Monday, October 31, 2011

Free Agent Watch: Russell Branyan

In 2011, Branyan played in just 68 games for the Diamondbacks and Angels and registered a -.2 WAR while making 1 million dollars. His OBP was just .295 and his OPS was just .665. While his PAPP was 2.92, his PPG was just .47. However, he walked 12.32 percent of the time, well above league average, and he homered 3.4% of his plate appearances, again well above league average. Even with his awful OBP, he still had a PPS of 95.1. After having a 1.8 WAR in 09, and a 2.4 WAR in 2010, one quickly scrambles to figure out what happened. It seems to be the usual suspect, BABIP. His BABIP was just .244 in 2011, which is mindblowingly low. His career BABIP is .296. With his career BABIP replacing the his 2011 BABIP, he would have had a .359 OBP, and even if his Slugging somehow didn't change, he would have a more acceptable .729 OPS. This makes us want to look at his career numbers. He trots this line out: .329 OBP, .814 OPS, 2.63 PAPP, and 1.03 PPG. Excluding the average OBP, these are pretty good numbers. The deeper you go, the better they get, with a 5.7 Runs Created per Game, and a .565 offensive winning percentage. Even better is his Secondary Average (.394), and Isolated Slugging (.254). He walks 11.86 percent of the time and homers 5.7% of the time. Add this to a 97.36 and you have a very good offensive player. Defensively, he isn't very good at a -.7 career D-WAR. Because of his pretty bad 2011 season, Russell Branyan will be significantly undervalued. However, it seems his 2011 season was due to his lack of Plate Appearances (just 146), and his terrible BABIP luck. He doesn't have a great OBP, but he walks like crazy and is a big time home run hitter. He is a ball crusher, who is also a pretty efficient hitter as PAPP shows. It would be absolute insanity for a team to sign Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols when there are solid 1st Baseman like Branyan and Overbay laying around basically to be underpaid. Using Simple WAR and our adjusted OBP and OPS (but basically unrealistically not changing PPG or PAPP, we can predict at 1.56 O-WAR for 2012 (if we replace the PPG and PAPP with his career numbers for those statistics we get a 2.24 O-WAR).

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