In 1996 Branyan led Single-A Columbus with 40 homers and 106 RBI and in 1999 he crushed 30 home runs in 395 at-bats with Triple-A Buffalo. Numbers like that made Indians management smile, with images of Al Rosen dancing in their heads. But like the thin layer of snow covering a cold Cleveland puddle, those home runs masked a murky reality. On his way to the majors Branyan whiffed once every two-and-a-half at-bats. When the Indians called him up, hoping he could bring some pop to their offense, media and fans alike were shocked at his capacity to fan. Worse than that, Branyan had hands of stone, committing 14 errors in just 90 games.