Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun is prepared to make a serious run at the first National League Triple Crown since Joe Medwick completed the feat in 1937. This has become a real possibility after San Francisco Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera has been disqualified from the batting title.
Cabrera requested the disqualification by contacting the players’ association to get in touch with the MLB commissioner’s office in order to make him ineligible to win the title. Cabrera’s .346 batting average has stood since he was suspended on Aug. 15 for failing a drug test. Cabrera began serving his 50-game suspension immediately and is still eligible to return this season depending on how far the Giants go in the playoffs.
Braun currently leads the NL in home runs (40), RBIs (105), and is fourth in batting average (.311). There is no question he will have to collect hits at a rapid pace in order to catch up with new batting leader Andrew McCutchen, who is currently sitting at .339. However, if there is anyone that can do it, it is the reigning MVP.
With 13 games left, Braun has approximately 39 to 52 plate appearances remaining this season. That is assuming he plays in all 13 games and bats at least three times in each of those games. There is a good chance McCutchen’s average will not stand at .339, which means Braun’s chances of catching him greatens.
Let’s say Braun collects 26 hits from now until the end of the season, which averages out to be two hits per game. This is not impossible considering Milwaukee is in a tight race for the second NL Wild Card spot and Braun has historically played better this time of year. Not to mention, he has a knack for the dramatic and there would be nothing more dramatic than a legitimate run at the Triple Crown.
If Braun bats 45 more times this season and collects 26 hits in the next 13 games he will finish the season with a .332 batting average. Considering McCutchen will face some decent pitching from here on out, his average will most definitely drop from .339.
Braun has a strangle grip on the home runs, but he is in the fight for his life in the RBI race. As of right now, Chase Headley is tied with him for first place with 105 RBIs. However, this could have a positive effect on his batting average because he will concentrate harder in run producing situations.
What are the chances of Braun actually being able to do this? Well, just like Milwaukee’s playoff hopes, certain things will just have to fall into place. Not only does he need to keep his production at a high level but also other players are going to have to fall off.
The odds are certainly stacked against Braun, but the great players never give up or quit when a chance at engraving their name into the history books is within their grasp. Every one wrote the Brewers off at the All-Star break but now they are closing in on a Wild Card berth. Maybe it is a long shot, but I believe Braun is going to make it closer than people think.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.