When Jack Zduriencik signed the veteran Russell Branyan this off season, he and the rest of the organization were probably expecting a solid defensive first baseman who could put up some decent power numbers in the middle of the order. It appears that what they got was a lot more.
Everyone already knew that Branyan had a great power upside, but he has performed well above expectations over the first two months of the season.
Not only is he doing a bang-up job at first base, but he’s near the top of the league in homers with a batting average above .300.
Branyan has proven to be one of the lone bright spots this season in a lackluster offense, and it’s becoming clear that he’s worth every penny of the $1.4 million that the M’s paid for him.
He’s already racked up 11 home runs, 23 RBI, and is currently sitting at a .311 batting average. Not to mention his on base percentage near .400 and his impressive .608 slugging percentage.
1.4 million? That’s pretty cheap for a guy who has a legitimate chance to hit 30+ homers and drive in close to 100 runs.
I don’t think his average is going to stay above .300, but pitchers are wary of him and his on base percentage will stay high.
Russell has never really gotten the opportunity to be a starting player at the Major League level, but he’s going out there every day and proving that he’s more than up to the task.