Over the last couple of weeks, both here and at FanGraphs, I pointed out that Russell Branyan was due for some regression. In April, his batting average on balls in play was .405. In May, it was .391. Those are just not sustainable numbers, regardless of how well you’re swinging the bat. The normal range of true talent BABIP is something like .260 to .360, with slow sluggers on the low end and slap-hitting speedsters on the high side. There was just no way that Branyan was going to keep posting a .390 BABIP.
And, we were totally right. Branyan’s BABIP in June has crashed down to a more normal .316. Take a look at how it’s affected his monthly totals:
Hilariously, Branyan has responded to the regression in his ball in play hit rate by cutting down on his strikeouts and hitting the crap out of the ball, even more so than earlier in the season. As you can see, it would have been basically impossible for him to be any more consistent in his OBP/SLG performance by month, even if the way he’s getting there changed.
Branyan has been everything we hoped Jeff Clement would turn into, but with better defense at first base. For all the consternation of Clement’s lack of development/injury problems/whatever, we’ve got a guy who is continuing to prove that he’s one of the better left-handed power hitters in the game. This signing couldn’t have possibly worked out any better.