The question of who is the better player between Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki has been an obsession of mine since the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting results (or snub, depending on your point of view) were reported to the world.
Non-statheads and traditionalists (and Brewer fans) would most likely choose Ryan Braun based on his counting stats total over the past 3 years (.308/.363/.574 with 103 HR and 317 RBI) and say that he is far superior to Tulowitzki's (.286/.359/.486 with 64 HR and 237 RBI) over that same stretch. As a side note, I am not including Tulowitzki's cup of coffee as a September call up in 2006 in these tallies; also of note Braun has a 15 game advantage over the past 3 seasons due to the inuries suffered by Tulowitzki durin the 2008 season.
But if you look deeper into advanced metrics for determining player value, the case can be made that Tulowitzki is the better player. According to fangraphs Braun has compiled WAR totals over the past 3 years of 3.2, 4 and 4.8 for a total of 12 while Tulo has put up 5.4, 0.9 and 5.4 for a total of 11.7. If you factor in the fact that Braun has played 15 more games and put it in terms of a WAR/game measure its Braun 0.285 and Tulo 0.287.
Baseball Prospectus thinks Tulo is better by a much bigger margin when you look at 3rd degree WARP numbers. Braun has a WARP3 factor of 15.3 and Tulowitzki 17.3.
Looking forward, Pecota and Chone both look more favorably upon Tulowitzki than Braun. While Marcels gives Braun the edge.
There is no question that Braun is the better hitter. But we're trying to look at value here and who is the better PLAYER overall. Tulowitzki has great defense at a premium position, and is now starting to hit a little better which drives up his value, while Braun has superior offense at the least valuable defensive position.
Both players have been signed to long term deals at a deep discount, thus providing tremendous surplus value in a trade. Bruan has the edge in this department by about $2 to $4 million.
Who is the better player? What are your thougts?