Spring Training starts in only a few weeks and the excitement is growing in the Cream City. The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t done much to add to the team this off season. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not ready for a playoff push.
Hernán Peréz emerged as one of the most important, and versatile, players for the Milwaukee Brewers last season. He figures to be heavily relied upon once again this season. His versatility will be vital for the Brewers to continue their ascent in the National League Central.
His numbers definitely don’t jump off the page at you. However, the fact that he played every position except catcher does. Peréz’s ability to play multiple positions competently allows the Brewers to fill out the bench with anybody they want.
Peréz played in a career high 133 games in 2017 for Milwaukee Brewers. He slashed only .259/.289/.414, as opposed to .272/.302/.428 in 2016, but set a career high with 15 home runs and 20 walks. His 5.39:1 career K/BB ratio is uninspiring, but he has shown improvement over the last two seasons.
The Brewers were less aggressive stealing bases last season as a team. Peréz’s stolen bases plummeted from 34 in 41 attempts in 2016 to only 13 in 17 attempts in 2017. However, offense is really just the cherry on top when it comes to Peréz.
Why Peréz is important for Milwaukee’s success
With his ability to play anywhere on the field, the Brewers can carry five outfielders this season if they see fit. Fans want to see Lewis Brinson in with the big club soon, and Peréz can help cover any holes created by doing that.
Although he isn’t an All-Star at any one position, Peréz provides a steady glove everywhere in the field. However, limiting his appearances to the infield will help both he and the team. He actually came up as a shortstop originally.
We’ve seen several examples of players hampered offensively by playing different positions. Call it ‘Bill Hall syndrome’ for the former Brewer who could never put it together in the Majors while playing a multitude of positions. When you start moving players around, especially into unfamiliar positions, they have no choice but to focus more on defense.
That’s not necessarily what happened to Peréz. He looked comfortable in the field wherever he was. However, he hadn’t had a lot of experience in the outfield and that can make his job harder at the plate.
Jonathan Villar was less than inspiring at second base last season. Eric Sogard is what he is at this point. The Brewers have some talented middle infielders coming through the system, but Peréz could bridge the gap until they’re ready.
At some point this season, Peréz will inevitably be needed to fill in at second. If Villar struggles again early, he may not even make it through this season with Milwaukee. Sogard is a complimentary player at best, and isn’t the future for The Crew. Peréz will get the job done wherever he plays, and that helps the Brewers more than anything.