Russell Branyan
Russell Branyan
43-Year-Old First Baseman1B
 Free Agent  AAA
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Russell Branyan in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a minor league deal with the Indians in August of 2014.
Russell Branyan: Signs Minor League Deal With Indians
1BFree Agent  AAA
August 29, 2014
Branyan has signed a minor league deal with the Indians.
Presumably, he'll get a look from the Indians at some point in September when rosters expand. Branyan hasn't been in the big leagues since 2011, but he spent 65 games in the Mexican League with Tijuana this summer, hitting .296/.423/.620 with 19 homers in 272 plate appearances.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Branyan finished 2011 with the Angels after being released by the Diamondbacks in June. He appeared in 68 games and posted just a .665 OPS, so his days of being a regular player are likely over. Still, given Branyan’s 194 career major league home runs, he could wind up on a team looking for some left-handed pop off the bench.
Desperate for any sort of power, the Mariners traded for Branyan in June after failing to re-sign him last offseason. Despite playing in only 57 games with Seattle, Branyan led the club in homers with 15 and finished the season as the only Mariner with an OPS north of .800. A gimpy back continued to be a problem, though, and Branyan's year ended in mid-September. His history of back troubles makes him a risky free-agent acquisition, but as Branyan showed last season with 25 homers in 109 games between Cleveland and Seattle, when he's healthy, he can still bomb them.
After a career of mostly platooning, Branyan proved his worth as an everyday starter last season, providing a nice value for both the Mariners and fantasy owners. He missed the last month of the season with a back injury but still finished fifth among AL first basemen in home runs with a career-high 31. Branyan kept his batting average over .300 through the first three months thanks to a near .400 BABIP well into summer. Predictably, his average dropped as his luck turned, but settled at an acceptable .251. Strikeouts will always be an issue, but if Branyan gets everyday at-bats again, his power should pay off for fantasy teams.
Branyan helped save the Brewers' season after he was called up in late May to platoon with a struggling Bill Hall at third base. He had a tremendous June before tailing off in July and eventually missing the rest of the season with a rib injury. He's useful in a platoon situation, but he's also prone to long cold streaks. Nobody can question his power, as Branyan has gone deep once in every 15 at-bats over his career, but that is offset by a strikeout in every 2.5 at-bats. He signed a one-year deal with Seattle in December, where he should be in the mix for playing time, likely as part of a platoon at first base in 2009.
In 89 games with Philadelphia, San Diego and St. Louis last season, Branyan hit .196 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI. He's good for the occasional home run, but he struck out a staggering 69 times in just 163 at-bats. He'll try to catch on somewhere as a backup corner infielder.
Branyan split his 2006 season between the Devil Rays and Padres and lived up to his reputation as a boom or bust hitter (18 HR and 89 K in 241 AB). He's not a good defensive player, which cost him some playing time in 2006 and will likely do so again in 2007. Youngster Kevin Kouzmanoff is the leading contender to start at third base for the Padres in 2007, so Branyan is a veteran insurance policy.
When healthy in 2005, Branyan was adequate as the left side of a third-base platoon, hitting 12 HR with an .868 OPS. The Corey Koskie trade made him expendable; he'll try to catch on with the Devil Rays in the spring.
Branyan's all or nothing approach at the plate actually suits the power starved Brewers just fine. GM Doug Melvin has made it clear that he'd like to sign a top free agent to play third base but that doesn't look likely. Branyan will only need to hold off Wes Helms for the starting third base job this spring and could be a fantasy bargain if you are looking for power.
After seeing his season cut short by shoulder and ankle injuries, Branyan didn't even provide Rob Deer Fan Club members much satisfaction in 2003. The window on Branyan's career span may be running short, as he's reaching arbitration-eligible status and thus becoming too expensive for teams waiting for him to cash in on his eternal power potential.
Branyan remains a feast or famine hitter, having struck out in over a third of his career major league at bats. When you own Branyan, you know you're driving a bit of a Faustian bargain – you'll get some power, but you'll also get an awful batting average to go along with it. Branyan had surgery in early December to repair a torn labrum, so his power might not be there in 2003, at least during the first half of the season.
More Fantasy News
1BFree Agent  AAA
August 10, 2012
Branyan was released by the Yankees on Friday, the Scranton Times-Tribune reports.
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1BNew York Yankees  AAA
March 30, 2012
The Yankees released Branyan (back) from his minor league contract Friday, only to sign him to another one after,'s Bryan Hoch reports.
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1BNew York Yankees  AAA
March 9, 2012
Branyan (back) remains sidelined at Yankees camp, Bryan Hoch of reports.
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1BNew York Yankees  AAA
March 1, 2012
Branyan sat out Wednesday due to lower-back tightness and spasms, the Yankees' official site reports.
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1BNew York Yankees  AAA
February 8, 2012
Branyan signed a minor league deal with the Yankees Wednesday, Jon Heyman of CBS sports reports.
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