At least so far, it appears that all of the drama surrounding last year’s N.L. MVP has had some affect on Ryan Braun’s Spring training performance. The alleged ‘tainting’ of Braun’s urine sample, the extremely high levels of testosterone discovered, the subsequent storage of the sample in a refrigerator in a basement over a February weekend, and his tenuous news conference that followed, is all having a negative impact on the perennial Milwaukee Brewer All-Star in his first few weeks of Spring Training.
Although still just a small sample at this point, Braun is an anemic 1-15 in Spring training thus far. Saturday his woes continued as he went 0-2 with a walk in a Cactus League game vs the Angels. He also has struck out five times during the 1-15 stretch. What makes these numbers even more telling is that last Spring, for example, Braun batted .325.
Perhaps it’s way to early to tell how this season’s numbers will go for Braun, but we suggest that you explore all other possible options before considering Braun as an early pick in your draft. Any other player with similar numbers could prove to be an alternative in your draft if for no other reason than to just gain some peace of mind. It’s one thing to have to worry about a player’s health and performance over 162 games, so you certainly don’t want to have to concern yourself with his emotional state and psyche as well…
Admittedly, it’s very early, but the boos have been reigning down on Braun in every Arizona ballpark in which he’s played this Spring and our contention is that if this distraction is bothering Braun now, one can only imagine what might take place in Major League parks once the regular season begins. As there is no basis of comparison at this point in his career, we have no way of knowing whether or not Braun will be able to handle all the jeers.
What we’re saying is by all means, draft him. However if you don’t have to because another player is on the board when it’s your pick whose numbers rival the kind Braun has put up, grab him instead. There are just too many intangibles which could impact his performance for you to concern yourself with. Does anyone really know, (except for Braun), if he’s put any PED’s in his system during his career? Does anyone really know how the crowd’s reaction will affect the slugger with each plate appearance? Exactly! So the bottom line is if you can avoid drafting him and still find another first round pick with Braun’s capabilities, do so. If you can’t, then grab him and prepare yourself for a possible unsettling and perhaps long roller-coaster season ahead.