Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder, certainly struck out this offseason. In case you missed it, in December it was revealed that Braun had tested positive for a banned substance during the outset of the playoffs. If found to be true, the panel has not given a verdict on his appeal yet, Braun would face a 50-game suspension.
To make matters worse, Braun had a breakout year in 2011 (yes he had put up good numbers before this season but none to match what he did in 2011) and was awarded the MVP trophy, which he accepted in New York at the Baseball Writers Association of America banquet.
This is also bad news for baseball as the performance enhancing substance issue continues to rear its ugly head. Braun had been developed and brought up under the tougher drug rules by MLB; the fact that a star player, produced during the tougher sanctions period, who just won the MVP, was found to have a banned substance during testing is just about as bad as it could get.
From a personal standpoint, I was not surprised to hear Braun had tested positive for a banned substance. Anyone who knows me knows that I didn't believe in Braun last season as I would constantly recite the fact that he seemed to be losing his power since from 2007-2010 his HR total was declining each year. The spike in his HR, BA, OBP and SB just seemed out of place to me.
Furthermore, I'd also like to say that it is my personal opinion that his MVP titled should be stripped from him. I know this will never happen but he shouldn't keep it. They didn't, and never will do it, but I wish MLB would take it from him.
The question remains how will Braun bounce back. Whether he returns at the beginning of the season or in the middle of it after a suspension, what will the 2012 season look like? For all you fantasy players out there, I'd be concerned; especially since Fielder won't be there to bat behind him this year.
No question about it, Braun went from a hero and poster child for the MLB to a villain and is positioned to be made an example of. MLB certainly doesn't want to give the appearance they have dropped the ball on their policies again so expect the repercussions on Braun to be big.
We'll see what the verdict with Braun is soon enough.