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Ryan Braun

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Offline  Ryan Braun
#1

Posted: September 19, 2017, 7:43 AM Post
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We've discussed it a few times in the game threads whether or not Braun was a "special" hitter anymore. I just thought it was an interesting discussion point because he is out 3-hitter for the foreseeable future and he is owed a good chunk of our payroll for the next few years.

So far this season his slash line is .275/.346/.512/.858 which doesn't scream elite but he does carry a .295 BABIP which is 37 points lower than his career average (.332). This is a pretty low number. The lowest of his career. Some of us have noted his bad luck and it shows up in that stat. This one shocked me because it seems as though he chases a bit but his BB%(9.6%) is the highest since 2013 and a full 1% above his career average. His contact rate is the same exact number this season as his career average so that's not an issue either.

Just some interesting numbers for him. He also seems to be healthy again. He has played 53 of 59 games (146 game pace over a full season) since the all-star break and looks to play over 100 games this season (which at one point did not look like there was a chance).

Just thought it was nice to see some numbers that seem to be trending towards the positive. Now he could slump the last 10 games and finish with an OPS about .800 or he could get red hot and finish over .900 and push us into the postseason. Either way, sometimes the numbers just continue to add up for special players. Consistency is the key and when healthy, that is a great way to describe Braun.

“There's a fine line between being confident and cocky, or overconfident. This is an extremely humbling game. But if you don't believe in yourself, no one else is going to believe in you.”


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#2

Posted: September 19, 2017, 8:11 AM Post
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the pirates described his heat map immediately following the homer last night as "bench player on the outer side of the plate, HOF on the inner side of the plate". they then showed where Tailon was trying to pitch to where Braun has a .089 average, but missed and the ball landed in an area where he's hitting .424. I feel like thats been braun this season. stretches of awful, streches of amazing, with little in between.

this was between them lambasting Tailon for missing his pitches

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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#3

Posted: September 19, 2017, 8:19 AM Post
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As much as we get on other players for inconsistencies, Ryan Braun has had some really rough stretches here in the second half (6 for 45, 1 for 20, etc). Sure, a lot of that has been bad luck, and there's been other times when he hasn't looked very good up there in the second half but I can buy into the argument that he's had below average luck this year. It seems like his power has been down as shown by only 17 HRs this year, which is why I'm surprised to see his slugging percentage actually higher than his career average this year.

Probably the most surprising to me is that he's stayed healthy in the second half. I have to admit I expected him to miss more games. Is he a special player? Well, he's carrying a 1.7 fWAR this year which is almost exactly in line with Fangraphs' pre-season projection for him of 1.9. It's hard for me to see any way to define a sub 2 WAR position player as a special player, especially when projection models essentially predicted this season.

But 'special' is a subjective term and everyone will have their own definition on it. He's not an MVP candidate type player anymore and likely won't be again. I think most of us probably agree on that.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#4

Posted: September 19, 2017, 8:46 AM Post
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adambr2 said:
It seems like his power has been down as shown by only 17 HRs this year, which is why I'm surprised to see his slugging percentage actually higher than his career average this year.

He's not an MVP candidate type player anymore and likely won't be again. I think most of us probably agree on that.



He is hitting a homer every 22 plate appearances this season which is a little more than his career pace (20.5) and a lot more than a season ago (18.8) but better than his rate two seasons ago (22.7). So that kind of is all over the place and the 18.8 probably is more in line with being pretty healthy all season long.

He also finished 23rd in the MVP race a season ago. That shouldn't be tossed out since there are only 30 teams. Not every team has him.

“There's a fine line between being confident and cocky, or overconfident. This is an extremely humbling game. But if you don't believe in yourself, no one else is going to believe in you.”


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#5

Posted: September 19, 2017, 8:56 AM Post
Posts: 2192
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Ryan is our 3 hitter due to 1) He is productive and 2) he is still a hard out. He isn't one of the guys on the team who goes up first pitching hacking to pop up to the infield. Domingo is roughly the same age Ryan was in 2008 when Ryan caught fire and finished that year with some amazing games. We need someone to do that this time through. However, I feel Ryan won't be moved from the 3 hole until someone can replace him and not in just hitting ability but the mental aspect of how to work pitchers. That will keep him in the front of the order.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#6

Posted: September 19, 2017, 9:00 AM Post
Posts: 1801
A lot of how you evaluate Braun comes down to how you think his injured stretches affect the team. I think Stearns and Counsell have built a roster that helps to mitigate the hit from Braun's injuries. Maybe they did this largely because of Braun, which could count against him, but I kind of like the model. You get Braun for 100-120 games, and you have decent options for when he isn't around. Especially next year, if Phillips and Brinson are both up, this system could work pretty well.

He's still a worthwhile regular on a contending team. Would I like more for his salary? Sure, but I'll take this over what's behind door #2. His situation could much more easily be worse than better.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#7

Posted: September 19, 2017, 9:40 AM Post
Posts: 2907
Is Braun an Elite Hitter still? How big of a group are the Elite Hitters?

It is hard to know without knowing how many minor injuries he is playing through. Even in his MVP year and top seasons he was never selective enough to be a top echelon HOF insider top 5-10 hitters of All-Time. That lack of ability to restrain himself from chasing is more exposed now that the skills are declining and/or injuries are mounting.

What Braun has proven in the past is that he is incredibly great in the clutch. I think Braun has some huge games left in him if the Brewers can make the playoffs over the next several years.

2 outs bottom of the ninth bases loaded in a World Series or NLCS 7th Game, I would absolutely want a 35 or 36 year old Ryan Braun at the plate over many many other hitters in MLB who might be considered "better".

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#8

Posted: September 19, 2017, 9:49 AM Post
Posts: 5790
Brew4U said:
We've discussed it a few times in the game threads whether or not Braun was a "special" hitter anymore. I just thought it was an interesting discussion point because he is out 3-hitter for the foreseeable future and he is owed a good chunk of our payroll for the next few years.


Why is he our #3 hitter for the foreseeable future? Over the course of the next couple seasons, if there are better options Braun can be moved down the line-up no?

As far as this season, no it's not a season from a "special" player. But still productive enough numbers that he's certainly not hurting the line-up. In fact, if he could produce those type numbers for the next 3 years, I would be thrilled.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#9

Posted: September 19, 2017, 9:52 AM Post
Posts: 214
I don't care much for labels like "special", but I'm also not particularly worried about Braun. Or I should say, if he stays reasonably healthy I'm not concerned with his production. He has a down year, but as you point out the BABIP is down (Which aligns with the eye test as well FWIW). And he's still hitting the ball hard; 16th best average exit velocity in the majors. BB% and K% are in line with, even slightly better than, his career averages. He's still a good hitter and I believe results going forward will show that; I'll bet his 2018 numbers will be better than 2017 (As measured by wRC+, wOBA, OPS+ or other slash line composite stat). The cold streaks he's had don't bother me. In a sport where even a good player will "fail" at the plate around 2/3 of the time, there will naturally be cold streaks even during normal circumstances; i.e player playing to his "true ability" while fit, batting against league average pitchers. Add basic psychological factors, minor injuries, facing stretches of great pitching etc. and I wouldn't put much emphasis on streaks, in either direction. They have little to no predictive value.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#10

Posted: September 19, 2017, 9:57 AM Post
Posts: 2907
Lathund said:
I don't care much for labels like "special", but I'm also not particularly worried about Braun. Or I should say, if he stays reasonably healthy I'm not concerned with his production. He has a down year, but as you point out the BABIP is down (Which aligns with the eye test as well FWIW). And he's still hitting the ball hard; 16th best average exit velocity in the majors. BB% and K% are in line with, even slightly better than, his career averages. He's still a good hitter and I believe results going forward will show that; I'll bet his 2018 numbers will be better than 2017 (As measured by wRC+, wOBA, OPS+ or other slash line composite stat). The cold streaks he's had don't bother me. In a sport where even a good player will "fail" at the plate around 2/3 of the time, there will naturally be cold streaks even during normal circumstances; i.e player playing to his "true ability" while fit, batting against league average pitchers. Add basic psychological factors, minor injuries, facing stretches of great pitching etc. and I wouldn't put much emphasis on streaks, in either direction. They have little to no predictive value.


Great post and great food for thought, thank you! I hope you'll post here more frequently!

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#11

Posted: September 19, 2017, 10:02 AM Post
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FVBrewerFan said:
Brew4U said:
We've discussed it a few times in the game threads whether or not Braun was a "special" hitter anymore. I just thought it was an interesting discussion point because he is out 3-hitter for the foreseeable future and he is owed a good chunk of our payroll for the next few years.


Why is he our #3 hitter for the foreseeable future? Over the course of the next couple seasons, if there are better options Braun can be moved down the line-up no?

As far as this season, no it's not a season from a "special" player. But still productive enough numbers that he's certainly not hurting the line-up. In fact, if he could produce those type numbers for the next 3 years, I would be thrilled.


He will be penciled in there at #3, (maybe #2 depending on other players performances I suppose) until he can no longer do it. I'm not saying I totally agree with it but a guy like Counsell won't move him unless the wheels completely fall off. And from looking at the stats, it doesn't seem to be even near that direction yet.

“There's a fine line between being confident and cocky, or overconfident. This is an extremely humbling game. But if you don't believe in yourself, no one else is going to believe in you.”


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#12

Posted: September 19, 2017, 10:03 AM Post
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Location: La Crosse
3and2Fastball said:
Is Braun an Elite Hitter still? How big of a group are the Elite Hitters?

It is hard to know without knowing how many minor injuries he is playing through. Even in his MVP year and top seasons he was never selective enough to be a top echelon HOF insider top 5-10 hitters of All-Time. That lack of ability to restrain himself from chasing is more exposed now that the skills are declining and/or injuries are mounting.

What Braun has proven in the past is that he is incredibly great in the clutch. I think Braun has some huge games left in him if the Brewers can make the playoffs over the next several years.

2 outs bottom of the ninth bases loaded in a World Series or NLCS 7th Game, I would absolutely want a 35 or 36 year old Ryan Braun at the plate over many many other hitters in MLB who might be considered "better".

Maybe I'm nitpicking, like adambr2 said these words are very subjective, but to me there's a difference between elite and special. Braun is still a special hitter imo. His approach throughout his career has changed very little (minus when he couldn't pull the ball due to his thumb injury). He can still hit it to all fields with authority. I still believe he can be a .300+ hitter with 25+ hrs.

And to your other point about being clutch, that's the weird thing about him this year. He hasn't been. He seems to be pressing more with RISP (he holds a .200 AVG w/RISP). I would think that stat is just an aberration and will not be the norm for the next couple of seasons.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#13

Posted: September 19, 2017, 10:08 AM Post
Posts: 2907
Good point OnaBadger58 about RISP this year, very good point.

I suppose what I mean by Braun being "clutch" is that we've seen the huge at-bats from him in the postseason and down the stretch in '08 and '11. I think Braun has an elite (there's that word again!) ability to chill himself out and relax and focus in super high pressure situations such as playoff games. Not everyone has that, and it isn't something that goes away I don't believe.

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#14

Posted: September 19, 2017, 10:14 AM Post
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Location: La Crosse
3and2Fastball said:
Good point OnaBadger58 about RISP this year, very good point.

I suppose what I mean by Braun being "clutch" is that we've seen the huge at-bats from him in the postseason and down the stretch in '08 and '11. I think Braun has an elite (there's that word again!) ability to chill himself out and relax and focus in super high pressure situations such as playoff games. Not everyone has that, and it isn't something that goes away I don't believe.

Agreed. Braun has the resume and reputation of a clutch hitter. He's been there, and like you said, he is the one I want up in those situations.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#15

Posted: September 19, 2017, 10:22 AM Post
Posts: 501
Location: New Berlin, WI
Braun has a 294/390/627/1017 September slash line with a 289 BABIP. How is that possible?

I agree with most here that I suspect Braun gets hot down the stretch. 4 games against the cubs in miller park, he feeds off all that booing. In Miller Park there will be plenty of cheers that the result will likely be a ton of noise every at bat. Anywho, I think that's part of the reason he does so well in chicago and pittsburgh, 2 obnoxious fan bases that boo him like crazy and he feeds off it.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#16

Posted: September 19, 2017, 10:43 AM Post
Posts: 2907
Braun has a level of confidence that borders on insanity. You kind of have to have that type of confidence to be a great MLB player. But Braun has extra doses of it. I think he sincerely believes he could play Shortstop in MLB. He won't shrink in the face of pressure no matter at what age.

The trick is figuring out how much he can give the team during the regular season from 2018-2020 and trying to make sure he is healthy for the postseason of those years

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#17

Posted: September 19, 2017, 10:55 AM Post
Posts: 2222
Would wish the results were a little better right now but I am glad he is on this team for the next 12 games. No matter how bad he has been with RISP this year I am confident he will deliver down the stretch. He gets to play against the Pirates, Cubs and Cardinals down the stretch so there should be some good moments with him.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#18

Posted: September 19, 2017, 11:06 AM Post
Posts: 1689
Location: Madison, WI
When healthy Braun is still probably one of the 15-20 best hitters in the world. I didn't sit down and make a list so don't nitpick that too much, but the point is he's still very good when healthy. Issue is simply his health and age going forward for an NL team. It's really that simple with him. Sure he's not what he was in 2011/12 but that's pretty rare for someone to maintain to his current age and it doesn't mean he still isn't darn good when healthy.

The little cold spell starting in mid to late August is probably the worst he's ever looked though (other than when clearly hurt that year with the thumb), which was weird and a bit concerning. But as just posted above, he's bounced right back and has been scorching the ball again.

Hope he keeps it up as it does wonders for the overall offense to have him producing well. Get one or two hot with him and the O won't be problem it was for a while, hopefully enough to get the to the playoffs.

Thing I've been most impressed with by him the last few years is his adjustment as the pitchers have figured out it's pointless to pitch him inside. Around the thumb injury and 2013-14ish he was struggling to adjust to only getting pitched low and outside. He eventually figured it out and hits the ball opposite as hard as anyone can reasonably expect. Most HRs even come opposite for him now.

I've seen some more national pub lately for finally going to the DH so maybe that ball will start rolling this offseason and get implemented by 2019 or 2020 to help out in his last few years as well.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#19

Posted: September 19, 2017, 11:21 AM Post
Posts: 6353
Location: Kenosha, WI
The offense has been pretty respectable despite the unfortunate cold streaks he has been prone to this year. The most unfortunate thing is the fact he really hasn't carried this team at all and that is what one would expect out of him. He just rarely ever comes through when we need him to. Couple huge hits would make paying him so much a whole lot more forgettable.

There is some hope he can rebound next year and that would be really nice. While it certainly has been very dissapointing this year at least he has still put up some numbers.


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Offline  Re: Ryan Braun
#20

Posted: September 19, 2017, 12:07 PM Post
Posts: 505
Location: Oshkosh
adambr2 said:
As much as we get on other players for inconsistencies, Ryan Braun has had some really rough stretches here in the second half (6 for 45, 1 for 20, etc). Sure, a lot of that has been bad luck, and there's been other times when he hasn't looked very good up there in the second half but I can buy into the argument that he's had below average luck this year. It seems like his power has been down as shown by only 17 HRs this year, which is why I'm surprised to see his slugging percentage actually higher than his career average this year.

Probably the most surprising to me is that he's stayed healthy in the second half. I have to admit I expected him to miss more games. Is he a special player? Well, he's carrying a 1.7 fWAR this year which is almost exactly in line with Fangraphs' pre-season projection for him of 1.9. It's hard for me to see any way to define a sub 2 WAR position player as a special player, especially when projection models essentially predicted this season.

But 'special' is a subjective term and everyone will have their own definition on it. He's not an MVP candidate type player anymore and likely won't be again. I think most of us probably agree on that.


He's carrying a 1.7 WAR this year in a partial season. If you're going to use that stat comparatively, you need to look at number of PA's.


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