Milwaukee Brewers: Assessing the Infield Situation
By Matt Yeazel
The Milwaukee Brewers have a problem in their infield. They have three very good players in Orlando Arcia, Eric Sogard, and Jonathan Villar, to occupy just two spots in the infield.
Some may consider this a good problem to have for the Milwaukee Brewers, but it means that one of these three, if not all three, are going to get less playing time than they normally would.
Out of these three, Orlando Arcia is playing the best baseball right now. Between May 18th and June 1st, Arcia owns the 2nd best batting average out of any hitter in the National League at .352. This hot stretch has boosted his overall season average to .295, all while hitting 8th in the lineup.
Arcia is also ultra valuable due to his defensive abilities, which most would say is the bigger upside than his up and coming bat. If Arcia continues the success he’s had on the defensive end, he could be a candidate for a Gold Glove award at the end of the season.
Many people forget that Arcia is still just 22 years old. Which is younger than a lot of the minor league prospects the Milwaukee Brewers have. There is a lot still to learn, and a lot of potential to grow in the Major Leagues. He should not be taken out of the lineup by any means at this point in time.
Arcia has earned the right to start every day at shortstop, and other than an occasional day of rest, it is his position to lose.
Eric Sogard has also been playing very well. It has been a pleasant surprise to this Milwaukee Brewers team. He is a second baseman by trade, but he can also play shortstop and third base, which he did for the resting Travis Shaw against the Marlins.
Since being recalled from Triple-A, Sogard has played in 42 games, collecting 44 hits, mainly out of the leadoff spot in the lineup, and posting a .326 batting average.
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The newest of the trio is simply playing too well not give him regular playing time, and the Brewers need him to continue to get on base in the leadoff spot to set up RBI opportunities for the sluggers behind him. Eric Thames, Ryan Braun, Shaw and others have greatly benefited from Sogard getting on base so often, and the leadoff hitter getting on base is a huge part of success for any team.
Finally there is Jonathan Villar. One of the Milwaukee Brewers best players in 2016 who has struggled with hitting and staying healthy in 2017. However, he has started to pick it up with the bat hitting two home runs in the final game of the series in Cincinnati. He added a base hit, an RBI, and two walks in two games against Miami.
The Brewers are a much better team when Villar is hitting like he did in 2016 to get on base and steal bases, which is his specialty. However, this is a new year and you have to earn the spot you play in. So far he has not done that. Sogard has outplayed Villar, and until he steps up and plays like he can, the starting second base position belongs to Sogard.
These three infielders are all very talented, and all three will contribute to this team in many ways. For Villar he will have to make the most out of any and every opportunity he gets. In order for a player to work out of problems, he need to be given chances. He has been given those chances many times.
He needs to start really making a difference in this Brewers lineup to have a shot to overtake Sogard.
Next: Why Orlando Arcia is MLB’s Next Superstar
Ideally, all three infielders could share time and mix around at positions to all contribute, but at this point, Arcia and Sogard have earned their spots and they deserve to keep them for the majority of the time, but look for Villar to get his opportunities to right the ship on his poor first half of the 2017 season.