We continue our series of articles where we are grading individual players of the Milwaukee Brewers and how they performed in the 2018 regular season and postseason. We will now take a look at the year Ryan Braun had in 2018.
When you think of the late 2000’s and the Milwaukee Brewers, one of the first players that comes to people’s mind is Ryan Braun. He’s had a great career playing with the Brewers for 11 straight seasons. Let’s dive into Braun’s 2018 season.
Regular Season: B-
Ryan Braun’s 2018 regular season was one where he would go from seeing little playing time to then becoming the go-to guy in the outfield for Milwaukee. Braun has had quite a history with injuries in his playing career, especially with back and hip issues. That seemed to be the case this year for the left fielder turned first baseman…who then played left field the rest of the second half.
Braun played in 71 games and started 55 of those games of the first half. His batting stats were .235/.283/.427 with an OPS of .711, adding 10 HR and 35 RBI. Braun, again, was spending some time on the DL through out the first half of the season and with the acquisitions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich playing in the outfield along with Doming Santana getting some well deserved playing time. The 34 year old veteran was seeing playing time slip away.
Willing to do whatever it took to get on the field more, Braun was willing to return to the infield. Let’s not forget that Braun was came up as a third baseman in 2007. Thinking about learning the role at second base, Braun was then moved to first base as a third string substitute where he played 17 games. He was behind everyday first baseman Jesus Aguilar, and Eric Thames, who would split time with Aguilar when it came to facing right handed pitchers.
After Santana needed to be optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs for most of the second half, the Brewers were in search of some help in the outfield. That’s where Braun came in to prove he’s still capable of playing left field. Braun played 92 games in left field in 2018.
Braun played in 54 games of the second half and started 44 of those games. His second half slash line was .281/.353/.526 with a .879 OPS, 10 HR and 29 RBI. Braun’s second half saw the vet was improving and no longer hurt.
Braun’s end of the regular season stats were .254/.313/.469 and a .782 OPS with 20 HR and 64 RBI.
I gave Braun a B- in the postseason as well because he did extremely well in the NLDS against Colorado where he put up numbers like .385/.385/.385 and an OPS of .769 but no home runs or RBIs. The NLCS was a different story as the offense was something to be desired throughout the lineup. Braun played in all seven games of the NLCS and batted .241/.290/.310 and again with no home runs but he did have 4 RBIs. Braun did strike out nine times in the crucial seven game series against the Dodgers.
Braun’s final stat line for the 2018 postseason was .286/.318/.652 with 4 RBI and no HR.
Overall Grade: B-
This certainly wasn’t the 2011-2012 Ryan Braun putting up dominating numbers, but for being 34 years old, he is still showing that he can still help out the team and perform in clutch moments.
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The Milwaukee Brewers have Braun under a guaranteed contract for two more seasons. It’s important to keep him healthy in the outfield, because he can still be a productive hitter when he’s not ailing.