The Milwaukee Brewers addressed their offense by acquiring Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Although the trade has raised questions about the defensive layout of the team, on the offensive side of things, Moustakas is a perfect fit into Craig Counsell‘s lineup.
The Brewers already had a lineup with multiple All-Stars and other key contributors near the top. With Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich constantly getting on base at the top, Aguilar having an MVP type season, Travis Shaw driving in runs, and Eric Thames getting on base and hitting home runs as well, Moustakas adds to a powerful group.
However, after the top of the order, the lineup takes a dive. Tyler Saladino has done some good things, but generally that dive is due to the second base, shortstop and catcher positions not producing. This move helps solve that problem, as now Shaw will be taking over second, filling in one of those gaping holes.
In terms of Moustakas’ production, he is very similar to Travis Shaw as a hitter. He has 20 home runs on the season, and that is while playing in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in baseball. With him moving to Miller Park, and getting some protection and production around him in the lineup, Moustakas should receive quite the boost playing for the Brewers compared to the Royals.
Balancing the Lineup
The lineup can be arranged in multiple different ways with the addition of Moustakas. Counsell has used many different arrangements already this year, especially with the leadoff spot. In Moustakas’ debut he will hit third, right behind Cain and in front of Aguilar, with Yelich leading off. Cain is more of a leadoff hitter than Yelich is, but that arrangement is more to separate the righties and lefties.
What Moustakas does is give the Milwaukee Brewers options by giving them another left handed bat. Against a right handed pitcher, you can stack the top and middle of the lineup with the four lefty thumpers in Yelich, Shaw, Moustakas and Thames. Against a left hander, you can sub in Braun for Thames, and maybe sit Shaw/Moustakas for Saladino or Perez.
Either way, there are All-Star caliber hitters in the lineup from both sides of the plate, so neither a lefty or righty will have it easier by any stretch. Moustakas will also hopefully add some more consistency to the offense, as even the top of the lineup occasionally struggles all at the same time, which has led to more shutouts than usual.
While at times the offense has been home run dependent, Cain and Yelich have done a lot to produce runs in other ways. Having them both hit in front of another high quality power hitter in Moustakas just equals more opportunities for him to succeed. First inning of a game, Cain and Yelich each get one base, you got three or four power hitters coming up right after with the chance to drive them in and possibly more.
This trade for Moustakas is a trade not many Brewer fans expected to happen due to the defensive arrangement, but on the offensive side, this is an exciting move for this team.
While most baseball people will say the Milwaukee Brewers need starting pitching to be a championship caliber team, the offense had it’s issues that needed to be addressed, and David Stearns has done just that with this move.