Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pic of the Week

Ryan Braun splits his bat in hitting into a double play
against Cincinnati on Wednesday.

I like the moment captured here -- the bat essentially breaking lengthwise and the ball still in the shot -- but this image also provides the opportunity to comment on Ryan Braun, disgraced superstar.

Braun's involvement with performance-enhancers is pretty well known. He flunked a drug test near the end of his MVP season in 2011, wriggled out of the suspension by raising questions about how the specimen was handled, then wound up suspended for the final 65 games of 2013 after being nailed in the Biogenesis probe.

This year, Braun has

  • moved to right field;
  • played most of the season with a thumb injury;
  • gone from hitting third in the Milwaukee lineup to second; 
  • and is hitting .298/.349/.529, well below his career norms of .311/.372/.561.

On that last point, however, it's worth noting that offense is down all over. The OPS+ measure on Baseball Reference puts Braun at 140, meaning that he's 40 percent above league average. His career OPS+ is 146. This suggests that he's just as good as he has been over the years.

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