“Fine” is probably the best word you can use to describe Ryan Braun’s 2018 campaign. He didn’t hurt the team, but he wasn’t truly an asset either. He still covers ground well in the outfield, but also suffers the occasional injury that leaves him on the bench for a few days or send him to the DL. Thankfully, for the first time in his Brewers career, fine was all Milwaukee needed from him.
In 2018, the Brewers left fielder hit .254/.313/.469 with 20 homers and 11 stolen bases. This is probably the type of season we can expect from Braun for the remainder of his career in Milwaukee, although there is some evidence that he suffered from bad luck in 2018. With a career-low .274 BABIP and 23.1% line drive rate alongside his second highest hard hit rate of 43% (which is very high), it can be reasoned that Braun was making great contact but not seeing any results from his performance. We’ll never be able to say for sure, but there is a chance that he can improve his numbers.
Credit where credit is due, Braun started off the season in a positional limbo that showed how much of a team player he is. With a log jam in the outfield created by trading for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain, Domingo Santana and Ryan Braun were set to split time in the outfield. To ensure he could get as many regular bats as possible, the Brewers transitioned Braun to first base, where he actually looked pretty solid defensively.
With Santana struggling and the arrival of Aguilar, that plan to play Braun at first didn’t last past April and he was sent back to the outfield for a majority of his innings.
That’s truly all there is to say about Ryan Braun’s 2018 campaign. It was reliable but not special. We know that Braun should still be an okay defender in 2019, and it will be interesting to see if he does get an offensive boost or if he ends up dealing with more detrimental injuries and setbacks.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs