Are future awards out of the question for Ryan Braun?

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Buster Olney posed an interesting question on Twitter and then in his column this morning:

If Ryan Braun is suspended for his positive drug test, will writers never again consider Braun for any award during his playing career? In other words, if he’s suspended 50 games this year, then passes all subsequent tests and hits 60 homers in 2015, would they leave him off their MVP ballot because of what transpired in 2011/2012?

To be clear: Olney has come out staunchly against the BBWAA reconsidering Braun’s award and is on record opposed to Hall of Fame voters turning themselves into the morality police. So in this I take that Olney would be decidedly against anyone treating Braun differently in the future for awards purposes.

But would they do such a thing?

My gut on this is no, Braun would not face some sort of defacto discipline from awards voters as a result of what looks like it will be a 50-game drug suspension in 2012.  The biggest reason: the different voting pools for the Hall of Fame and the postseason awards.

Awards voters are active, working baseball writers. Primarily beat reporters who skew younger, smarter and more open-minded than the Hall of Fame electorate as a whole. As I’ve said before, I wish these men and women had the Hall of Fame vote to themselves too, but alas they don’t.  Maybe I’m wrong about that. The awards electorate does not strike me as a body that would mete out some sort of moralistic justice against Braun. If he put up another MVP-worthy season I presume, absent any future PED questions, he’d get his plaque just like he did this year.

Bonus Braun stuff:  There have been rumors floating around about what may have caused Braun’s positive test. It has been said by some that got a false-positive caused by a treatment he’s receiving for a “private medical issue.”  A rumor has started to spread about what the private medical issue is.  I don’t like to get into fanning the flames on such rumors, but if there is some scientific or medical fact that we can throw into the mix to at least make such rumors more informed, that can’t be a bad thing.

To that end, I direct you to a blog post by long, long long-time reader Paul Sax — who is a doctor and who is the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — in which he talks about what could have led to Braun’s positive test and what it means for those rumors that are floating around.  Upshot: if the rumors are right, Braun has a right to be pretty mad at his doctor.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves