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Milwaukee Brewers: How to find a lead off hitter

Matthew Dewoskin
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 09: Jonathan Villar
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 09: Jonathan Villar /
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Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee Brewers /

Eric Sogard? In a massive slump. Jonathan Villar? In a season long slump. Domingo Santana? Not a lead off hitter. The Milwaukee Brewers’ offense is searching for answers at the top of the order. Are there other name they should be considering?

Jonathan Villar appeared to be the answer heading into the season, but he’s regressed this year. Eric Sogard came out of Colorado Springs to give the Brewers a boost, but he hasn’t been the same since his injury. Domingo Santana should be starting every day, but he needs to be in the middle of the order. The acquisition of Neil Walker may solidify the infield, but he’s not a lead off hitter.

Where else can the Milwaukee Brewers look a table setter?

Who’s at Triple-A?

While most contending teams don’t look to the Minor Leagues to find players to hit at the top of the order, the Brewers have already done it once. Mauricio Dubon is an option, but there are a few red flags that will keep him from getting the call.

First, the Milwaukee Brewers just traded for Neil Walker and have four other players capable of playing middle infield. Unless Eric Sogard gets DFA’ed, Dubon isn’t getting the call. Dubon also lacks the on-base skills that teams look for in a lead off man. He owns a .318 OBP with a 3.8% walk rate in Colorado at Triple-A.

While Dubon looks like the second baseman of the future for the Milwaukee Brewers, the future isn’t August in 2017.

Is Anyone Else at Triple-A?

Yes. The Brewers have several young outfielders who may fit the lead off profile much better. Brett Phillips owns a .386 OBP with a 10.0% walk rate. He’s capable of playing all three outfield spots, has already seen Major League pitching, and has enough speed to get by. What’s holding Phillips back? Well, he also has a 28.6% strikeout rate at Triple-A and had a 41.0% strikeout rate during his cup of coffee. He is going to strike out. A lot. That’s not ideal for a team in the middle of a pennant race.

There Has To Be Someone Else, Right?

Lewis Brinson is still at Triple-A. So is Kyle Wren. While Brinson has the top prospect pedigree and a .402 OBP, Kyle Wren is the better option for the lead off role. Wren gets on-base, he doesn’t strike out often, and he has enough speed to get by. He owns a .373 OBP with a 10.4% walk rate and a 13.9% strikeout rate. If you have to look to the Minors for a table setter, Kyle Wren is the best option available right now.

Next: What Does Stephen Vogt's Return Mean To The Brewers?

The current plan is to play match ups and piece together a lineup with the three-headed Sogard-Villar-Santana monster until rosters expand. The Milwaukee Brewers may sneak by without a true table setter. They could even win the division without a lead off hitter, but the answer they’re searching for may be as close as Colorado Springs.

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