Friday, February 24, 2012
Over/under: Ryan Braun's home runs
By David Schoenfield
We have to do this one today, don't we?
OK, we now know Ryan Braun will be in the Opening Day lineup for the Brewers.
You know what's interesting about Braun: He slugged .634 as a rookie in 2007 and hasn't matched that number since. That season, 22.1 percent of the fly balls he hit went as home runs, according to FanGraphs.com. That fell to 14 percent in 2010, when he hit just 25 home runs, but increased back to 18.8 percent as he hit 33 in his 2011 MVP campaign.
Braun did a few other things better in 2011: He hit more line drives and fewer groundballs, which helped raise his batting average from .304 to a career-high .332.
But how many home runs will he hit this season? He's hit as many as 37 in 2008, so there is clearly potential for him to exceed the 33 he hit last season. Let's set the over/under right there: 32.5.