No player in baseball represented a bigger disappointment to fantasy baseball owners in 2013 than Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun.
He dealt with injuries and a PED suspension and considering the fact that Braun was drafted with the first handful of picks last season, no one brought back a lower return in value.
As we enter the 2014 season, many fantasy owners rightfully have questions surrounding Braun.
How much of his production was PED related?
Can he stay healthy without the PED’s?
Should he still be drafted among the game’s best players?
I don’t have the answer to those first two questions, but the last one I can answer with a resounding YES!
Fantasy owners tend to be quick to judge; as they might deflate Braun’s draft stock assuming that his post-suspension self might be significantly less in ability. But as Braun slides in the first round, don’t be quick to judge. Be quick to snatch him up.
Braun, before 2013, had showed an unparalleled combination of hit-for-average, hit-for-power and base-stealing ability. His critics shouldn’t instantly assume he won’t show .300-hitting, 30/20 skills again.
Based on what he showed from 2007-12, fantasy owners would be foolish to allow Braun to slide past the first round.
His ADP right now is 13.0, which would be just outside the first round and while I wouldn’t take him in the upper half of the first round, I like him better than other outfield options like Adam Jones and perhaps Jacoby Ellsbury who are both currently going off the board before Braun.
The PED factor can’t be discounted. However since he’s still in his prime and will be working hard to prove that he’s still the hitter that he was before Braun is going he suspension, I expect Braun to put up better numbers than anyone expects.
The former MVP is still a Top 5 outfielder in my book and shouldn’t slide out of the first round in any draft.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how the rest of my outfield rankings shape up.