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Milwaukee Brewers: Examining the Performance of Jonathan Villar

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Villar Makes A Great Play At Shortstop For The Brewers In An April Game.Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Villar Makes A Great Play At Shortstop For The Brewers In An April Game.Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Just how well has Jonathan Villar fared playing at shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers?

When the  Milwaukee Brewers acquired Jonathan Villar in the 2015 offseason, I didn’t know who he was.

As a loyal Brewer fan, I was always behind Jean Segura. I felt like he had a rough go of it. After all, he was traded to the Crew at a young age. He also had to endure a position switch from 2B to SS, a death of a child and then was smacked on the head with a bat when Ryan Braun wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing.

If it were up to me, I would have given Segura one more full year in with the Milwaukee Brewers. Just to put everything behind him and maybe he could have had a chance to have a breakout year. Since he is only 26 years old to this day, I felt that it may be a bit early to “give up on him” or “trade him away” to another team.

Despite the fact that Segura may have done fine in with the Milwaukee Brewers for one more year, we cannot change what happened. The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Villar to be a replacement after Segura was traded away and as I said, I knew nothing about Jonathan when he was picked up.

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Villar has emerged as a shortstop that has made some great defensive plays. Check out this play he was involved in from a recent game!

In addition to making some nice plays on defense, the  Milwaukee Brewers can take pride in the fact the Villar is batting .284 with a .388 on-base percentage. He leads the National League in stolen bases with 13. At this point, Segura is hitting .335 for the Diamondbacks with a .361 on-base percentage and five steals.

Neither one of them is having a bad start to the year. The thing I wonder about with these two guys is the upside. Based on the trends I have seen, Segura is probably doing more than what I would have expected of him. Villar is doing more than what I would have expected of him too.

Villar Has Done A Nice Job With The Bat As Well! Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Villar Has Done A Nice Job With The Bat As Well! Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The big difference with Villar is that he seems to need some work on the bases. The Milwaukee Brewers have played some close and “down to the wire” games because of their offense not being able to drive in runs recently, yet Villar has made several CRUCIAL outs on the basepaths. I don’t recall Segura making those mistakes quite as often or in situations that were quite so critical. You can read about the baserunning problems of Villar.

As we analyze the current shortstop situation for the Milwaukee Brewers versus what “could have been,” I do have to say that it is good to see that Jean Segura has done well in his new environment.

Despite the fact that the Milwaukee Brewers may have traded away a considerable talent in Segura, I also am impressed with what Jonathan Villar has done so far. According to Baseball Reference.com, Villar has reached base in 37 of the 39 games he has played. When people made preseason predictions, how many had that type of outcome predicted for Villar?

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Villar has done well “filling in” at the shortstop position until stud prospect Orlando Arcia is ready to taste the majors. Another guy who could have played his way into the shortstop mix was Luis Sardinas, but he was also traded during the 2015 off-season. While Luis has the potential to be great in the majors, he has only batted .154 at the major league level this year.

Who would you have wanted? Would you have picked Villar or Segura to “hold the position down” until Arcia takes over? Make your choice. I do know that Villar could improve on his base-running, and I feel he will after what talking with the coaches about some of his recent transgressions.

I also do know that Villar could improve on his walk versus strikeout ratio, and I feel he will work with Darnell Coles as the hitting coach. The whole rest of this team has been more patient at the plate and had better at-bats by drawing more walks and taking more pitches.

It has to rub off on Villar! As much as I like Jean Segura and hope he does well, kudos to David Stearns for picking up former Astro Jonathan Villar!

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