Eric Sogard is set to come off the DL soon. Should he continue to start and lead off, or should Jonathan Villar get his job back? While there’s a case to be made for Sogard, Villar deserves a chance to win back the everyday second base job for the Milwaukee Brewers.
What Do The Numbers Say?
Jonathan Villar’s batted ball profile is essentially the same as last year. He still puts the ball on the ground 2 1/2 times more often than he hits balls in the air. The problem lies with his batting average on balls in play. During his career year last season, he posted a .373 BABIP. This year? Over 40 points below his career average at .297. Villar has only finished a season with a sub-.300 BABIP once in his career. Given his speed and the amount of balls he puts on the ground, he’s likely to see a rise in his BABIP and with it a rise in his overall numbers.
His walk rate and strikeout rate are both within a standard deviation of his career average. A 30.0% K-rate looks ugly, but it’s not out of the norm for Villar. He’s likely to bounce back, and the Milwaukee Brewers will want him in the lineup when he does.
Eric Sogard has been a lot of fun to watch. Between the glasses, constantly getting on base, and key hits, Sogard solidified the top of the order. The concern is that he’s never done this before. He’s never finished a season with an OPS over .700, let alone .900. Sogard is as likely to regress as Villar is to improve at this point in the season.
A platoon situation doesn’t really work here, despite their handedness. The right-handed Jonathan Villar is equally capable against lefties and righties. The left-handed Eric Sogard really only does damage against righties. A platoon would leave Villar on the bench more often than not, and he needs at bats in order to produce. Sogard has made a career out of playing multiple positions and coming off the bench. Simply put, he’s better for the role he’s always played.
Jonathan Villar is capable of igniting an offense with a rare combination of power and speed. Villar is clearly the more talented player. He has earned a second chance after his 19-homer/62-steal season last year. He probably shouldn’t hit at the top of the order any more, but his speed and power necessitates a role in the lineup for the stretch run.