The Milwaukee Brewers‘ Ryan Braun has hit another milestone in his career. The veteran slugger launched the 350th home run Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Brewers are locked in a tight race in the NL Central Division so more power is welcome as the regular season winds down. The team tweeted the celebratory news late Wednesday evening.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 17, 2020
Ryan Braun Hits Home Run #350
Braun has declined in 2020 but still remains a respectable hitter. The 36-year-old is hitting .226/.277/.473 with six home runs and 22 RBI. He was a far better hitter in 2019 at .285/.343/.505 and OPS+ of 117 but his 2020 OPS+ of 96 is still fine for a player of his age. It is also hard to declare a significant decline in a season as odd as 2020. Braun’s plate appearances will only equal about one-fifth of what they usually are, making random variation happen far more easily.
The Brewers originally selected Braun in the first round of the 2005 Amateur Draft out of Miami. He debuted in 2007 at 23-years-old and was immediately one of the best hitters in baseball. He slashed .324/.370/.634 with 34 bombs on his way to a Rookie of the Year award. Braun has been an above-average hitter in every season before 2020. There is a mutual option of $15 million for 2021 so there is a chance Milwaukee could part with one of the best players in their franchise’s history.
What This Means for the Future
Unfortunately, probably nothing to fans outside of Milwaukee. It’s a fantastic personal milestone but a drug-related suspension in 2013 colors many perceptions. However, it’s certainly possible that Hall of Fame voters consider his candidacy differently when he is eventually on the ballot. Braun is 32nd in WAR among all left fielders and his JAWS score is 26th. Another two or three seasons of good production would potentially move him past current members Joe Kelley and Ralph Kiner. It’s highly unlikely Braun gets serious consideration but players are more conscious of their image than ever before. It’s not impossible Braun could put himself into the conversation when he is ultimately eligible.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images