Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun hasn’t played at the level he has in 2016 so far since he won the 2011 National League MVP over Matt Kemp and finished second to Buster Posey in the voting for the 2012 season.
Through 24 games this season, Braun is slashing an eye-popping .372/.443/.605 with 5 home runs and 21 runs batted in. He, Chris Carter, Scooter Gennett and Domingo Santana have been carrying a Brewers offense that has struggled to manufacture runs at times.
It’s far to say that everyone remembers Braun’s performance enhancing drug suspension during the 2013 season, and the real reason most people still remember the suspension is because of Braun’s 2014 season and the start of the 2015 season.
While Braun bounced back nicely to hit .285/.346/.498 with 25 home runs and 84 runs batted in while stealing 24 bases, Braun’s 2014 season was the worst of his career coming off of the drug suspension.
The then 3o-year-old batted a career low .266/.324/.453 with 19 home runs and 81 runs batted in. This led to questions about Braun. Can return to the MVP player he was prior to the suspension? Will he ever be remotely the same? If this year is any indication, it is looking good for the Brewers star.
Braun, who signed a five-year $105 million extension with the Brewers in 2011 that will run through 2020, is on pace to hit 32 home runs while driving in 136 batters.
The Brewers beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-5 last night, a game in-which Braun went 3-for-3 with a RBI. After the Brewers played their May 2nd game last year, Braun was batting just .241/.286/.430, and then saw his average dip to .229 following a 0-for-4 performance in Chicago against the Cubs. In 2014, Braun was on the disabled list the first week of May.
So far this season, Braun ranks 4th in the National League in batting average, 6th in runs batted in, 9th in slugging percentage, and 4th in OPS.
I think it’s fair to say there aren’t to many players off to a start like Ryan Braun this 2016 season.
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