The Milwaukee Brewers are getting ready for their NLCS matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Who could end up being the surprise breakout player in this series?
Without a doubt, Erik Kratz was the surprise hero in the NLDS against the Rockies. He went 5-for-8 with a couple of clutch base hits and RBIs. He’s continued to win over the hearts of many, not only in Milwaukee, but around the baseball world with his performance in the games along with his postgame interviews.
It seems like in every postseason, there’s a surprise hero for a World Series team that jumps on to the scene and is a key part of the team’s success despite a general lack of success in the regular season. There’s generally one of those players per team in a postseason.
But for the purposes of this article, Kratz will be ineligible for the surprise hero title in the NLCS. He already jumped onto the scene, which will make it hard to surprise anyone now.
As for the NLCS surprise hero, who could it be?
Yes, my choice for the NLCS surprise hero is Hernan Perez. He may sometimes draw the ire of many Milwaukee Brewers fans as they question why he would get the start over Orlando Arcia or Travis Shaw or Jonathan Schoop, but hear me out on this one.
Most of the times when Perez is inserted into the starting lineup is when there’s a left handed starting pitcher on the mound. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Rich Hill in their playoff rotation, all of whom are left handed. That means Perez is more likely to get a good amount of at-bats in this upcoming series if he continues to play against lefties.
For the season, Perez is hitting .277 with a .783 OPS against southpaws. Orlando Arcia, on the other hand, hit .244 with a .596 OPS against lefties.
Perez was 2-for-6 in the NLDS and both hits were doubles. One of which brought in Mike Moustakas to take a 1-0 lead in Game 2.
Perez is a bench/utility player that mostly gets pinch hit opportunities and comes in as a late inning defensive replacement. Normally he hits around .250 with a below average OPS, which would make him a prime candidate to surprise everyone with a big series.
The Milwaukee Brewers could very well see Erik Kratz come up clutch once again, which is still going to be a surprise to many. But for a new name that could surprise people, Hernan Perez might be the best bet to show up in the NLCS.