Brewers 2016: Ryan Braun
There was a time when the Brewers had the best offense in all of MLB, when pitchers had to pitch around Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. That time, unfortunately, hasn’t existed for a couple of years now. Last year, the Brewers had one of the worst offenses in the league. The ranked in the lower half in runs, hits, home runs, RBI and batting average. But, Ryan Braun found himself in a bounce back season and he can do it again in 2016.
There was a time when I would have balked at the notion that Ryan Braun would have a bounce back season so soon in his career. He was the epitome of a fantasy baseball player. Five 30-plus home run and 100-RBI seasons. 114 RBIs in 2009 followed by 41 dingers in 2012. He won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2007 and the NL MVP in 2011.
Then he found himself in the same spectrum as Alex Rodriguez.
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In 2013 he played just 61 games after being suspended on July 22nd for PED use, hitting just nine homers, 38 RBI and .298 BA.
He followed up in 2014 with a subpar hitting just 19 homers, 81 RBI and 11 steals. He fixed a nerve issue in his thumb in October, one that had been affecting his ability to grip and hit the ball.
Finally in 2015 he had a bounce back year, hitting 144 hits, 25 dingers, 84 RBI, 24 steals, .285 BA that was good enough to put him in the all-star game.
Given the level the offense was at last year it’s no surprise that Ryan Braun didn’t get back to the numbers of dominance he once had. He may never get there, or he may, only time will tell.
Fangraphs projects Ryan Braun to hit .276/.341/.477/73R/78RBI/23HR and 152 Hits slightly improving from last year. He’s 32 and it’s entirely possible he’s hit a plateau, which even at these numbers is a good thing for a rebuilding Brewers squad.