structure is ectomorphic, that is he was created by God, or selected by nature to be skinny, as he was before he started crankin juice. The same applies to A-Rod. In Bond's case, well the juice also morphed his skull. He also is bloated a lot of the time when on the juice, much as Alistair Overreem is now. Marked changes in body can be an indicator, but you can put on considerable strength and weight naturally, through consistent sound strength training, and proper diet. Acne in weird places on the body, or severe back acne, that a lot of the time doesn't look right is an indicator. Skull, or jaw morphing is another in men. Lean to fat ratio is a good indicator, as this also changes. I look at extreme vascularity, as in Jeff Bagwell's forearms, Ryan Braun et al.
   Anyway I'm gettin off track here, but just looking at Braun tells me you can be a skinny rail with an almost caved in chest, and still be crankin. We get better educated every day.

Since: Jul 12, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:55 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

Can we stop with this notion that Braun tested positive for a PED?  From the more recent articles written about this, it seems clear that Braun had a private medical issue that needed to be taken care of, and he just forgot to get the medication cleared with MLB.  Unfortunately, this is what will probably end up costing him the 50 games.  However, the ESPN writers that wrote he tested positive for a PED and the source that leaked this, (illegally I might add, since the appeal process had not been completed yet), should be held accountable for writing a misleading headline that will unfairly ruin Ryan Braun's reputation.  Not to mention doctor-patient confidentiality was violated too.

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:52 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

Should he still come clean if in fact he is innocent?

When something like this comes out, everyone says "Come clean", but what if when he says he didn't do anything wrong, he is being truthful.

If you were a pro baseball player and clean and someone said you failed a drug test, would you 'come clean' or re-affirm your innocence.

No one can prove then DIDN'T do something.

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:52 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

Bautista has been carrying the offence for the Jays since he's been in town. Braun on the otherhand has had the luxury of having Fielder protect him in the lineup. Now that Prince has and most likely will leave Milwaukee let's see how Braun does now that he is the one having to carry the load...well for 112 games atleast. Now Bautista will be the one having a young group of slugger's that are coming into their own to help him get more RBI's once opposing team's realize that they won't be able to walk and pitch around him so much. Rasmus, Arancibia, Lind and yes, the next 30/30 man...Brett Lawrie. All are 20+ Home run guys and with the upside of Rasmus, Lawrie and Arancibia this offence Should be able to keep up with the likes of New York and Boston.

Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:44 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

braun easy,he's been through 2 penant races while batista plays with no pressure after june 1st.he's a better overall hitter than batista,we'll see how he does minus the juice,batista does have the edge in that he hasn't been busted with ped's yet.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:28 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

It's crazy what Bautista has done the last two years after never having done anything! I WANT him to be clean and hope he never tests positive for anything illegal! If he can continue to do what he's done the last two years, I don't know why ANYBODY would choose Braun over him. Braun's always had protection hitting behind him with Fielder and Bautista has put up SICK numbers with absolutely no protection behind him OR in front of him. Plus Bautista gets a couple extra points for being able to play 3B too and not just OF. Gimme Bautista all day long over Braun!

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:26 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

Bautista...he is allowed to play right?

Since: Jan 15, 2012
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:20 pm

Would You Rather Have: Bautista or Braun?

I'll have to go with Bautista for a few reasons.

1. He is a good defender at 3rd base and his assists in the outfield can't be discounted.  His ability to play both well makes him a valuable asset to any team.

2.  Bautista hit 54 HRs and ove r90 extra base hits in 2010 and had 43 HRs with a better BA and OPS in 2011.  he did this without a top hitter batting behind him as Braun had in Prince Fielder.  Bautista would have gotten a lot more pitches to hit (like Braun did) if he had that level player hitting behind him.

Braun is excellent.  Currently, Bautista is better.  The extra stolen bases put up by Braun do not make up for the additional power and defensive 
flexibilty that Bautista provides.

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