Ramon Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis have struggled at the plate this season and the Milwaukee Brewers’ center field position has left a lot to be desired.
Flores, in particular, appears to be overmatched at the plate. Nieuwenhuis, while a nice story and good defensive presence, simply doesn’t fit long term in the Brewers’ plans. This is why the Milwaukee Brewers should call up Michael Reed and either send Ramon Flores down to AAA or DFA Nieuwenhuis.
When I first wrote about Michael Reed, he was lighting the world on fire in AAA (small sample size alert). Reed didn’t earn one of the last spots on the major league club (that went to Keon Broxton and Ramon Flores), and he was expected to be one of the premier pieces on the Colorado Sky Sox team. But he’s struggled for most of the season, an odd occurrence in the rare air of Colorado.
So far this year, he’s slashed .241/.364/.327, adding 3 HR’s, and 16 SB’s. The encouraging aspect of Reed’s season so far is that he’s still seeing the ball well and walking at a rate similar to his career minor league numbers (15.2% this season, FanGraphs). His BABIP is also above normal at .332.
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The Milwaukee Brewers were able to trade away Aaron Hill for two prospects after he put up a .780 OPS, something I didn’t think was likely before the season. The Brewers have given Nieuwenhuis that same chance–to play nearly every day–but he simply hasn’t put up the numbers needed to bring a quality prospect back.
Ramon Flores has struggled all year, and he owns a slash line of .222/.304/.275. Sending him back to AAA, especially in Colorado, may spark up some much needed confidence at the plate.
Michael Reed is most likely never going to hit more than 10-15 HR’s in a full season and his batting average may never look sexy, but it’s his above average OB% that makes him a desirable platoon/4th outfielder/potential leadoff hitter in the major leagues.
And for a team like the Milwaukee Brewers, that’s seemingly placed a higher importance on OB%, it makes a player like Michael Reed even more valuable. I know I’d rather watch him everyday than the Brewers’ current center fielders.