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Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are Really Good

A projection is not only a best guess at future production but also a good estimate to the true talent level of a player. It basically averages out a player's past performance, with an emphasis on what he has done most recently, and a few adjustments for age and park and such. 

Fangraphs has a neat projection feature, Rest-of-season ZiPS (rzips or ROS in the player columns). It changes daily based on performance so far, and it will give you the cumulative stats and the rate stats.

So if you head on over to fangraphs and click the "ZIPS (ROS)" tab under projections, you will see a list sorted by wOBA that gives you the hitters projected to be the best in baseball from today until the end of the year. That also can be looked at as a true-talent estimate. And if you're unfamiliar with wOBA, all you have to know is that it takes each event-- home run, double, strikeout-- and assigns the run value that the event produces in an average situation. It's then scaled to OBP, where league average is about .333. It's the best overall measure of hitting we can create. 

So to get to the point here, Braun is second in projected wOBA behind Pujols (and it's a wide margin, .447 to .412). Fielder is tied for third with Chipper Jones at .411. The next pair of teammates is Chase Utley at #8 and Ryan Howard at #12. 

Fielder and Braun are each projected to hit 15 homers, behind only Howard's 17. Pujols is projected for 14 more.

You can legitimately make the case that with Braun and Fielder, the Brewers have 2 of the top 3 hitters in baseball right now. That's incredible. I don't know whether to be extremely happy that they're both under team control for the next two seasons, or to be a little sad that this pitching staff has bailed out on them and a year of them mashing together might not be enough to get the Brewers in the playoffs. I'll choose to focus on the part where they're under control for 2010 and 2011.