Milwaukee Brewers: Who Deserves Second Base?

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MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 11: Hernan Perez
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 11: Hernan Perez /
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One of the biggest question for the Milwaukee Brewers this spring is who will earn the majority of the playing time at second base. At this point there are three clear options, Jonathan Villar, Eric Sogard and Hernan Perez. Ryan Braun caused a stir when he mentioned playing second base, but manager Craig Counsell quickly ended any talk of that being a possibility.

Last season the job was mainly split up between Jonathan Villar and Eric Sogard. It was, for most of the year, a difficult position for the Milwaukee Brewers to fill. Villar was never able to get out of his struggles despite many repeated chances given to do so. Sogard had a very good stretch where he was an on-base machine, but he wasn’t the same after suffering an injury.

Hernan Perez didn’t get a ton of time at the position last season. He was more of a utility player who played a lot of different positions. However, this spring he has said that he’s looking to become the everyday second baseman. His play so far this spring has reflected that desire.

Spring Training results aren’t what is going to win the job. There will likely a mix of usage between the three players to start the season, but it isn’t going to switch every other day. Someone will get the majority of the playing time.

Who has the edge defensively?

In terms of defensive ability, Sogard is probably the best one of the bunch, but it isn’t a significant difference. Perez is also a good defensive option. He didn’t make any errors at second base in 116 innings, last year. Villar is more of a liability on the defensive end.

The Milwaukee Brewers have clearly put more of an emphasis on defense this off season with the additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. If they were continue that trend then Villar would not get many innings defensively. However, if Villar gets back to hitting well, the Brewers will put up with him defensively.

How about at the plate?

Comparing the three on the offensive end is a interesting because they all bring different things to the table. Sogard won’t hit for power, but will have a very high on-base percentage. He showed the capability to do that last season. The question is if he can continue to produce.

Perez is more of a well rounded hitter, but definitely has to improve if he wants to win the job. He is capable of hitting home runs and collecting hits, but he needs to improve his on-base percentage.

Villar is definitely the biggest question mark of the three. After his awesome year in 2016 when he had a very high OPS, and lead the NL in stolen bases, he fell off in 2017. He posted a dismal .665 OPS and struggling with strikeouts all year. If Villar finds a way to get on-base, even if he’s not hitting, he’s more valuable because of his ability on the basepaths.

With both Sogard and Villar, the argument can be made that when they were at their best their level of success was out of the norm. There is still hope for both to produce, but they’re not likely to produce career years again.

Could the Brewers look outside the organization?

Other than the competition between these three, one factor to watch is the possibility of adding free agent Neil Walker to the mix. There haven’t been many rumors between the two, but Walker was a great deadline add for the Milwaukee Brewers last season. It would make a lot of sense to bring him back with this team.

If Walker brought back, it would probably mean one of these three would be let go. Perez would be safe due to his ability to play almost any position. Either Sogard or Villar would most likely be out. This wouldn’t be easy for the Milwaukee Brewers to do. That may be why Walker hasn’t been returned yet. However, the opportunity to add a player that is better than any second basemen on the roster deserves consideration.

Next: What should the Brewers do about Jesus Aguilar?

The second base position is a question mark this spring for manager Craig Counsell. That will probably continue to be throughout the 2018 season. Counsell will have several tough decisions to make with this roster, but he has plenty of talent to work with. There are still a few weeks left in Spring Training, but one of the current trio has to claim the job and run with it. The longer it takes for that to happen, the harder the decision for Counsell will become.

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