Injuries have taken their toll on Ryan Braun the last few seasons, and as a result of them in 2017, he played just 104 games. They also surely contributed to him finishing the season with an .823 OPS -- above average for most players, but the lowest mark of Braun's career. That is still good enough for him to hold down the Brewers' starting left field job, but at age 34, chances of him bouncing back to his previous level of production are not good. He will still hold value as the No. 3 hitter in a quality lineup and his ability to steal bases -- he reached double figures again in that category for the 10th time in 11 seasons -- but with him seeing more rest days than most and not providing the pop he used to, he should be looked at more as a complementary piece for fantasy teams rather than the early-round cornerstone he used to be.
Braun is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. With the Brewers being eliminated from postseason contention Saturday, manager Craig Counsell will give a handful of his regulars the day off for the final game of the season. Eric Thames will take over in left field and bat third in place of Braun.
Braun went 2-for-3 with a home run and a stolen base in Monday's victory over the Pirates. Braun's OPS sat at .820 on Sept. 2, but he raised that mark to .858 in just over two weeks by going 15-for-48 (.313) with four home runs and eight RBI over his last 13 games. The 12 runs and four stolen bases he accumulated over that span were a boon for fantasy owners as well. As he has regularly when healthy, Braun will man left field and hit third for the Brewers the rest of the way.
Braun is out of the lineup against the Pirates on Wednesday. Braun receives a standard day off following nine straight starts, going 8-for-32 (.250 average) with two home runs and five RBI during that span. In his place, Hernan Perez draws the assignment in left for the series finale.
Braun is out of Saturday's lineup against the Nationals. None of the Brewers' primary outfielders are starting against righty Max Scherzer, with Hernan Perez starting in left field, Jonathan Villar staring in center and Brett Phillips getting the nod in right. The Brewers may continue to give Braun a day or two off each week over the final month in an effort to keep him healthy and keep their bench players fresh.
Braun is out of the lineup Sunday against the Dodgers. Braun is one of the many Brewers hitters stuck in a rut at a plate lately, as the outfielder has mustered just three hits in 30 at-bats over the last eight games. Manager Craig Counsell is hopeful that a day of rest will be enough for Braun to find a rhythm at the plate. Hernan Perez will take Braun's spot in left field in the series finale.