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  1. A .321 OBP isn’t respectable, not for a first baseman. You live with it against lefties because he still mashes, but it’s not a good number.

    Comment by Kevin S. — October 10, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  2. The combined slash line for 1B in the majors this year: .277/.363/.483. Branyan was basically a league-average 1B, which I would say sheds the AAAA tag. I’m guessing they’ll let Branyan go, since Mike Carp had a fairly successful September. I wonder if somebody like the Braves might sign him to a 2-3 year deal if they don’t try to re-sign LaRoche. The injury risk is too great in my mind, but I can see that happening if LaRoche asks for a deal to match his 2nd half outburst.

    Comment by LeeTro — October 10, 2009 @ 11:34 am

  3. he was pretty awful after june. like, really bad. his overall slash line probably gets bailed out by him missing september.

    i mean, he’s a major leaguer, but he’s got 2400+ MLB at-bats that say he’s a .822 OPS hitter.

    Comment by big baby — October 10, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  4. How will his skill-set age, though? Is there any risk of Branyan turning into the second coming of Richie Sexson?

    Comment by Steven — October 10, 2009 @ 11:56 am

  5. There have been a few instances of Branyan love on this blog and I really don’t get it. Look at his stats, he had over 1000 PAs before his age 28 season and what did they say about him? Overall average to slightly above average hitter (poor OBP, but makes up for it with power) with a clunky glove. Isn’t that one of the definitions of AAAA player? Basically, at that point in his career, he had been below average no matter where you put him and he had LOTS and LOTS of PAs. He got chances. I wouldn’t have signed him. I wouldn’t have expected him to put together a good season at 34, either, and I would have been wrong, but does anyone want to bet on him to keep this up? My guess: He will revert to the player he’s always been. A good bench player who can fill in if someone else gets hurt, needs a day, whatever, but someone who’s really going to help you if you play him everyday.

    Comment by Jason461 — October 10, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

  6. Don’t forget he was playing with a back injury that got progressively worse as the year went on. At one point, after he missed a pretty routine grounder in a game, he said it just simply hurt too much to reach for the grounder…playing through injury is stupid, but he did it, and that’s a large reason why his numbers were pretty terrible after June.

    Comment by BrettJMiller — October 10, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

  7. He won’t turn into another Richie Sexson because he’ll never be paid that sort of money. You can have a player like Branyan on your roster as long as you don’t throw a huge amount of money at him.

    Comment by JLProck — October 10, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  8. His wOBA has never been below average in his career. Over the last two years in a sample of 650 PAs his OBP is above .340.

    Don’t forget, just because wOBA weighs OBP more than SLG doesn’t mean that SLG isn’t a valuable skill, especially when your slugging is above .500.

    Comment by Jack Moore — October 10, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

  9. His career has been derailed by constant injuries. When he is healthy he deserves a starting job but I would not want to rely on him as my only option at 1B going into the season. Would much rather tag him as my DH.

    Comment by Ender — October 10, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  10. I don’t buy into Branyan’s “year” at all (its more like half a year)…

    1st half: .280/.382/.573, 22 HR, 45 BB/95 K
    2nd half: .193/.274/.414, 9 HR, 13 BB/54 K

    Comment by NM — October 10, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  11. Well at least he was a bargain for one year.

    Comment by Southsider — October 10, 2009 @ 3:21 pm

  12. Being injured in the 2nd half can do that to you… A Herniated disk in his back I believe.

    Comment by Slurve — October 10, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  13. Against lefties, it’s fine.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — October 10, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

  14. Not sure what you mean? I see his total line this year as .251/.347/.520, wOBA of .363, a solidly above average first baseman. Splitting seasons like that, especially without giving context to his PA, is extremely misleading and not conducive to good analysis. Wouldn’t the full season’s worth of numbers be more indicative of his play than the two splits?

    Comment by Michael — October 10, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

  15. While I agree with you in principle Jack, to be fair, an average bat would not hold with the glove and positions he played. An average hitting, average fielding first baseman is worth around a win (give or take a few runs) over the course of a season, certainly not bad, but more in line with what Jason said.

    That being said, the last few years he’s been posting better walk rates and, if you can hide him at first base, he won’t hurt you with his glove and his bat will prove value. At .360 wOBA, he’s definitely worth it.

    Comment by Michael — October 10, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  16. His back injury is pretty bad, a herniated disk that they tried to treat without surgery but likely needs it in the near future. He may just be a bargain again sometime soon as a DH.

    Comment by Lailoken — October 10, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  17. Ryan Howard posts a .310 OBP against lefties, and everybody talks of how he can’t hit them at all. Of course, his slugging is also significantly lower, but if Branyan’s high slugging mitigates his low OBP, then the OBP isn’t fine in and of itself, right?

    Comment by Kevin S. — October 10, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

  18. Which do you believe is more of a fluke – his career ‘AAAA tag’ or 1st half production?

    Even if he kept up his production for a full season I still would somewhat cautious.

    Comment by NM — October 10, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

  19. Heyy back injury. Playing through a herniated disc is a stupid decision and may affect a player’s performance. Who knew?

    Comment by BrettJMiller — October 10, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

  20. Funny thing is the Mariners could use a DH.

    Comment by ineedanap — October 10, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  21. I think looking at league average position by position isn’t as good at looking at league median. The average is thrown off by guys like Pujols, Teixiera and Gonzalez.

    Comment by Alireza — October 10, 2009 @ 11:26 pm

  22. In honor of the great Edgar, the Mariners are not allowed to field a DH.

    Comment by Bookbook — October 10, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

  23. I was not surprised by branyan this season. I had him on evryone of my fantasy teams and finished first in my leagues in all but one. In hat one I finished second, but in my defense I had David Wright and is inability to hit a longball, so I finished second to last in homers. branyan was a much better deal!!!

    I hope he fixes his back and signs the multimillion dollar deal he has always deserved. I would easy trade him straight up for Dunn.

    Comment by Nats Fan — October 11, 2009 @ 12:11 am

  24. The .321 OBP is right in the graphing area between “poor” and “good” on the splits graphs. I would say that it means that his OBP against lefties, by itself, is acceptable. Also, positional adjustment isn’t necessary. Nobody cares if Branyan’s a first baseman, a right fielder, a DH, or a catcher. His numbers against lefties are fine because he is a lefty. He’s demonstrating that he can marginalize a same handed pitching weakness.

    It sounds like you want validation for Ryan Howard. I don’t think you’re going to get it. Howard’s issues against lefties clearly show that he can’t marginalize a lefty platoon split.

    Comment by Typical Idiot Fan — October 11, 2009 @ 7:39 am

  25. I most certainly do not want validation for Ryan Howard, I’m just trying to figure out why the .321 for Branyan is considered acceptable, while the .310 for another prominent lefty first baseman makes him a black hole against same-handed pitchers.

    And I strongly disagree that position doesn’t matter. If Brett Gardner OBPs .321 or .310 against lefties (I don’t know what it actually is), it’s not as big of a deal, because the standard for a centerfielder is lower to begin with. I’m not trying to knock Branyan, I’m just seeing a bit of a disconnect between Jack’s statement and other things we’ve heard repeatedly.

    Comment by Kevin S. — October 11, 2009 @ 9:30 am

  26. Can you tell us how many PAs are in each “half”. Don’t think it’s near equal.

    Comment by Sky — October 11, 2009 @ 10:24 am

  27. Branyan provided 2.5 months of production for the Mariners this year. His problems actually came in mid-June though, well before the injury.

    And even if people want to somehow blame the injury for his falling off the face of the earth; what is the excuse for last season? He hit .276/.366/.713/1.079 prior to July last season too, only to hit .205/.286/.341/.627 before losing his job in early August.

    Branyan just does this. Every season he has 1-2 months of fantastic play that gets people jumping onto his bandwagon in whatever city he is playing, then he hits his wall. This season it was April to Mid June. Last season it was mid May till July. The season prior it was April to mid May. In 2006 it was June and July with a surprise resurgence in September after the move to SD. 2005 say it in April and then again in July to Mid-Aug.

    When he was able to play 3B and signed his constant minor league deals as an emergency fill-in, this was a huge benefit – maybe you would get lucky and he would catch fire in the time you needed him. Now he is just a hit or miss 1B/DH type that isnt worth taking a shot on if you are trying to win games. If you play him all year, he will destroy your team more often then he will carry it. He will likely hit sub-200/sub-300/sub-450 when not on that 1-2 month mega-streak he always provides, history shows this – and teams just cant rely on a guy who hits like Pujols for a month or two and Izturis otherwise. He has changed franchises like 11 times in 6 or 7 years for a reason – and that was when he was useful because of the ability to play 3B.

    Comment by JoeyO — October 11, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  28. Actually he was injured all year, it just got progressively got worse, and he just played through it until August.

    Comment by BrettJMiller — October 12, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

  29. I bet Roberto Petagine could still put up a 2-3 WAR.

    Comment by wobatus — October 13, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

  30. So Branyan tears it up for a few months, gets a hernia, plays anyway, sucks because of it, and due to this people still don’t think he’s a useful MLB regular?

    Looks like some team is getting a decent 1B on the cheap in 2010.

    Comment by JoeR43 — October 14, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

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