The Milwaukee Brewers have a decision to make on their Opening Day starter at second base. The best option at second base is still Jonathan Villar.
What happened to Villar in 2017?
Jonathan Villar had a rough year in 2017 after a tremendous 2016. In 2017, he saw significant decreases in every one of his offensive stats when compared to 2016. Because of Villar’s struggles, Eric Sogard got called up and ended up playing in 94 games. Sogard started out extremely hot and then cooled off somewhat as the season progressed. He finished the season with a .276 batting average along with a very impressive .393 on-base percentage. He also played well defensively.
Digging deeper into Villar’s struggles, he admitted that he came out of the World Baseball Classic with an injured shoulder. He also admitted that because of this, he wasn’t fully healthy to start the season, struggled and then started to press.
Why choose Villar?
The main reason for Villar as the Opening Day starter is because 2016 did happen, and it happened not too long ago. His offensive stats were incredible that year. He had a .285 batting average with a. 369 on-base percentage. He stole 62 bases, scored 92 runs, and blasted 19 homers at the age of 25. If Villar can create a stat line that is three-quarters of what he did in 2016, he deserves to start. The end of his 2017 was also encouraging because he began to show a few flashes of the 2016 version of himself.
Villar is also a switch hitter. That can be valuable when it comes to addressing pitching match ups. He participated in the winter league in the Dominican Republic this off season and had a successful season. He struck out as many times as he walked. This is significant because he is a guy who has a reputation as a free swinger. Maybe those Joey Votto videos he’s been watching on how to shorten his swing after two strikes are working.
With Villar, the possible reward appears worth the risk. If he is playing well, he can become a nightmare for opposing teams, and an asset for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Sogard is a nice player, and he had the best season of his career at the age of 31 last year. However, even if he replicates those stats, he’ll never come close to matching the potential that Villar possess.
If Villar fails to start the year strong, the Milwaukee Brewers can always look to Sogard and Hernan Perez to pick up the slack. For now, lets give Villar a chance to try to reclaim some of that 2016 glory.