Ryan Braun - Major Leagues (2007–present) - 2009: All Star, Silver Slugger, and Team USA

2009: All Star, Silver Slugger, and Team USA

In 2009, Braun was named to Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest current players in baseball, ranking No. 32. A panel of 100 baseball people, many of them members of the Hall of Fame and winners of major baseball awards, were polled to arrive at the list.

World Baseball Classic

Braun was invited to play for Team USA in 2009 in the second World Baseball Classic. "I'm really excited to get to represent my country", he said. "It's an honor just to get invited for the event." He batted .381 as the team's starting left fielder, helping it reach the semi-finals.

Regular season

"One thing is for certain: You've got to tie Braun up from time to time. If you don't, he's going to feast on you."

– Chicago Cubs manager Lou Pinella, defending Ryan Dempster for hitting Braun

Braun was named NL Player of the Week for May 4–10, after leading the NL with 12 RBIs for the week while hitting .458/.567/.958 with 3 home runs. He hit the second grand slam of his career and recorded a career-high six RBIs on May 6, and on May 9 he reached base in all five of his plate appearances.

Braun led all NL outfielders in fan voting for the All Star Game for the second year in a row, with 4.1 million votes, ahead of Raúl Ibáñez and Carlos Beltrán. He was third among all NL vote-getters, trailing Pujols and Chase Utley. He was the first Brewer to be voted in as a starter in consecutive years since Robin Yount (in 1982 and 1983), and the third Brewer position player voted to start twice, along with Yount and Paul Molitor (1980 and 1988). Braun started in right field, the first time he had ever played the position, and batted cleanup, going 0–2.

Braun was second all-time, with 79 home runs over his first two calendar years in the major leagues, to Phillies Hall of Famer Chuck Klein (83); ahead of third-place Joe DiMaggio and Mark McGwire (77). If Braun continues to hit home runs at the rate he had hit them through July 1, 2009, he will reach 600 home runs in his 15th major league season. In September, Braun became the second-fastest active player to hit 100 home runs (behind only Ryan Howard), as he hit his 100th homer in his 400th major league game. Later in the month, he became the second player in major league history (joining Pujols) to hit 30 or more home runs in each of his first three seasons. Braun's 103 home runs in his first three Major League seasons are sixth-most in baseball history, behind Pujols (114), Mark Teixeira (107), and three Hall of Famers—Kiner (114), Matthews (112), and Joe DiMaggio (107).

As in 2007, in 2009 Braun had even greater success against left-handed pitchers. Against them he had the second-best OBP (.475), slugging percentage (.723), and OPS (1.198), and third-best batting average (.395), of all NL hitters with at least 125 plate appearances.

He finished the season with an NL-leading 203 hits, becoming the first Brewer to lead his league in hits since Molitor topped the AL in 1991. Braun became the fourth Brewer in team history to collect 200 or more hits in a season, and the first in 18 years. He joined Cecil Cooper, Molitor, and Yount. His .320 batting average at the end of the season was the highest by a Brewer since Jeff Cirillo hit .326 in 1999.

In 2009, in addition to leading the NL in hits, Braun was 2nd in runs (113), 4th in RBIs (114), total bases (350), extra base hits (77), and hit by pitch (13), 7th in batting average (.320) and power-speed number (24.6), 8th in OPS (.937), 9th in slugging percentage (.551) and doubles (39), tied for 10th in triples (6), and tied for 11th in home runs (32). He was also 4th in the league in infield hits (25).

He became only the second Brewer ever to hit 30 home runs and steal 20 bases in the same season. Braun also became the eighth player in major league history with at least 100 runs, 100 RBIs, 200 hits, 30 homers, 20 stolen bases, and a .300 average in the same season.

Season awards Braun was voted to the NL Sporting News All Star Team in 2009, making it for the second year in a row. He received votes from all 14 voting NL team executives (as did Pujols and Utley; Mauer was named on all AL ballots). Braun was awarded the 2009 NL Outfielder Silver Slugger Award, winning it for the second year in a row. He became the first Brewer since Molitor, more than two decades prior, to win a Silver Slugger Award in consecutive years. Cecil Cooper is the only other Brewer to have done it.

Read more about this topic:  Ryan Braun, Major Leagues (2007–present)

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