Read it and weep.
All of you PED-Doomsdayers that proclaimed Braun's offensive production would decline in 2012 once his suspension was served have crawled back into your shells with a plate full of crow waiting to be eaten.
Where did you all go?
First off, Braun was cleared of any PED use.
Secondly, Braun's encore to his 2011 National League Most Valuable Player season has been much better than anticipated.
In fact, Braun's 2012 season has been more productive than his 2011 season. The Hebrew Hammer is making a case for his critics, or as a matter of fact any critic, to remain silent until the issue is resolved. After all, it appears that Braun may have never taken any PEDs.
Prior to the 2011 All-Star Game, Braun was hitting .320 with 16 HR, 62 RBI, 51 SO and 19 SB.
On June 20, 2012, several weeks away from the 2012 All-Star Game, Braun is currently hitting .321 with 20 HR, 51 RBI, 53 SO and 12 SB.
With just 20 days left until the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City, Braun has ample time to eclipse his 2011 production at the break. Never mind the fact that in 2011, Braun played in 83 games up to the break. This year, he is on pace to play in two less games up to the break if he doesn't sit out from here until July 10.
The media, mainstream and streaming online was quick to jump all over the Braun story. Braun was villainized, ridiculed and digitally spat upon by the majority of pundits and self-proclaimed critics. Granted, there were some who stood up in his defense but those personalities were drowned out by the pessimistic noise machine.
Needless to say, Braun has thus far redeemed himself.
In terms of Wins-Above-Replacement (WAR), Braun ranks third in all of baseball among positional players (4.0). Only Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (4.8) and New York Mets third baseman David Wright (4.1) rank ahead of him.
While Braun's K percentage (18.9%) is at its highest since his first full-season in 2008, his BB percentage (10.0%) is a career best.
Some may dispel the notion of Braun being the best hitter in baseball by demanding a second look at what Matt Kemp, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, David Wright and Josh Hamilton have been doing. Comparatively speaking, one could win any argument depending on how well they present their case regarding any of those aforementioned players.
On the other hand, the reigning N.L. MVP deserves continued praise as the best hitter in baseball (especially the National League) until someone else can deliver more spectacular production.
After all, if Braun was able to reel in the award last year, and he is thus far exceeding the numbers he put up in 2011, then why not consider him to be the best hitter in baseball?
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