Yes, meet Ryan Braun. Heaven knows I just did. I didn’t start tracking his stats until just last week because… get this… I forgot. I forgot to add him to my list when he was brought up to the show. Damn, I need an intern or something.
Fortunately, I got a heads up from Adam at Bugs & Cranks, for which I am eternally grateful. Because when I calculated the stats this afternoon, Mr. Braun scored… a perfect 1000. The fact that he has put up these statistics while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, plus the photographic evidence in the photo at left, convinces me of one thing:
Ryan Braun is a Warlock.
But we don’t discriminate here. Warlock or no, he is the first player to earn the coveted 1000 point plateau since the All-Star Break (it happened all over the place in the first couple of weeks, what with the small sample size). So, let’s look at this young legend in the making.
First, the negative. He shares his first and last name with a rookie who pitches for the Royals. Despite bearing that cross, he has overcome. Oops, did I say “bearing a cross”? I should take that back, because the “Hebrew Hammer” is Jewish. Apparently this is a very big deal throughout the series of tubes.
RJB was not drafted out of High School. Despite receiving scholarship offers from schools close to his home in California (Stanford and Cal), he chose to go to the University of Miami.
Good choice. He was Baseball America‘s National Freshman of the Year in 2003. That year he hit a measly .364 with 74 RBIs and 17 home runs. He improved yearly, learning to play multiple infield positions. Despite what some wag put on his Wikipedia page, Braun never played all nine defensive positions at the same time in his college career. The ‘Canes probably wished he could, though.
As a junior, Braun batted .396 with 18 home runs, a .726 slugging percentage, 76 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases. That earned him the Golden Spikes award and a little bird told Ryan it might be time to go pro.
Braun was the 5th overall player chosen in the 2005 MLB amateur draft, and he promptly began tearing up the Brewers’ minor-league system with his five-tool arsenal. He settled in at third base and made an appearance at last year’s All-Star Futures Game.
2007 saw Braun take 113 at-bats with the Nashville Sounds before the big club finally got tired of watching Graffanino and Counsell wave at the ball as it went by. He has clearly gone on a rampage since then. Look at all the bones!!!
The stats I compare these rookies to are the full season stats for Albert Pujols from his ROY 2001 season. Points are naturally lost because nobody has yet played as many games, so they lack a full season’s cumulative results. Braun makes up ground by having seven more stolen bases than our gold standard, half as many strikeouts (again a factor of his playing a short season so far), 18 more points of average, and a whopping 78 points of slugging.
Congratulations, kid. It may not last, but for today, you Smell Like Pujols.