From his very first at bat with the Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun has been an integral part of this team’s success. Fast forwarding to today, his importance to this team still remains.
When healthy and playing well, Ryan Braun has one of the most effective swings in baseball. Since the All-Star break he has been a big part of the Milwaukee Brewers being able to win games. In order for the Crew to make the playoffs, they are going to need Braun to continue with his great play.
The first part of the season did not begin as well as many were hoping for Braun. Other than a few great walk-off moments, he was not consistently finding his way on base. Braun entered the All-Star break with a batting average of just .235 over 234 at bats. He also had a couple short stints on the disabled list that kept him from being in the lineup consistently.
The positive for Braun in all of this was that a lot of the outs he was making were hard hit ones. He was having good at bats and making great contact, but unfortunately, many of those resulted in line drive outs right to a defender. You could tell Braun was frustrated but knew that if he continued to swing the bat well, those outs would turn into extra base hits.
A Second-Half Turnaround
In this second half of the season, August in particular, Braun has been on absolute fire. He has a batting average of .329 with 4 home runs, 13 RBIs and an OPS of .955. In the last 19 games that he has appeared in, he has a whopping .367 batting average and has been a key part in many Brewers victories. And that’s with a .338 BAbip. In the first half, his BAbip was at .262, meaning his bad luck has finally turned.
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Braun has also not shied away from big moments. In fact he seems to thrive in them. With two outs and RISP, he has an average of .361 with an OPS of 1.286. When the game is tied late, Braun has an average of .310 and in extra innings is batting a phenomenal .375. In game defining situations, Braun has relished having the opportunity to make a play and in turn has shown how valuable he is to this team.
An underrated contributor to Braun’s amazing second half has been his health. He’s avoided any DL stints, unlike during the first half of the season, which has kept him available and able to keep swinging his hot bat. Braun has said that this stretch is the best he’s felt all season and we are seeing the results of that on his stat line.
With the emergence of Jesus Aguilar at first base this season, it has allowed Braun to continue playing left field when he is in the lineup. Fielding at first base for Braun was coming with a learning curve as expected, but when he’s at his natural defensive position of left field, his defense is outstanding.
Even as a veteran he still sports a strong-arm and on the year has no errors in left field. In the midst of a great month at the plate, it’s easy for Braun’s defensive ability to be forgotten, but it’s another part of his game that makes him a special player.
In order for the Milwaukee Brewers to remain relevant in the playoff race, Ryan Braun is a key player. Since the All-Star break ended, he’s been on a roll and a big contributor to the Brewers wins. As we approach the final month of the season, it will be important for Braun to stay healthy and to keep swinging the bat well.