It has been very interesting watching Ryan Braun play this 2018 season. You often hear people complain about how Ryan Braun isn’t very good anymore, or you hear people who say Braun has been extremely unlucky in 2018. It is very possible that skill regression is occurring now that Braun is 34 years old and in his 12th season as a pro. I decided to dig a little deeper into Braun’s stats this season to try and determine if it really is skill regression, or if he just ran into some bad luck so far this season.
People start to worry when they look at BABIP (batting average on balls in play) especially with Braun’s being 50 points under his career average. Even so, the first thing I wanted to look at for skill regression is his quality of contact, or in this case, hard hit percentage. As you can see from the table Braun has been able to remain fairly steady in his hard hit percentage, hovering right around his career average of 36.1% this season. We are also able to see his line drive percentage (LD%) has increased this season and outperforming his career average by almost 2.5%. Even though Braun’s BABIP has taken a sharp decrease this season, we can see that Braun is still hitting hard line drives. Unfortunately, it appears that most of them are going right to the fielders leading to some bad luck. Now it isn’t all bad luck because Braun’s strikeout rate is elevated from last season and almost 3% higher than his career average. If we can get Braun to cut back on some of his strikeouts and his luck changes we will start to see the old Ryan Braun at the plate.
The 5th spot in the batting order may be a good spot for him until he can get his swing back into form. Here is tonight’s lineup with Braun back in there.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 29, 2018
*Featured Image is taken from Steve Paluch on Flickr