In the mailbag this week are a flood of questions about Ryan Braun and the rest of the Brewers.
What happens to Ryan Braun’s draft position and value now that he’s tested positive for using a banned substance?
Mark from Wyzata, Minnesota
First off, Ryan Braun is good, he has always been good and he will continue to be good. Now the question remains, how good will he be in the near and distant future? And, what is he worth missing 50 games to start the season?
Ryan Braun has been tested for all of his professional years – starting in the minors – so I don’t think he has been juicing the whole time and just gaming the testing system (which is the toughest in professional sports). I don’t think the he will all of a sudden be lost at the plate and unable to run the bases going forward, but the real test will be his health in years to come. He will a shortened season next year and he will be fine to play – and play well – in 112 games.
If you have Ryan Braun in a keeper league there is not much you can do except keep him, unless:
1) You are in an auction where you have to keep him at his previous auction value, which was probably high. Then you may consider dropping him and getting him at a reduced rate or watch your league mates drop $50 on a guy who won’t play until June.
2) If you have better keeper options, like guys off my list of instant keepers or even guys like Elvis Andrus, Carlos Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Ryan Zimmerman, or David Price to name a few.
In a 1 year league I would not take Ryan Braun before the 5th round, but if you are in a first year keeper league then I may take him in the late 3rd early 4th area, depending on what we find out going forward.
In a 1 year auction I may spend up to 7% of my money on him ($18 in a standard $260 league) but that is the cap for me. In a keeper auction where Braun is available I may push it to 10% ($26-didn’t even need the calculator for that one), but no higher.
With Ryan Braun out 50 games and Prince floating like Moby Dick in free agency, how will this effect the rest of the Brew Crew? Should I stay away from their roster until there is a clear sign that the team can pull it together and overcome this adversity, or is it best to just view every single Brewer as quarantined…?
Christian from St Louis Park, Minnesota
As for the Brew Crew, you are looking at a lineup that will be losing the clean up man and will have the 3 hitter gone for almost a third of the season.
A guy like Rickie Weeks is a) a health risk and b) really only as good as the guys behind him. I would still have Weeks in my 2nd tier of second-basemen, but below Utley, Phillips, Zobrist, and Uggla.
A guy like Najer Morgan has become the little brother that mouths off to everyone knowning his big brothers (Prince and Braun) had his back last season, but he will derail himself by trying to talk and back it up all by himself now.
Then you have newly Acquired Aramis Ramirez, who would have fit nicely behind Braun in this lineup, but now will have a little more expectation on his shoulders, and that does not bode well for Aramis.
We move on to Cory Hart. Going with my gut I’d say Cory Hart will not hit well early but may finish strong, and I may pass on drafting him all together thinking if someone does draft him them may drop him at some point early, then you nab him.
Lastly, we look at newly acquired SS Alex Gonzalez. To me he is a little intriguing. Definitely not above any of your top shortstops: Jose Reyes, Tulo, Hanley, Andrus, J-Ro, Aybar or Starling Castro. But if it came down to JJ Hardy, Asdrubel Cabrera or Derek Jeter, I may take another pitcher and go for Alex Gonzalez later.
I will leave you with my projections for Braun after he returns from his suspension: