When fans think of important players to the Milwaukee Brewers success, Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Jesus Aguilar, Josh Hader and quite a few others come to mind. However, none of them provide the versatility that Hernan Perez can.
Hernan Perez is in his fourth year with the Milwaukee Brewers and due to some bigger names coming into town this year, he’s had to transition to more of a role player. He isn’t going to get as many at-bats as he has had the previous two seasons, but since the All-Star break he’s been making it difficult for manager Craig Counsell to keep him out of the lineup.
How has Perez performed recently?
Perez is known for his strong defensive ability, but he’s been swinging the bat quite well since the All-Star break. In his 88 plate appearances, Perez has a batting average of .305 and a OBP of .352. He’s also been able to knock three home runs during this time frame, a bonus considering he isn’t a power hitter at all.
Recently, Perez has seen more starting time, but his main duty has been coming off the bench as a defensive replacement or a pinch hitter, where he has not disappointed. As a pinch hitter in 2018, Perez is batting .300, with two home runs and nine RBIs. All season long he’s been able to accomplish what the pinch hitter is supposed to do, and that is to provide an offensive spark by getting on base.
What about on the basepaths?
Once on the bases, Perez is a threat to score from anywhere on a ball hit into the gap, can turn a single into a double, and he can steal at any time. In his limited role he’s been able to steal eleven bases and has been caught just three times. Perez’ speed on the base path allows him to get into scoring position and help Milwaukee produce runs by base hits, rather than just relying on the long-ball.
Where can he play?
Perez’ natural position is as a second baseman, but so far this season he has played every position except for catcher. And up until the September call-ups, he was listed as the emergency catcher behind Erik Kratz and Manny Pina. Defensively, he is a Swiss army knife and can be placed anywhere.
Hernan’s versatility on defense gives Counsell a lot of flexibility when making lineup decisions. He knows that he can focus on batting matchups and stick Perez wherever he is needed without having to worry about him defensively. Even though he seems to play a different position every time he takes the field, Perez has just two errors on the season. It’s rare to see that kind of defensive efficiency from a player who is changing positions constantly.
Perez is in the final year of his contract and is receiving $1.98 million this season. Given his ability at the plate and defensive versatility, that is a steal for the Milwaukee Brewers. When the off season rolls around, the Brewers will focus on a lot bigger free agent names than Perez, but very few can bring his skill set to this team. Perez is a player that GM David Stearns should consider re-signing to short-term deal in the off season ahead.