Fantasy Baseball Today

Struggles of Ryan Braun before and after April 8 becoming a concern

By Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Let's pretend a heavy rain had hit Philadelphia on April 8. Or a power outage had thrown Citizens Bank Park into darkness. Or the temperatures in that Pennsylvania city had plummeted to 10 degrees and forced postponement of the Brewers-Phillies game that day.

If that National League clash had somehow been wiped off the schedule, Brewers slugger Ryan Braun would own a .243 batting average with no home runs and three RBI when he awoke Thursday morning. In other words, the three home runs and seven RBI he compiled in Philly in that game have masked a horrible start to a season following a year in which is personal Biogenesis scandal called into question the validity of all he had previously accomplished with bat in hand.

The disturbing numbers don't stop there. Braun has walked just twice in 52 at-bats this season, leading one to believe that pitchers have become unafraid to pitch to him. He boasts an on-base percentage of just .291. The possibility exists that his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs were at least partly responsible for his past greatness and that a clean Ryan Braun is simply not as productive. A nagging thumb injury is certainly not helping.

Fantasy owners could become stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. Most will understandably wait a while before disenchantment sets in. They can then trade him and get far less value in return in comparison to where Braun was likely drafted or they can wait it out and hope he returns to form. They can only be thankful they're not the Brewers, who must pay Braun $120 million over the next seven years before his contract runs out in 2020. The organization too can only hope that he didn't need PEDs to hit like an MVP.

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