Many years ago at Milwaukee County Stadium a talented duo roamed the dirt around second base. Robin Yount and Jim Gantner teamed up at shortstop and second base, respectively, for the first half of the 1980s.
Yount played at short from 1974-1984, but had to move out to ‘the corn’ in 1985 due to a right shoulder problem. He played nearly 1,500 games at short, winning a Gold Glove in 1982 and leading the league in range factor twice and fielding percentage once.
Gantner began as a Brewer in 1976 at the hot corner, moved to second in 1978 and established himself there until his retirement after the 1992 campaign. ‘Gumby’ appeared in 1,449 games at second and although he did not win a Gold Glove, was fearless around the bag with enemy runners bearing down on him.
For five years the Brewers were set up the middle, but have lacked that stability for most of the thirty years since then.
But in Milwaukee, the future is bright.
At the major league level, 25-year-old Jean Segura is a fixture at short, off to a solid start after a dismal 2014 season. He is currently on the 15-day disabled list, which is allowing another phenom an opportunity to show his wares at the ‘six’ position.
Luis Sardinas recently turned 22 and was called up from AAA Colorado Springs to replace Segura. In four games he has impressed, as he is hitting .429/.429/.571 in 14 plate appearances, including a triple. In the field, he has handled 21 chances flawlessly.
If that’s not enough, Hector Gomez has played some at the middle infield spots and is turning heads with his play. A shortstop by trade (in the minors), the 27-y-o Gomez has played 18 games at second and five each at third and short. Although those numbers lead one to believe he could be a super sub, Gomez has played well at all three spots, showing above-average range that might lead him to an everyday job at one position.
And don’t forget Elian Herrera, who played some at short last year but has seen time at second, third, and each of the corner outfield spots this season.
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The odd man out appears to be Scooter Gennett–last year’s starter–as he was sent down to Colorado Springs earlier this week. Unless Scooter can regain the form he displayed his first two years in the bigs, he might be out of a job in Milwaukee.
You want more? Yadiel Rivera was called up to AAA from AA Biloxi, earning the promotion due to his performance as much as anything, hitting .322/.366/.452 with eight steals. He played mostly second base at Biloxi, but takes over at short at Colorado Springs for Sardinas.
And then you have the centerpiece of the middle of the diamond for the Brewers, shortstop Orlando Arcia, who is killing it at Biloxi, slashing .354/.406/.493 during the first quarter of the season. Don’t forget second baseman Christopher McFarland, who has been tearing it up at Advanced A Brevard County, hitting .433 in his last 15 games.
The good news is that the future looks bright. The bad news? There’s not enough room for everybody.
Time will tell, but a pair of these talented players could call up memories of Yount and Gantner, and how special would that be?