Ryan Braun and the 30/30 Club

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Ryan Braun stole his 13th base of the season in Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Through 53 games, Braun has 12 home runs to go with those 13 steals. At this point, can we start getting excited about a potential 30/30 season for Braun?

If you’ve been reading for very long, you can probably tell I’m not big into counting stats, but a 30/30 year would be exciting just because it’s been so rare lately — the last player to do it was Ian Kinsler in 2009, and he was the only player to do it that year. For Milwaukee, it’s even more rare. Only two Milwaukee players have ever done it, and only one Milwaukee Brewer: Tommy Harper in 1970.

Think about that. The only Brewer to ever accomplish the feat did it in the team’s first year of existence, and it hasn’t happened since. Before Harper, Hank Aaron did it as a Milwaukee Brave in 1963, and he was only the third player to ever join the 30/30 club.

Of course, Braun still has a lot of work to do — he’s not even halfway to 30 in home runs or steals, and there’s about 2/3 of the season left to play. The ZiPS “Rest of Season” projections coming into Sunday had Braun finishing the year just short of the 30/30 mark, hitting 34 home runs and stealing 27 bases. Health is a factor, too, as Braun has already had to leave a couple games early due to shoulder and foot ailments.

The accomplishment doesn’t mean as much anymore after the 1990s and 2000s, but if Braun can avoid a DL stint, he’ll have a pretty good shot at being the first Brewer in over 40 years to have a 30/30 season. Can you imagine how popular he would be among Brewers fans if he manages to pull it off in the same year he made a commitment to being a “Brewer for Life?”

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