Branyan is Way Undervalued

December 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm 7 comments

Russell Branyan

It seems tha tevery time I read an article or see a rumor of a team that is
looking for a firstbaseman it centers around three free agents:  Derek Lee, Adam LaRoche, and Jorge Cantu. Lee wants $8M-$10M, LaRoche apparently has options to weigh and the Orioles are all over him. It is rare, if ever, that I hear the name Russell Branyan mentioned. Heck, even Troy Glaus gets a mention or two. Here is a quick comparison of Branyan and the guys mentioned above over the past three seasons: 

Player OPS+ HR rWAR fWAR
Russell Branyan 130 68 5.4 6.1
Derrek Lee 119 74 8.3 10.4
Adam LaRoche 116 75 4.9 6.4
Jorge Cantu 100 56 3.4 4.0
Troy Glaus 112 43 4.0 5.6

Branyan stacks up nicely with everyone on this list although has less plate appearances than everyon on the list. Sure, Derrek Lee may be the best of the bunch over the past three years but he is on the decline and just had one of his worst seasons ever. Oh, and he wants Carlos Pena money too, who had 5.8 rWAR and 7.8 fWAR over the last three years. Branyan may have been the best over the past three years if he were healthy.

Yes, Branyan strikes out a ton and struggles against lefties but he also ranks 14th all-time in AB/HR ratio (14.9) and tied for 22nd all-time (with Willie Mays) in ISO with .256, and walks at an 11.8% rate. Three-true-outcome player? Maybe, but one who can pick it a little at first base and has historic power.

Fangraphs has Branyan worth $26.4M over the past three seasons, thanks to his power, patience, and him posting a +4.7 UZR in 1474.2 innings at first base the past three seasons. While guys like LaRoche are entertaining 3yr/$18M deals from the Orioles, we rarely see Branyan’s name surface in rumors.

Branyan’s power will play in any park (45 of his 68 homeruns the past three seasons are 400+ feet) and his glove is better than LaRoche, Glaus, and Cantu. I still do not understand the lack of buzz over Branyan when he is clearly the best option out there at what is going to be a reasonable rate. Whoever signs Branyan and gives him 500 plate appearances will reap the benefits and find a great return on their money.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Common Man  |  December 23, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Hard to believe that Branyan’s been around as long as he has. A function of never getting a real chance until his 30s, I guess. I agree he’s undervalued (probably a product of the back), but definitely needs to be platooned at this point. If only it were easy to find lefty mashers on the open mar…oh, wait, here’s one someone just dropped on the floor.

    Reply
  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charlie Nehl and Mikey Schwartze. Mikey Schwartze said: Interesting article on Russel Branyan by @FigureFilbert http://t.co/UXPggQ5 Branyan could really be a great fit for some team […]

    Reply
  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 23, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    It’s quite a shame he had so many problems staying in the majors (injuries, teams not realizing his value). He’s not quite Adam Dunn but much better than Rob Deer.

    Reply
  • 4. Branyan is Way Undervalued | Baseball Bloggers Alliance  |  December 24, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    […] Spread this article: […]

    Reply
  • 5. Fixing the Rays Need for Power « Figure Filbert  |  January 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    […] business would be to sign Russell Branyan. I have already supplied enough evidence to prove that Branyan is highly undervalued. It’s time someone took advantage of that and why not the Rays?  The misconception that […]

    Reply
  • […] business would be to sign Russell Branyan. I have already supplied enough evidence to prove that Branyan is highly undervalued. It’s time someone took advantage of that and why not the Rays?  The misconception that […]

    Reply
  • 7. Fantasy Rankings – Firstbasemen « MLB Dirt  |  February 26, 2011 at 10:03 am

    […]  Always loved the power. Mark it down, if he gets 500 at-bats he will hit 35+ homeruns, but a big if. […]

    Reply

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