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During their time together, #28 and #8 carried a franchise's hopes and dreams on their backs.
Looking to turn a moribund franchise into a contender? Need a superstar or two to carry the weight of the franchise on their backs?
Look no further than Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Though both worked hard on their obvious defensive limitations over their careers, there is no doubt that both delivered at the heart of the order—while having the weighty expectations of being a top pick.
We forget that the men Braun and Fielder are today were drafted very young, at 22 and 18 years of age respectively. Everyone who follows baseball knows many top prospects fizzle out to become denigrated as "busts." Whether it's a lack of work ethic or the mystery of unmet expectations, the case studies of busts are as numerous as they are common.
As fans, just ask yourself, what were you doing at 18? How mature were you at 22? What mistakes did you have to make to mature? And lastly, if you had million dollar expectations, would you be 100 percent guaranteed to deliver?
In Braun and Fielder's cases, neither ceased to continue to up his game, particularly offensively. The sky became the limit for their potential together, ending with today's signing in Detroit. While many rookies who have great years might be 'figured out' by opposing pitchers, Braun and Fielder have only improved.
Furthermore, as documented in the previous slides, both have an uncanny ability to say the right things at the most important times.
To reach these heights, with such great expectations put on their shoulders, Braun and Fielder had to have maturity beyond their years.
They had to avoid many of the temptations most 18-to-22-year-old Americans face, and behave like professionals right off the bat. This maturity has aged finely to what became a core leadership of the Division Championship team in 2010, and thus an intangible quality the Brewers will have to find ways to replace.
Melvin describes today's official loss of Fielder as "still somewhat of a sad day," adding, "Prince is one of the best young players in the game. You try to build teams around young, star players."
In Wins-Losses, the Brewers went from a perennial 56 to 68-game winner a few seasons before Braun and Fielder to a 96-win team last year, with two playoff births in the past four seasons.