Fantasy baseball editors, experts and owners will now have some extra time on their hands. Gone is the challenge of projecting Ryan Braun’s fantasy baseball value if he were to miss 50 games due to suspension.
Now that the reigning National League MVP has won his appeal and avoids MLB’s timeout chair, it’s quite obvious that 50 games (roughly 200 more at-bats) added to his to-do list this summer boosts Braun right back up with the fantasy elite.
Granted, you may find it difficult to avoid the Braun pessimist (sometimes people like being different just to be different) heading into 2012 …
"Prince Fielder isn’t hitting behind him anymore …"
"He got lucky, but now he’s off the juice so his numbers will drop …"
"Don’t be surprised if his overturned suspension haunts him the entire season …"
To those doubting Braun’s value because Fielder has relocated to Detroit, give Aramis Ramirez some credit. He hit .306 with 26 home runs, 93 RBIs and 80 runs on a bad Cubs’ team last season. He may be a little older (turns 34 in June), but he’s a suitable replacement for Fielder and a big bat that will protect Braun.
To those doubting Braun’s fantasy value because you truly believed he was on the juice, I’d reconsider your position. Remember, Braun is the first Major League player to win an appeal of a positive drug test. Some may consider the overturned suspension a public relations stunt to guard their NL MVP, but I’m not one of them. I think Braun’s numbers will remain close to his 162-game average (.312 / 36 HR / 118 RBI).
The final pessimistic point of view is what causes me to twitch a little. Although he won the ruling and as he said in his statement, “It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation,” this story is not going away anytime soon. He will have to answer numerous questions throughout spring training and on into the regular season. Every road trip will be an opportunity for the home team’s beat writers to get a crack at Braun. That can distract the strongest and most confident of ball players.
With that said, he’s a top 10 fantasy baseball player in my book.