The all-star selection show is just days away and ESPN writers Buster Olney, Dave Schoenfield and Jayson Stark made their picks for the National League roster. On each writers ballots they selected Ryan Braun as their choice to represent the Milwaukee Brewers.
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Last week I predicted that Francisco Rodriguez would be the Brewers’ selection and while he has done nothing to hurt his chances (in fact he has continued to be perfect in saves), here is why I have to agree that Braun will be playing in Cincinnati.
After a down year last season, Braun is slowly getting back to the player he once was and the run producer that the Brewers’ need him to be. Among National League outfielders, Braun ranks fourth with 15 home runs, third with 52 RBIs, fourth with a .493 slugging percentage and fifth with a .841 OPS. While the average is not where many would like it to be, he has been a key player in the offense all year long.
Looking at the list of possible outfield candidates, Bryce Harper, Joc Pederson, and Andrew McCutchen appear to be locks. Other intriguing candidates are players like Nori Aoki, Justin Upton and Starling Marte. With injuries to Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Holiday, Braun’s looks like one of the best options in reserve in the entire NL.
While K-Rod has been perfect and may be more deserving, there are many more strong candidates to close in the NL than their are strong outfielders. I don’t see the Brewers possibly having two all-stars after their dreadful start, so I tend to agree with the writers that the best option for the NL is to add Braun to the roster over Rodriguez.
If Braun is to make the all-star team this season, it would be his fifth time making the team and his first since his first since 2012 and his first time in an mid-summer classic since his suspension. It would be a huge step in the right direction for a player who was one of the biggest question marks heading into this season for the Brewers.