Fantasy Outlook: Ryan Braun
2015 Season Recap
In 2015, Ryan Braun was able to do what most experts and fans didn’t think was possible and that was to stay healthy for a full season. Fantasy owners that drafted him last year were rewarded with 506 at-bats.
He also posted strong numbers in all categories with a batting average of .285, 25 home runs, 84 RBI and 24 stolen bases. 2015 was the second straight season that Braun eclipsed the 500 at-bat mark. Even with the Brewers season-long struggles, he was a constant source of fantasy production.
He still possesses a decent combination of power and speed at 32 years old. Braun finished 19th in the National League in home runs and a tie for eighth in steals.
2016 Season Outlook
At the end of 2015, Braun underwent back surgery to relieve a herniated disc in his lower back. The surgery will not hurt his preparations for 2016 as he is expected to be completely ready to go for spring training.
What may hurt Braun more than his checkered injury history this season is the Brewers’ roster reconstruction, which has gone all-in with the youth movement. He will be missing his two sources of lineup protection from last season with Adam Lind traded to Seattle and Aramis Ramirez traded to Pittsburgh at the end of 2015 and now retired.
What this means for Braun is that he will see fewer good pitches to hit and more walks. The walks could benefit his steals total, but he’ll be hard-pressed to reach 25 home runs again.
The Brewers will continue to build the franchise with youth, but Braun will be difficult to deal because his five-year, $105 million contract extension kicks in this season. He will likely stay and patrol right field for the Brewers for the next few years but if healthy, should produce a 20-home run, 20-steal season in 2016.