Russell Branyan destroys AAA pitchers

The Yankees signed Russell Branyan to a minor league contract this offseason which gave him a chance to fight his way onto the Yankees roster as the DH. Unfortuntely for him a bad back ruined his spring training and kept him on the shelf for almost three full months.

Like a true veteran looking to hang-on though, he stuck around, rehabbed his back, and now he’s healthy and playing everyday down in the minors. He’s absolutely crushing the ball down there too. In 13 games so far he is hitting .318/.483/.795 with six homers and three doubles.

It’s gotten to the point where if the Yankees don’t call him up soon, he will likely ask for his release and hook on with another team soon.

But where could they use him? Branyan has never been an amazing player, especially not in recent years, but one thing he can do is beat up on right handed pitching. In his career he has a .239/.338/.495 line against righties which is immensely better than his .206/.287/.441 line against lefties.

What the Yankees should do with him is to call him up and begin using him against righties. If Branyan is the DH, they could use Raul Ibanez in left field against right handed pitching while Gardner is out and they would actually have a dangerous lineup again. He wouldn’t be much use against lefties though, but he could be a solid weapon off the bench.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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7 Responses to Russell Branyan destroys AAA pitchers

  1. uyf1950 says:

    Rob, sounds reasonable but who would the Yankees remove from the 25 man roster to make room for him, D Wise?

    • That's the hard part. The obvious candidates are Jayson Nix and Dewayne Wise. I think it might be better to have Wise around to backup Ibanez and Jones late in games, but Jeter also needs a backup at short. I think if they actually made a move it would probably be to demote Wise.

  2. John says:

    Yah Wise sorry buddy got to go and good luck

  3. Mike Sommer says:

    The biggest problem with Branyan is the defense, and the fact that he has played only two games at 3B since 2008. If he could only play 3B adequately, but he can't. He can probably get by at 1B/DH. LF/3B are different (Splits: 331 3B, 242 1B, 151 LF, 71 RF). If he were adequate at 3B, then Chavez might be in danger. After all, Chavez is just .261-3-7 this year so far, and 1 for 19 with RISP. The Yanks would have to play A-Rod more at 3B if they went with Branyan. Not switch off Chavez/A-Rod like they have been doing. Could Branyan take over the Chavez 1b/3b/Dh role? Yes, and a bit of LF/RF as well. But the Yanks would have to decide… Chavez would give better D. He is better suited to spell A-Rod at 3B. Branyan would give more power, but less D, more strikeouts, and . It's a tradeoff. But as stated, Branyan apparently can't play 3b anymore. If he could, then you might consider swapping him for Chavez. I agree with Rob about the Wise demotion, but that OF D then, between who the Yanks would have out there, worries me big time.

  4. Tanned Tom says:

    The central problem here that the team does not have a reserve OF who can hit, field and stay healthy. One would think that to be the key requirement for a 4th OF, yet we're saddled with Jones (bum knees), Wise (no bat) and Ibanez (too old, no range). This situation cries out for replacing some of these older, single use players. Instead of Chavez, who can field but who's OBP stinks, why not try Mustelier? Younger, less fragile, he's played 3B and is swinging a hot bat in AAA. Instead of Jones, who cannot play everyday and who seems to be losing the ability to hit lefties, why not try Jack Cust and Dickerson? (and demote Wise).
    I like Branyan's power but am leery of putting him in LF. Any change should include improving OF defense, as having Ibanez out there is ridiculous.

    • A reserve outfielder who can hit, field and stay healthy isn't a reserve outfielder, he's a starting outfielder.

      • Tanned Tom says:

        Touche'. Although I was thinking of a player like Schierholtz with the Giants, or Cabrera when he was with the Yanks – not really good enough to start but decent enough.

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