Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Half Breakdown (Infielders)

Note: (.AVG/.OBP/.SLG/.OPS)

Jonathan Lucroy- B

0.4 WAR

.267/.300/.372/.672, 86 AB's, 2 HR's, 5 RBI

Lucroy has been a pleasant surprise for the Brewers. He struggled in AAA and was forced into action when Gregg Zaun went down with a season ending injury. Lucroy was thrust into becoming the main catcher and has played well. He has thrown out seven of 21 potential base stealers and has been alright with the bat. I'm really hoping his great plate discipline returns. After leading the majority of his minor league teams in walks, Lucroy has been issued a free pass just 4.4% of the time this season.

George Kottaras- B+

0.7 WAR

.207/.331/.444/.775, 135 AB's, 7 HR's, 28 RBI

So how does one bat just .207 and still post a .775 OPS? With power and patience. Of George's 28 first half hits, 17 have went for extra bases. He also ranks 6th on the team in walks, despite logging far fewer at bats than everyone else. For a reference, Kottaras has walked four more times (27) than Alcides Escobar (23) in 148 fewer at bats. Pretty good numbers for a backup catcher. The only thing holding him back is his inability to throw out baserunners (17%), although that has gotten better of late.

Prince Fielder- B-

2.6 WAR

.265/.401/.494/.895, 324 AB's, 20 HR's, 39 RBI

After a characteristically slow power start, Fielder has been driving the ball of late. He has 13 long balls in his last 137 at bats. Despite the slow start, Fielder never lost his patience at the plate. He has walked 15.4% of the time this year and posted an impressive .401 on base percentage, despite hitting .265. His .494 slugging percentage is still well below his career average, but that will rise by the end of the year. His defense has slipped (according to UZR), but Fielder still remains an elite first baseman. My guess is as good as yours, but I'm thinking Prince remains a Brewer until this offseason, although I'm not saying I agree with that. There is no way the Brewers can/should meet any of Fielder's contract requests.

Rickie Weeks- A

2.5 WAR

.269/.370/.449/.819, 361 AB's, 15 HR's, 53 RBI

Weeks has established himself as one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball this season. His ability to get on base and hit for power as a second baseman are a huge asset to the Brewers. A lot of people will tell you Weeks belongs in the two-hole, but I ask why? Sure he hits for power and strikeout a lot, but who on this team is a better option to bat first? As long as Rickie is reaching base 37% of the time, there's no place I would rather see him. The combination of Weeks, Hart, Braun and Fielder has to be one of the best top four in baseball right now. Look no further than that to find this club's offensive success.

Alcides Escobar- D-

0.3 WAR

.244/.301/.323/.624, 283 AB's, 2 HR's, 24 RBI

I've never been really high on Alcides. Throughout the minor leagues, his numbers never blew me away. He never really walked much and obviously lacked power, but he is young and cheap, so he does hold value. But 2010 has been just terrible for him. The struggles at the plate and in the field have been one of the main reasons this club has been mediocre. My frustration has only grown with Escobar while watching hit weak ground ball after weak ground ball. Part of the reason for Escobar's struggles are what he swings at. In 2010, Escobar has swung at 30.5% of pitches out of the strike zone. Making matters worse, he is connecting on 78.1% of those swings. Subsequently, Escobar continues to chase pitches, while failing to make solid contact, leading to outs. His defense has also been bad (-2.0 UZR/150). His 14 errors are tied for second most in the majors.

Casey McGehee- B-

1.3 WAR

.274/.342/.455/.797, 325 AB's, 13 HR's, 53 RBI

After a red hot start to the season, McGehee really fell off. He has just four home runs in his last 177 at bats, after hitting nine in his first 148. Even so, McGehee has been an alright hitter. I'm just worried his recent struggles at the plate could be McGehee regressing back to his pre-Brewer form. Couple that in with a -14.6 UZR/150 at 3rd base and red flags really start to rise. One nice thing to see from McGehee has been his patience. He is walking a career high 9.4% of the time this season.

Craig Counsell- D+

.238/.306/.308/.614, 130 AB's, 1 HR, 13 RBI

-0.1 WAR

April 29th, 2010. Craig Counsell doubled off Wade LeBlanc in a 9-0 Brewers loss. Why do I bring that up? Well, that was the last time Craig Counsell actually had an extra base hit. Could this finally be the end for Craig Counsell? He has really struggled at the plate this season, but what worries me more is his glove. One of Counsell's main attribute has always been his defense, but even that has fallen off. His UZR/150's by position are as follows: SS:-0.9, 2B: 7.4, 3B:-25.2. Granted his time at third has been limited and those aren't the worst numbers, but not what the Brewers need from Counsell. He was incredible last season and has been a useful player throughout his career, but the end seems near for Counsell.

Joe Inglett- A

1.0 WAR

.328/.416/.507/.923, 67 AB's, 0 HR, 2 RBI

So just how does a player tally a 1.0 WAR in just 67 at bats? Well it's pretty tough, but by player like Inglett has this season. Granted his .415 BABIP is sure to help, but Inglett has been a force off the Brewers bench. Nine of his 22 hits this season have gone for extra bases, including three pinch hit triples. He's always had pretty good plate discipline, but Inglett's eye has been incredible this season. He is swinging at just 18% of balls out of the strike zone (league average- 28.6%). That has lead to his 11.4% walk percentage. He last played SS in 2008 for the Blue Jays. It has me wondering if he might be able to give it a try again. What do the Brewers really have to lose there? Also, Inglett has accumulated just over two years of service time, meaning he should be a Brewer for the foreseeable future. Pretty good snag by Doug Melvin.

CHECK BACK SOON. I'm currently working on the outfielders wrapup and should have it posted with an hour or two.

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