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Monday, May 23, 2011

Russell Branyan released

Or “freed”, if you’re a glass-half-full sort…

The Arizona Diamondbacks are releasing first baseman Russell Branyan…

The 35-year-old Branyan was one of three first basemen on the roster. His release leaves left-handed batting Juan Miranda and right-handed hitting Xavier Nady to share the spot.

Branyan… was batting just .210 with one homer and two RBIs.

The District Attorney Posted: May 23, 2011 at 12:05 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: arizona

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   1. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:23 AM (#3835346)
When I saw the title, I clicked on this thread to make a joke. But the joke was already made in the intro.
   2. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:25 AM (#3835347)
Come on, Ms. You know you want to.
   3. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:30 AM (#3835351)
I hope the Angels sign him to platoon with Trumbo at first base...
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 23, 2011 at 03:11 AM (#3835419)
Back issues or just end of the road?
   5. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: May 23, 2011 at 03:30 AM (#3835426)
The Tigers should see if he's got anything left.
   6. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 23, 2011 at 03:31 AM (#3835428)
Back issues or just end of the road?


Might be synonymous, in this case.

Honestly, Branyan's a success story. He came up a one-tool player who parlayed a good eye and hard work into a long career, a fair amount of money, a couple of trips to the playoffs, and a number of valuable seasons. Thirty, forty years ago, he might have had no career at all. If this is the end of the road, it's not the saddest story ever. He's always been one of my favorites, too -- a classic underdog of a certain kind. I'm simultaneously surprised by (A) how old he is and (B) how long he's stuck around.
   7. OCF Posted: May 23, 2011 at 03:41 AM (#3835433)
Thirty, forty years ago, he might have had no career at all.

But a generation before that, he might have had a long and productive (if perhaps not particularly enriching) career in the minor leagues. He could have been someone like Smead Jolley or Buzz Arlett or Ike Boone.
   8. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 23, 2011 at 03:54 AM (#3835440)
Xavier Nady is still around?!
   9. jwb Posted: May 23, 2011 at 04:09 AM (#3835444)
His comps include Jim Lemon, Jim King, Jim Hickman, Jim Gentile, and a few guys who played a few years ago not named Jim, so he probably would have dome ok.
   10. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 23, 2011 at 04:11 AM (#3835447)
His comps include Jim Lemon, Jim King, Jim Hickman, Jim Gentile, and a few guys who played a few years ago not named Jim, so he probably would have dome ok.


I don't know that a comps list is particularly instructive when considering this kind of question.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2011 at 04:41 AM (#3835453)
In some ways he might have flourished in the 70s because there was much more platooning. Branyan has a fair amount in common with Richie Hebner for example; probably more valuable than John Lowenstein (pretty similar careers really).

If Branyan was screwed it was that, because of his hitting approach, he got tagged as a poor fielder. But the evidence is that he was pretty average at 3B -- Chone shows him that way and I recall MGL making that claim in the early days of UZR. He was probably an above-average hitter and average fielder at 3B and so probably should have been getting at least 450-500 PA in at least a platoon throughout his 20s.
   12. Benji Posted: May 23, 2011 at 05:06 AM (#3835456)
I'd take him over Willie Harris.
   13. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: May 23, 2011 at 01:56 PM (#3835514)
Also, damn fun to watch at the plate.
   14. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:07 PM (#3835517)
I will always remember his T(wo)TO Phillies career with fondness:
9 PAs 2 Runs 2 Hits 2 HRs 5 RBIs 1 GS 6 K .222/.222/.889 OPS 1.111
   15. just plain joe Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:18 PM (#3835520)
9 PAs 2 Runs 2 Hits 2 HRs 5 RBIs 1 GS 6 K .222/.222/.889 OPS 1.111


Swing hard in case you hit it, makes for entertaining at bats if nothing else. That was my batting style when I played high school ball, way too many years ago. Not that my skills were anywhere near those of Branyan's by any stretch of the imagination.
   16. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:22 PM (#3835523)
I will always remember his T(wo)TO Phillies career with fondness:
9 PAs 2 Runs 2 Hits 2 HRs 5 RBIs 1 GS 6 K

his TTO average (lifetime) is at .506--I wonder if that's the highest for anyone with 3000 PAs (Jack Cust is at .529 in a tad over 2400 PAs)
   17. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:25 PM (#3835526)
Branyan developed late as a defender - he was rough initially then, by the time he was average, the bad rep had stuck. Sortakindalike a better version (on O) of long time minor league 3B Mike Hessman (who, as a righty, didn't enjoy the platoon advantage often enough).
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 23, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3835531)
If it had been mine team I would have stuck Russell in the sixth spot in the lineup and lived through the 10 game streaks of 28 strikeouts and columnists bloviating that he needed to be benched. Sure he would have sat against tougher lefties and maybe the odd game on turf to watch his back but I would have managed around these minimal limitations.

In return I would get an .800 plus OPS with ok defense and a guy who didn't care where he batted in the lineup as long as he PLAYED.
   19. The District Attorney Posted: May 23, 2011 at 03:03 PM (#3835541)
a generation before that, he might have had a long and productive (if perhaps not particularly enriching) career in the minor leagues. He could have been someone like Smead Jolley or Buzz Arlett or Ike Boone.
In some ways he might have flourished in the 70s because there was much more platooning.
Are you guys assuming that his K rate would have been proportionate to the league averages of those times? If not, I don't see how, prior to the mid-90s, he could ever have gotten a job striking out 180+ times a year. He wasn't Reggie Jackson or Bobby Bonds, and unless you were a guy like that, that simply wasn't done back then.

But yeah, in Earth-616, it's a shame that Branyan didn't get a shot earlier -- his bat certainly played at 3B, and I don't see any real evidence that he couldn't have held it down defensively before his back went. And he may still have something left... being in the AL of course would help. I have no clue why Arizona signed him to begin with. (Not only did they have Miranda, but they also have Brandon Allen, who is in all likelihood better than Miranda anyway.)

his TTO average (lifetime) is at .506--I wonder if that's the highest for anyone with 3000 PAs (Jack Cust is at .529 in a tad over 2400 PAs)
At least as of 2010, I have him at .508 (using PA as the denominator). That is in fact first among those with >3000 PA. Deer and Dunn are next at .491 (Deer is .00001 higher), Thome .476, Howard .466, etc.
   20. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: May 23, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3835580)
Dude hit .245/.337/.515 with a 130 OPS+ in nearly 1100 PAs between 2008 and 2010 -- surely *someone's* going to give him another shot, right?
   21. Gaelan Posted: May 23, 2011 at 04:07 PM (#3835583)
If the fences were ten or twenty feet further back Branyan would be an extremely valuable player. Everyone else' offense would go down while his wouldn't change at all.
   22. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 23, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#3835588)
his TTO average (lifetime) is at .506--I wonder if that's the highest for anyone with 3000 PAs (Jack Cust is at .529 in a tad over 2400 PAs)

At least as of 2010, I have him at .508 (using PA as the denominator). That is in fact first among those with >3000 PA. Deer and Dunn are next at .491 (Deer is .00001 higher), Thome .476, Howard .466, etc.


How is this calculated?
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: May 23, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3835595)
How is this calculated?


HR+K+BB/PA

I figured Reynolds would be close to the top when he had enough PAs, but he's only at .497. Not enough walks, I guess.
   24. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 23, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#3835616)
the other thing I noticed about Branyan is that he's been in MLB for 14 seasons, but only has one season where he was given enough PAs to qualify for the batting title (and that was just barely--505 for Seattle in 09).

(Kinda like John Lowenstein--16 seasons, almost 4000 PAs, qualified once)
   25. Greg Franklin Posted: May 23, 2011 at 10:41 PM (#3835834)
And he may still have something left... being in the AL of course would help. I have no clue why Arizona signed him to begin with. (Not only did they have Miranda, but they also have Brandon Allen, who is in all likelihood better than Miranda anyway.)
He was signed as insurance in case the other three options crashed and burned.
* Xavier Nady is an old flame from Kevin Towers' days in San Diego.
* Juan Miranda is Kevin Towers' first real trade as the AZ GM, and an old flame from Kevin Towers' days in New York. A natural platoon partner for X.
* Brandon Allen is the in-house prospect but for money and flexibility reasons (can he learn to play LF?) was ticketed for the minors.
* Branyan mashed in spring training 2011.

And so he miraculously forced himself onto the roster despite no appetite from management on up for wanting to play him.

One thing to remember is that even the past two years when Branyan performed successfully as a hitter, back and defensive concerns forced him to scrabble his way onto the Mariners roster ('09) and Indians roster ('10) and take less than a typical free-agent salary. For some reason he did it again in '11, signing as NRI with an NL club that had plenty of internal options.

I have no doubt he has something left as a hitter.

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