STill bElieve bRaun’s pOwer Is createD Synthetically

Here’s two stat lines through the first 62 games of the MLB season.

This player won an MVP award:

228AB 45Runs 71Hits 13Doubles 13HR 45RBI 33Walks 14SB 0.311Avg 0.402OBP 0.566SLG 0.968OPS

This player has only played 62 games this 2012 season:

230AB 42Runs 75Hits 11Doubles 19HR 47RBI 25Walks 11SB 0.322Avg 0.399OBP 0.635SLG 1.034OPS

If the first set of numbers was the pace for the 2011 NL MVP, couldn’t one argue that the second set of numbers is an equivalent (if not better) pace and should warrant MVP considerations in 2012? The second set of numbers are good enough for first in HR, third in OPS, fourth in RBI, and eigth in batting average in the NL.

The only difference between those two sets of numbers? The first set of numbers belong to a ‘clean’ Ryan Braun (numbers were posted before his positive steroids test) and the second set of numbers belong to a ‘tainted’ Ryan Braun. Yes, both of those numbers belong to the Risky Business player to the right (Photo credit to John Axford’s Twitter Feed).

ESPN’s Buster Olney pulled the trigger first on a more controversial Braun topic today (if you are an ESPN insider, make sure you click that link). And ESPN The Magazine printed a great article in it’s recent publication on June 25 on how has the steroid era has evolved based on Braun’s ruling.

If Braun continues his 2012 pace, his stat line would be look something like this:

565AB 103Runs 182Hits 47HR 115RBI 61Walks 27SB 0.322Avg 0.399OBP 0.635SLG 1.034OPS

Those numbers warrant at minimum a top-5 placing in NL MVP voting (if not top 1 or 2). As Buster Olney’s article states, the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) could have a major dilemma this season. The BBWAA handles voting for season end awards and nominating players for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Typically, the BBWAA has ‘banned’ (not directly banned, but just don’t vote for) players who have admitted, been convicted, or are suspected of using PED’s. If Braun continues to perform, will they vote for him in the MVP race? Will he then be snubbed entrance to the HOF? Seriously, if you are an ESPN insider, check out Buster’s great article on this topic.

This post is meant to get all baseball fans to think. And I specifically say ‘baseball fans’ because haters will always be hatin’ regardless if Braun puts up a clean 70HR and 150RBI season. What I want fans to think about is What will it take for Braun to untarnish his baseball name?

  • Does he have to hit 40HR?
  • Does he have to have more than 100RBI for the rest of his career?
  • Does he have to volunteer for monthly tests?
  • Does he have to publicly admit he found a loophole?

Personally, I believe he has already proved his innocence. But again, I’m the easy fan to persuade. I’m a die hard Brewers fan. But facts are facts, Braun has produced the same if not better numbers in 2012 than he did at this point in 2011. And that season he won the NL MVP and had a LARGE bat protecting him. In 2012, he doesn’t have Fielder behind him in the lineup and Braun continues to produce MVP type numbers.

Braun could be guilty. I wasn’t there when he peed into a cup. Braun’s test did highlight a gap in the collection process and has allowed others to have their suspensions dismissed (see Eliezer Alfonzo’s appeal of a 100-game suspension in May). And since those results, the MLB quietly dismissed the arbitrator who had the defining vote in each suspension case, Shyam Das.

So what do the Kings of Cork council believe? What does Braun have to do to clean his name? Or will it always be tarnished? Feel free to post your feelings towards Braun’s 2012 production below.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the June ESPN The Magazine article mentioned above:

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