Eric Sogard did not make the Milwaukee Brewers coming out of Spring Training last year. He wasn’t with the team in April when Eric Thames went off. Sogard did end the year with a 1.1 WAR, and he’ll return in 2018. But how did he get there?
What went right for Sogard in 2017?
Almost everything. Eric Sogard‘s 2017 season started in Colorado Springs. In 24 games with the Milwaukee Brewers Triple-A affiliate, Sogard posted a .330/.421/.516 slash line and earned a promotion to Milwaukee. While most expected Sogard to struggle at the plate, he continued to show patience and pop.
Sogard slashed his way to a .273/.393/.378 slash line with three homers, three steals, and 37 runs scored in 94 games played. He played almost everywhere in the infield, and was one of the better options the Milwaukee Brewers had at the top of the lineup.
What went wrong in 2017?
Not much, really. Sogard missed time in July with a left ankle strain in July. Other than that, the season couldn’t have gone much better for a journeyman like Sogard.
What’s his role for 2018?
It’s really too early to tell what Sogard’s role is. He signed a one-year deal worth $2.4 million that virtually guarantees he’ll make the team. The Milwaukee Brewers wouldn’t have offered a him a contract if he was going back to Colorado Springs.
Sogard is also in the mix for a starting role at second base. It’s unclear if Sogard or Jonathan Villar has the inside track on the starting job. However, if he enters the season as the starting second baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers, the off season will have been a disappointment.
The Brewers are looking to upgrade their second base situation. Whether they deal for a veteran like Ian Kinsler, or re-sign Neil Walker, a move will happen. When a second baseman is added to the roster, Sogard will head to the bench.
A bench role is really where Eric Sogard is better off. Filling in as a defensive replacement, or working a walk in the late innings is a better role for Sogard than starting every day. Allowing manager Craig Counsell to put Sogard in the best position to take advantage of his skills, is best for the player and the team. That will only happen with Sogard starting the season on the bench.