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Custom Fantasy Baseball Advice: Encarnacion or Domonic Brown in Keeper Leagues?

Edwin Encarnacion

The following article was written by’s team of expert analysts, in response to a question asked by one of our RotoBaller readers.  You can click here for more info if you’re interested in having RotoBaller’s experts answer a custom fantasy baseball question.

Question Submitted to RotoBaller

I am in a keeper league and am throwing in the towel on this year. I am thinking of trading Yu Darvish for either Edwin Encarnacion or Domonic Brown. I am having a hard time thinking about who will be a better player for the next few years. Obviously, I am intrigued by Brown's upside but if you take away last month, his career has been pretty unimpressive.

  • Player Pool: Mixed
  • # of Teams: 14+
  • League Info and Categories: BA, SB, HR, RBI, R
  • Roster Positions: 8 positions and 2 utility
  • League Host: Yahoo!
  • Any Other League Details: Brown's salary is $1 and Encarnacion' is $5 - Roster has 20 spots and payroll of $300

RotoBaller Detailed Analysis

Thanks for your question!  Let's get right into it:

In a heads-up comparison of solely baseball skills, there is no question who is the more productive player between Encarnacion and Brown. Edwin Encarnacion has high-end home run power, averaging 27 HR per year over his last three seasons with one 40+ HR season and another potential 40+ HR season coming right now.  Domonic Brown, on the other hand, has no track record of producing at the major league level before his ridiculous hot stretch earlier this year.

That said, there are a few other questions at play here.  First, price.  The difference between $1 and $5 is minimal, especially considering a budget of $300, so you shouldn't let that play into your analysis.  Second, you should consider the position:  in your league, you play one 1B and three OF.  In the mixed player universe, there are at most three or four first baseman who we can project to outproduce Encarnacion over the next few years; on the other hand, there are many outfielders who we can reasonably expect to perform at a higher level than Domonic Brown.

The fact is that Edwin Encarnacion was a consensus late-second-round pick going into the 2013 season, and he will be in about the same place going into 2014, if not higher.  With this being the first time Brown has ever produced at above replacement level, it's impossible to predict where he will be going in 2014 drafts, but suffice it to say it will be very hard for him to rise to the same level as Encarnacion.  Brown is a good player, to be sure, but he is not as good as he was during his hot stretch.  His numbers have been inflated by some good luck-- for example, fully 1/4 of all his fly balls in 2013 have left the park.  That's unsustainable over an entire season unless your name is Adam Dunn, and so we can expect Brown's power production to diminish as we get into the dog days of summer and that HR/FB% normalizes.  Furthermore, his walk rate and contact rate are a matter of concern for anyone looking to project his numbers going forward.

Net Net: 

Encarnacion represents the more productive player, and the safer bet here.  Heads up, Brown vs. Encarnacion, Easy-E has to be your guy.

I hope this was helpful, and please continue to hit us up whenever you need fantasy baseball advice.