Ryan Braun, Upside and Average

Ryan Braun is one of the first outfielders to go in nearly every mock draft so far this year. With two solid seasons of production under his belt, Braun has an ADP of nine according to the latest information from Mock Draft Central and he is the second-rated outfielder there behind Grady Sizemore.

One of the nice things about Braun is that he will give you numbers in all five categories. He is a threat to win the home run title, but he can also steal bases and post a nice average, too. Last year, Braun finished tied for fourth in the majors with 37 home runs. The three players who hit more homers – Carlos Delgado, Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard – combined for three steals while Braun had 14.

The big question around Braun is how high you think his average will be. In his rookie season, he batted .324 but his average dropped to .285 last year. Now that is still a fine mark – Delgado’s .271 was the highest mark of the three that hit more homers – but he is a borderline first-round pick if his average remains what it was in 2008.

The Bill James projection sees Braun rebounding for a .310 average this season, which makes him an easy first-round selection. The other three projection systems all show Braun improving on last year’s mark, which certainly is a nice sign.

When Braun hit .324 in 2007, he did it in part due to a .367 BABIP. Last year his mark in that category fell to .308, which led to the 39-point drop in average. All four projection systems show Braun with a BABIP this year in the .320s, which would probably mean some combination of more line drives and fewer infield pop-ups.

Starting with the sixth pick in the draft, it is reasonable to start considering Braun for your pick. But he is just one of about a dozen players you have to review. If you think he should be the sixth player taken, you are banking on the 25-point increase in average that the James projection predicts. That is not out of the question, but it should also be looked at as the high end of his expected performance for 2009.

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6 Responses to “Ryan Braun, Upside and Average”

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  1. Scott G. says:

    My preference on the #6 pick would be Braun,Cabrera,Sizemore. I am not as confident as most that Sizemores AVG will increase and the 30HR power will continue. Cabrera’s a rock.

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  2. Recca says:

    In a standard 5x5league I believe all 3(Cabrera, Sizemore, Braun) can make a case for being picked 6th. I however enjoy playing in leagues that include OBP as well as the other 5 offensive categories. In this case I would be inclined to select either Sizemore or Cabrera, even though Cabrera’s OBP dropped last year. Also Braun’s loss of 3rd base eligibility hurts him a bit.
    Runs- Sizemore, Braun, Cabrera
    Home Runs- Braun, Cabrera, Sizemore
    RBI’s- Cabrera, Braun,Sizemore
    SB’s- Sizemore, Braun, Cabrera
    AVG- Cabrera, Bruan, Sizemore
    OBP- Cabrera, Sizemore, Braun

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  3. Ender says:

    Braun got hurt late in 08 and his stats tanked with the injury. Had he stayed healthy he’d have hit 40 HR and hit .300. He should be in the first 6 picks in every league.

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  4. Jesus says:

    Jesus agrees with Ender. Braun’s .208 September average spoiled what would probably have been a .300 season. The injury bug will not bite him again. I have smited that little bugger. Draft confidently.

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  5. Mod518 says:

    I know this isnt usually the quota at fangraphs but i was wondering what you guys think of Utley compared to Braun? I have both in a keeper league and am really struggling to decide which to keep. Both of their numbers are extremely close but because of position scarcity at second base I am leaning toward Utley if he is not going to miss significant time due to the offseason surgery.

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  6. Thanks a lot! That was very informative, I just Dugg your url.

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