After a tumultuous offseason, Ryan Braun is shutting up his critics so far in 2012.
In early October, Braun tested positive for a banned substance. He appealed the findings and was eventually exonerated due to a chain of custody issue. Because of this, the majority of fans believe that Braun got off on a technicality and have labeled him a cheater.
Many thought that the hatred from the fans during road games would distract Braun and his level of play would decrease. Critics of Braun also pointed out that, with Prince Fielder's departure, teams would pitch around Braun more often, and he wouldn't see as many good pitches as he did with Fielder behind him.
Braun claims that he tunes out opposing fans and doesn't let it affect his play. He must be telling the truth.
For the season, Braun is hitting .357 with one home run and four runs batted in. In four games on the road, Braun is hitting .375 with three RBI. This includes three games at Wrigley Field, where Cubs fans loudly booed him every time he stepped to the plate. If Braun doesn't let the wild fans in Chicago faze him, I don't see what will.
Aramis Ramirez is no Prince Fielder, and Ramirez will be the first to admit that. Since Ramirez is no Fielder, many people thought Braun would struggle without someone like Prince behind him. Although Ramirez is struggling mightily, batting .111, Braun has still been able to deliver. It doesn't seem to matter who's hitting behind Braun, because he is just that talented. When Ramirez starts hitting like he has his whole career, the Brewers will be extremely dangerous.
Say what you want about Ryan Braun. He may very well be a cheater who got off on a technicality. Or, he could be telling the truth. Personally, I'd rather believe that Braun is clean and has done things in the most professional manner. It's better for baseball if people believe in him.