OF Ryan Braun
Ryan Braun posted the worst batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS of his career in 2018. His .254/.313/.469 slash line is not one that screams “This player is worth $20 million this season”. Braun eclipsed 20 home runs last year and had just 64 RBIs as he was dropped from the #3 spot in the order for the first time in years.
Braun’s numerous calf, back, and wrist ailments played a part in his struggles last year, and he’ll need regular rest to stay healthy. But there’s another reason Braun’s numbers suffered last year. Ever notice how he was always hitting the baseball hard but it seemed to always be right at a defender? Braun finished 2018 with a .274 BABIP, which is 53 points lower than his career BABIP. The poor luck took a toll on Braun.
Perhaps with less pressure on his bat this year, Braun can relax and with better luck, he’ll find the holes in the defense. Braun’s going to spend most of his time in the #5 hole in the lineup this year most likely. There should be plenty of runners on for Braun to bring in and he’ll be well protected by Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal.
Braun also joined the Launch Angle Revolution this offseason as he revamped his swing, looking to avoid the troubles he had in 2018. He was a consistent 30+ home run a season force in the Brewers lineup for years. He’s posted just one 30 homer season since 2012.
If the Milwaukee Brewers can get Braun back to being a 30 home run force, he’ll join Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar, Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, and Yasmani Grandal as possible 30 home run hitters in this lineup in 2019. That’s a ton of power.
Braun is a natural hitter, and he’s been a great hitter for years. Poor luck and injuries piling up have taken a toll these past few years. But with a new season comes new luck and perhaps better health for the now 35 year old outfielder.