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Is Ryan Braun great, or just really good?


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OK, at this point, Ryan Braun is hitting .299, with an OPS of .904, and 14 HR. These are all very respectable totals, I'm sure there's no debate on that.

 

If you look deeper into the numbers, you will find three other players with 14 HR at this point, those three players have an average OBP of .431, Braun's OBP is .328. More times on base means more chances to score - those three players have averaged 34 runs, to Braun's 27.

 

Ryan Howard, despite a completely horrible start to the season, has walked 25 more times than Braun has (that is not a typo), his average is 90 points below Braun's, and his slugging percentage, is 98 points below Braun's....enormous advantages for Braun....and yet Howard has scored 41 runs, to Braun's 27 - 50% more runs scored, despite giving up 90 pts in average, and 98 pts in slugging!

 

OK, so, we know the guys ahead of Braun in the order have been very inconsistent, and we know Prince hasn't provided the expected power to help Braun out - the question is, how good is Ryan Braun? Are some of Braun's totals muted right now by a weak lineup, or is this who Braun really is? Is he a guy who has hit with limited opportunities this season, or have teams simply pitched him less carefully with the bases empty, leading to inflated HR totals?

 

I love Ryan Braun, and I'm thrilled that he signed his new deal. I absolutely believe he has Hall of Fame potential as a hitter, and that he will become an above average defender with more repetition. Even at that, I'm not certain whether Braun will be a guy who earns his legacy on 12 great seasons, or a guy who will need 18 good ones to get there.

 

What do you think, is Braun a monster, or is he merely a solid piece of the puzzle?

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I think he is a solid player who needs to be more selective at the plate to be a great player. Of course, he gets so many of his hits on bad pitches, he might hurt himself by not swinging at them.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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great question. not good question, but a great question.

 

i think if you look at all of the numbers you posted and factor in a few things Ryan Braun is great.

 

numbers-wise he could have easily had the sophomore slump - which is the direction he looked like he was heading early - but he has adjusted to pitchers pitching to him differently and pitchers now knowing his approach after facing him last year. he has shown he can adjust and i don't think that ability is going to go away anytime soon. my guess is he ends up hitting about .312 this year. not sure why, it's just the number that keeps on popping up when i think about it.

 

character-wise i think he is pretty solid and a breath of fresh air to the organization and league. or league and then organization, actually. his demeanor, approach to the game and commitment to the brewers while showing humbleness and common sense when he signed his contract were so impressive to me. i've said it in another thread somewhere about how it was so refreshing to hear his parents both say "he needs to stay grounded" when they were interviewed during a game after the contract signing. that put a smile on my face for many reasons. so, when thinking about his numbers and what he will mean to this organization in the long run i figure those types of things into the equation. thus...

 

my vote = great

 

go Ryan.

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Right now he's Carlos Lee with more pure power and of course not a black hole on defense but with even less on base skills. Meaning he's very good. Unless he becomes more selective I doubt he'll be great in the sense of ARod or Pujols.
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I feel the fact that he's already a great hitter and he doesn't have plate discipline yet, means that he's going to be extremely special and a HOF type guy when he gets to a point where his OBP is .60 to .80 points higher than his batting average or even higher.
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Right now he is very good. But I see him being great very soon. Yes, he does need to improve his OBP, but if he can hit around .300, 40 HR and 100 RBI every season like I think he will, then I don't see any reason to not consider him great regardless of his OBP.

Formerly BrewCrewIn2004

 

@IgnitorKid

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For a few reasons I haven't been able to watch as many games as I would like, but I think Braun's approach at the plate has been a lot better for the last few weeks than it was at the early part of the season. I think his OBP and Runs Scored should continue to climb in the rankings. My vote: good going on to great.

 

I am pretty ecstatic also to have him on the team for many years to come. I feel he will improve in a few areas yet, and consistently be in our top 1-3 players.

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Right now he is very good. But I see him being great very soon. Yes, he does need to improve his OBP, but if he can hit around .300, 40 HR and 100 RBI every season like I think he will, then I don't see any reason to not consider him great regardless of his OBP.

Well, I am doubtful he can hit .300 and 40 HR every year. Right now I think he is Jeff Francouer without the OF experience and a little more power.

 

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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Well, I am doubtful he can hit .300 and 40 HR every year. Right now I think he is Jeff Francouer without the OF experience and a little more power.

 

I meant around .300 and 40 HR. Not at or over 40 and at or over .300 every year. I think he will be better then Francouer. If we had Francouer instead of Braun I wouldn't be as excited.

Formerly BrewCrewIn2004

 

@IgnitorKid

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Slap me up for cherry-picking the already small sample, but things are rosier since the first 14 games of the year when he didn't walk at all.

 

Season:

 

BA OBA Slug% OPS SB% AB/HR
.299 .328 .576 .904 25.00 16.00

 

First 14 games:

 

BA OBA Slug% OPS SB% AB/HR
.246 .242 .426 .668 0.00 20.33

 

Since first walk:

 

BA OBA Slug% OPS SB% AB/HR
.319 .358 .632 .990 33.33 14.82

 

He still needs to walk more than the once every 16 AB rate he's had since that first walk.

That’s the only thing Chicago’s good for: to tell people where Wisconsin is.

[align=right]-- Sigmund Snopek[/align]

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I think of Kirby Puckett's approach when I think of Braun at the plate. I could certainly be wrong, but I don't think Braun is going to develop into a guy that walks a lot. I think his approach is that he is going to to the plate looking to make something happen, and if the pitcher just refuses to give him anything to hit, he'll reluctantly take the walk. Kirby in his career hit for .318 and got on base 36% of the time. While obviously people want Braun to get on base more than that, I think that would be acceptable he hits for enough power.

 

One difference of course is the power. Pucket slugged .477 for his career (which is brought down somewhat by his first two years when he didn't break .385). Braun in basically one season's worth of play has slugged .615. He's obviously unlikely to sustain that, but if he settled into a guy that slugged around .550 for his career average, he will be a very valuable player, even with an OBP of less than .380, or whatever.

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I would be very happy with a .360 OBP out of Braun every year. I just don't think at this point he is going to do that without hitting closer to .320+ and I don' think he is going to hit .300+ every year.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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I think with Braun you are going to find that it is pretty difficult to compare him to anyone else in the league. But there is ONE thing that he does have in common with some players...

Say you are the fan of an opposing team who really doesn't follow the other teams all that much. Say you've been living under a rock for the last year and a half and you have NEVER seen Ryan Braun bat or even knew he existed. If you are flipping on the television mid game to watch your team face the Brewers and you see Braun come up to bat, i can almost gaurantee that you're going to say something to the effect of, "This guy scares the crap outta me." It's the same quality Manny has. It's the same quality Pujols has. And maybe some will disagree with this, but i don't think Prince has it. No matter how hot Prince gets, to me he will always look vulnerable at the plate.

But is he great? So far we only have a one year sample, but judging from that:

Pros:

Hits for average
Hits for power (lots of it)
Gets hits and even extra base hits on pitches out of the zone
Has some speed, can steal bases.
Plays with a swagger
Despite above statement, has a very positive, team-first attitude which the fans love

Cons:

Stikes out often
Doesn't walk enough
Not a solid fielder

In my opinion, he's already a very good player. The question is, which of those above traits will change? I think it's pretty obvious that he will get better in the k/bb ratio. Also, this is the first time he has EVER played the outfield and he is getting his practice in at the major league level. No doubt that will improve as well. Hall of Famer? No matter how talented a guy is, you can't ever predict that. Injuries happen, anything can happen. But will he be great. Yes.

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I'd love to see some Pitch/FX data on Braun's plate discipline since his first walk, but to the naked eye it appears that he has been laying off more borderline pitches, especially deep in the count. Whether that's an effect of trying to be more selective, or simply seeing the ball better, is anyone's guess.

 

But he has proven that he can make solid contact on pitches several inches off the plate and off of his shoetops, so unless he's really on board with making walking a core part of his skillset I think he'll continue to hack. I'm curious how 40 extra points of OBP could affect his projections. I wonder what players are comps with and without that bump; it appears that there isn't enough of a sample size for B-R to calculate any.

 

Numbers wise, I'd still put my money on Fielder being better when alll is said and done. There just isn't enough difference in value between LF and 1B. I'd say it's 25% more likely Braun will be a very good player than a great one.

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Lately it seems like Ryan has been fouling off a ton of pitches and having long at-bats that way, even if the count never gets past 1-2. He definitely could become the kind of player that keeps fouling off bad pitches until the pitcher gives in and grooves one to him, but that's not to say that I don't want him taking more walks, too. The more baserunners getting on ahead of Prince, the better.

"[baseball]'s a stupid game sometimes." -- Ryan Braun

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Right now he is very good. But I see him being great very soon. Yes, he does need to improve his OBP, but if he can hit around .300, 40 HR and 100 RBI every season like I think he will, then I don't see any reason to not consider him great regardless of his OBP.

Well, I am doubtful he can hit .300 and 40 HR every year. Right now I think he is Jeff Francouer without the OF experience and a little more power.

 

That's a terrible comparison. Braun's career SLG is .157 higher than Francouer. This year, his SLG is .171 higher. The difference is so big they aren't even comparable.

 

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steve267268 wrote:

I think it's pretty obvious that he will get better in the k/bb ratio.

What makes you think his K/BB ratio will get better?

 

 

That's a terrible comparison. Braun's career SLG is .157 higher than Francouer. This year, his SLG is .171 higher. The difference is so big they aren't even comparable.

 

Everything else is pretty similar. I stand by my comparison. Jeff Francouer with more power.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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I can see Braun's yearly lines looking similar to Francoeur's first year, but other than that, I don't think it makes a lot of sense. I would be fairly surprised to see Braun hit .260 in a healthy season. To go back to Puckett, his lowest in a season was .288. Jeter, another high average hitter, had a low BA of .291 in a full season (of course, I expect Braun to slug about .100 better over a career). Vlad Guerrero is probably around the peak of what Braun could be, his lowest BA was .302. I'm not really sure where you are getting the Frenchy similarity.
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I am referring more to the fact that neither walks much and relies on BA to drive their OBP. We still don't know what kind of hitter Braun will be either. As far as we know he will hit around .270 for his career. I doubt it, but he has had one good year.

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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I think the only valid comp between the two is that both may have a similar gap between avg and OBP. Jeff Francoeur has a very good half season, an average season, a below-average season, and a below-average 1/3 season.

 

Everything else is pretty similar. I stand by my comparison. Jeff Francouer with more power.

 

The difference in power doesn't allow any kind of comparison to be made based on avg and OBP. It's not as if one simply "hits the same, but with more power", because a huge increase in power makes you a completely different hitter, as doubles and homers are not singles.

 

In 1998, Vlad Guerrero had a .324 avg and .371 OBP. Juan Pierre had a .326 avg and .374 OBP in 2004. Those data in a vacuum would suggest the same exact hitter. Take a step back and you see that Vlad hit 15 more doubles and 35 more homers.

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I'll agree with most others and say he's really good, not yet great. A thirty point difference in avg and OBP is pretty bad. He'll likely hit between .290 and .310 or so every year if he keeps this up. I'd say he'd be "great" if he gets about a .370 or .380 OBP with ~.300 avg and 30-40 homers a year. I'm really not that concerned with his strikeouts. Unless you're Albert Pujols or Barry Bonds (aka sure-fire HOFer), if you have a ton of power you'll probably strike out a decent amount. As long as his walks increase I'll be thrilled with him.
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kiwi brewer wrote:

character-wise i think he is pretty solid and a breath of fresh air to the organization and league. or league and then organization, actually. his demeanor, approach to the game and commitment to the brewers while showing humbleness and common sense when he signed his contract were so impressive to me. i've said it in another thread somewhere about how it was so refreshing to hear his parents both say "he needs to stay grounded" when they were interviewed during a game after the contract signing. that put a smile on my face for many reasons. so, when thinking about his numbers and what he will mean to this organization in the long run i figure those types of things into the equation. thus...

 

my vote = great

 

go Ryan.

I agree with the characterization of Ryan in the above quote. He has made a commitment to the Brewers, he has handled himself with class and his quote, "there is not too much I can't buy with $45,000,000" was priceless. It shows me he GETS IT! I think he understands that he is getting a great living playing the best game in the world. Call me old-fashioned but stats do not in and of themselves make a Great player. They are important, but only if character goes with them.
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