Milwaukee Brewers: What to expect from Ryan Braun in 2019?

Matthew Dewoskin
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks to the Brewers dugout on his way to first base after hitting a single to left field during the 12th inning of Game Four of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks to the Brewers dugout on his way to first base after hitting a single to left field during the 12th inning of Game Four of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /
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2019 will be Ryan Braun’s 13th season with the Milwaukee Brewers. What is the expectation for his age-35 season?

Ryan Braun last played 140 games in a single season for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015. He last made over 500 plate appearances in 2016. His 2018 campaign was uneven at best, but he managed to stay on the field for 125 games. He did miss time with injuries to his ribs, calf, back, and thumb. However, only the back required a DL stint in mid-May. Can Braun manage to bounce back in 2019, or is he headed for another mediocre year?

How was Braun’s 2018 campaign?

Braun slashed .254/.313/.469 in 447 plate appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018. He blasted 20 homers, stole 11 bases in 16 attempts, drove in 64 runs, and scored 59 times.

How about in the field?

Braun played 18 games at first base, and 93 games in the outfield. He was solid enough at first base at showed impressive range, but struggled in the outfield. He only managed one assist in 2018, and his range was diminished by just about every metric there was.

How was he in the playoffs?

Braun played all 10 post season games, and managed a .286/.318/.333 slash line in 44 plate appearances. He didn’t hit any homers, but he did steal a pair of bases.

What do the projection systems have for Braun in 2019?

THE BAT has Braun at a .271/.335/.476 slash line. Steamer projects a .265/.330/.476 slash line. ATC has him down for a .262/.322/.464 slash line. Depth Charts has him with a .265/.330/.476.

All of those numbers are an improvement on his 2018 numbers, and none of those projections have him playing more than 133 games. According to the projection systems, Ben Gamel may have to step in at least 30-to-40 times in 2019.

Has he made any adjustments?

You bet! He’s been working with a private hitting coach to rework his swing in an effort to turn in a more productive year. Braun produced a 28.4% fly ball rate in 2018. That’s the second lowest rate of his career. The goal is to adjust his swing in order to generate more fly balls, and, hopefully, more homers.

dark. Next. Why did the Brewers sign Brett Lawrie?

Braun only has one year beyond 2019 left on his contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Between the eight-year deal he signed in 2008 and the five-year extension he signed in 2011, it’s hard to believe that his deal is coming to an end. He’ll need a healthy and productive 2019 and 2020 if he wants to continue his career beyond that. He does have a mutual option for $15 million in 2021, but it’s unlikely that the Milwaukee Brewers will keep a 37-year old Braun at that rate.

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