Milwaukee Brewers series positional preview – NL best record at stake

To the surprise of many, the Brewers have the second best record in the NL with 63 wins, compared to the Dodgers leading 66 wins.  The Brewers came out of the gates fast, but have cooled off considerably since June,  posting a 12 – 19 record since the end of June.

It is not surprising that the team can score runs, any team with Braun / Gomez / A Ramirez should be able to score some runs. What is surprising is that the bona-fide MVP candidate is none of those three but catcher Jonathan Lucroy.  The offense is loaded with six different position players posting an OPS+ north of 110 with LuCroy leading the way at 140.

1st Base – Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay are an interesting platoon. Reynolds is doing exactly what he’s always done, hit home runs and nothing else. Overbay on the other hand is an offensive drag every time he’s in the lineup with a .330 slug% from a 1st baseman. It did not have to be like this. The Brewers had Juan Francisco to do the Overbay part but inexplicably released him where he was grabbed by the BlueJays to be their left-handed platoon guy. Mark Reynolds has hit 19 home runs. Francisco for the Blue Jays has hit 16 home runs. Between that could have been 30 bombs from the first base slot, but instead the Brewers went with old and bad.

2nd Base – Scooter Gennett is named appropriately for his gig as the starting second baseman for the Brewers. He took over the job last year when Richie Weeks went into one of his patented prolonged slumps but never came out of.  Scooter did solid work last year, but has stepped it up another gear this year with an OPS+ of 127 which puts him on the top of the OPS+ leader-board for NL second baseman.  Weeks gets plenty of at bats against LHP and has done decent work this year after his horrible 2013.

SS – Jean Segura is having a tough sophomore season after a scintillating two months in 2013. His power is gone, his average is gone, and worst of all, he lost a child during the season.  I was not sold on Segura last year, I felt he had probably the best two months he will have in his career, for him it just happened at the start of his career.  I had this comment about Jean Segura back in March. If any listened to me they should be thankful.

Buyer Beware

Player A ROY, age 24, 649 plate appearances , 29/6/1 = 36 xba, .290 / .352 / . 349 , OPS+ of 99, 54 stolen bases, Brewer SS
The spring of 1993, this player was the cats meow in fantasy drafts. Player A never saw 400 at bats again, and was out of baseball by age 29. Leg injuries killed his career.

Player B First Full Season age 23, 623 at bats, 20 /10 / 12 = 42 xba, 294 /.329 / .423, OPS+ of 103, 44 stolen bases, Brewer SS

Player B is going in the fourth round of NFBC drafts. Every projection has him as a top 10 SS, some top 5.

Don’t draft Jean Segura, spend the extra money on Ian Desmond

Jean Segura has been the worst offensive SS in the NL. Granted Ian Desmond has not been blockbusters but at least he has not been an anchor on the roto team.

3rd Base – Aramis Ramirez is old but still a potent offensive force. Hard to quantify without doing lots of work, but ex teammate after ex teammate talk about how Aramis hits the good pitchers. We shall see how he handles Grienke and Kershaw:) Aramis has the most hits by a 3rd baseman in the 21st century with 2007. For context only nine 3rd baseman in history have had at least 2000 hits.

C – Jonathan LuCroy – a real contender for the MVP award. He has been the Brewers best hitter, he is the best hitting catcher in the NL with over 100 games played, and he’s will probably set a double mark that has stood the test of time. With 38 doubles he could become the first catcher to ever lead the league in doubles. Goldy has 39, but is lost for the year so here is his competition:

Player             2B   G  OPS
Paul Goldschmidt   39 109 .938
Jonathan Lucroy    38 107 .867
Andrew McCutchen   32 109 .947
Daniel Murphy      32 111 .789
Yasiel Puig        31 106 .940
Anthony Rendon     31 109 .797
Starlin Castro     30 113 .757
Freddie Freeman    30 114 .842
Denard Span        30 104 .755

Provided by <a href=”http://www.sports-reference.com/sharing.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=Share&utm_campaign=ShareTool”>Baseball-Reference.com</a&gt;: <a href=”http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/season_finder.cgi?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=Share&utm_campaign=ShareTool”>View Play Index Tool Used</a><br>Generated 8/8/2014.

RF – Ryan Braun moved from LF to RF this year without a hitch. A non PED Braun is still a potent offensive force but no longer even the best player on his team

CF – Carlos Gomez – the brilliant CF has really come into his own the past few years. After the Twins traded him to the Brewers for JJ Hardy, Carlos has increased his OPS+ every single year while performing gold glove caliber work in CF. His OPS+ trend – 76, 82, 101, 129, 134

RF – Khris Davis with a K is having a better season the Chris Davis with a C. Still relatively unknown to casual fans, Davis has 18 bombs, and a solid 115 OPS+ for his first full time season.

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