Yesterday, over at the mothership, ESPN and a panel of their finest baseball experts (I know, I’m shocked I wasn’t included too) held a 30-pick draft of the top franchise players in baseball. Ryan Braun was the tenth overall selection by ESPN Stats and Info’s Mark Simon.
Simon on picking Braun: “I don’t know that I’d pay him $18 million in his age 35 season, but because of his consistency, I’d feel pretty comfortable making Braun my selection. He’s an excellent hitter, gets on base enough for my liking, and is a smart baserunner. I’m not as worried about his defense. Only four players have hit at least 25 home runs and slugged at least .500 in each of their first four seasons (and yes, Braun barely reached that last season) – Braun, Joe DiMaggio, Frank Robinson, and Albert Pujols. That’s a pretty good combo.”
Hard to argue with that. Braun’s pretty clearly one of the league’s top hitters and, at the rate he’s going this year, will be an MVP candidate if the Brewers can make it to the postseason. If Braun had the total package of hitting and defense right now, at age 27, he’d be a candidate for #1. But, I guess Milwaukee fans will just have to settle for having a top 10 player instead.