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Thursday, February 18, 2010
Russell Branyan close to finding a homePosted by Josh Shepardson at 6:46pm
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Russell Branyan has a Major League offer on the table from the Cleveland Indians and is receiving interest from the Tampa Bay Rays. While the Rays may be in the running, I'd imagine they won't be signing him unless they are able to move Pat Burrell. If the Rays do decide to sign Branyan, even if they are unable to move Pat Burrell, he would seem to be a better fit with the Rays than with the Indians. Pat Burrell's splits show a positive slant toward slugging lefties better than righties, and Branyan has slugged righties while struggling against lefties during his career, making for a solid designated hitter (DH) platoon.
When looking at the Indians depth chart it is tough for me to see a clear role for Branyan. Hafner is locked up as the DH and struggles against left-handed pitchers, making Branyan a poor platoon mate at DH. That said, Hafner has struggled to stay healthy the last few years, so it's likely he'll miss time due to his bum shoulder, making Branyan solid insurance. Matt LaPorta appears as the starting first baseman on the depth chart, and given the fact the Indians are rebuilding and he's a prime piece, he'll most certainly play everyday. However, a caveat with LaPorta is that he did play left field for 29 games and right field for 10, thus he could play left field instead of Michael Brantley leaving first base open for Branyan.
Russell Branyan should be a cheap source of power in deep leagues and AL-only leagues if he's able to receive 400 or more at bats. His batting average (AVG) is likely to leave a lot to be desired given his high strikeout rate. That said, if Branyan's at bats are limited almost exclusively to facing right-handed pitchers, his AVG could sit in the .250 range. If Branyan is able to receive 500 or more at bats, it's likely his batting average would be hurt with the extra at bats against left-handed pitchers, but his counting stats should be bumped up to a possibly useful level in deeper leagues. As a fan of Russell Branyan, I'll be curious to see where this three true outcomes machine ends up signing.
Feel free to reach me at my e-mail, JoshShep50 AT Yahoo DOT com with any questions, feedback, or any other general inquiries.
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