Boy oh boy, when the season started and I saw how Ryan Braun was playing in March/April, I was ready to put a cap on his career. I mean, do you blame me? Brauny started the first month hitting an abysmal .196 with a slugging percentage of .381. Braun wasn’t even getting on base at an efficient rate, he had a .250 OBP in the opening month. He was striking out 24% of the time leaving Craig Counsell no choice but to start Ben Gamel in left field. As a player who usually gets off to hot starts at the plate, this was easily Braun’s worst opening month of his career. He was even making uncharacteristic errors out in the field. We haven’t had a dominant Ryan Braun since 2016 but at this point I’m just looking for slightly above average. The start of the 2019 season made it seem like Brewer fans weren’t even getting that. There will come a day where Ryan Braun cannot square up a Mid-90s fastball and I thought we were seeing that come to fruition. However, I was wrong. I was really wrong.
The month of May for Ryan Braun has been more than kind to him. In May, Braun played in 25 games and hit an elite .363 with an OBP of .427. He had a better OPS in May (1.014) than Dodgers outfielder, Cody Bellinger, who is doing things that haven’t happened since Babe Ruth in 1932. In just one month, Braun was able to raise his batting average by .75 points. He was also able to hit 4 home runs, 6 doubles, and generate 14 RBIs. The 14 RBIs was only 1 less than $300 million dollar man, Manny Machado, was able to produce in May. Braun was striking out 24% of the time in March/April but he was able to lower that and only strike out 20% of the time in May. This is 5% lower than Mike Trout’s strikeout rate in the fifth month of the year. This was easily his best month of May since 2016.
Going into the month of June, Braun is hitting .271 with an OPS of .806. He has 9 home runs, 30 RBIs, 9 doubles, and 25 runs scored. What’s more impressive is that he is doing his best work when there are 2 outs with runners in scoring position. On the season, he is hitting .412 with over half of his RBIs in these situations. At this point, if I had to guess, Braun is on pace for a .280 season with about 27 home runs, 90 RBIs, and 75 runs scored. If this happened, it would subjectively be Braun’s best season since 2015, the last time he made the All-Star game. We could very well be seeing another potential All-Star campaign by the 35-year-old in 2019.
***Stats accurate according to baseball-reference.com as of 3:00 p.m. on 6/1/2019***