With spring training in action, let’s take a look at where the 2018 Milwaukee Brewers stand. In this preview, I’ll evaluate the presumed starter and other options within and outside of the roster at each position. While there is still a month to change things, this will provide a good idea of what this squad has to work with this season.
By most accounts, Manny Pina has seemed to grab a slight hold of the starting catching position this upcoming year. However, multiple projections offer different forecasts as to the Brewer behind home plate come Opening Day. Thus, choosing the starter is equivalent to picking March Madness flawlessly. It is agreed that Milwaukee doesn’t have a clear-cut guy at the position.
While a 30-year-old veteran with 11 career home runs doesn’t turn any heads, Pina offers the most valuable quality. On a team stacked with hitting and lacking pitching, quality defense behind the plate is necessary.
This past year, Manny Pina recorded a ridiculous defensive runs above average of 12.5, according to FanGraphs. Had he qualified, Pina would have ranked eighth overall, second at his position, in 2017. This means that the breakout backstop would slot in right behind one of the greatest defensive catchers of this generation, Yadier Molina.
Although catcher defensive metrics are mediocre at best, this means good tidings for the Brewers. The talent Milwaukee lacks in their starting staff will be helped with a stalwart behind the plate. Considering the defensive metrics peg some of the known quantities in baseball, like Molina and J.T. Realmuto, this is the light at the end of the tunnel. If Pina can take control of this rotation, along with competency in the box, the Brewers are in a good position. All of that hinges on Manny being a whole different kind of Manny and making his name with his glove.
Other Starting Options
One route Milwaukee could take is penciling in Stephen Vogt as the starter. He did not perform up to expectations in 2016 with the Athletics. He posted an awful offensive season yet salvaged a manageable WAR with an above average year with the glove. The slide continued with Vogt posting a dreadful 2017 season, offensively and defensively, and finding himself moving from Oakland to Wisconsin.
The former Athletic is working on his defense, and if he can recover his swing, Vogt may be in the perfect situation. The two-time all-star doesn’t have to do much to impress in a lackluster group. However, if we were taking bets, I’d wager that Vogt is closer to being out of the organization than in the starting lineup April 1st.
Another path the Brewers can take is outside of the organization. Milwaukee dealing for J.T. Realmuto, along with others, still isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
All in all, the Milwaukee Brewers seem to be set with their current in-house options. However, it will not be shocking to see the squad trot out another name at the end of summer.