One of the more unlikely heroes any Milwaukee Brewers fan could have imagined has suddenly emerged in the last two games in Tyler Saladino.
Ever since Tyler Saladino got recalled alongside Keston Hiura, he had done essentially nothing offensively, and most expected him to be sent back down to the minors in short order, but recent events may make that decision more difficult.
In this playoff chase the Milwaukee Brewers are going to be in this second half, every win they can get is crucial, and without a ninth inning home run by Eugenio Suarez, Saladino would have stolen two wins for the Brewers, and in grand slam fashion no less.
Both games featured situations where the Milwaukee Brewers were down, and looked out of the game, then suddenly with one swing they tie the game or take the lead.
Clutch plays that elevate the team and put them in a position to win are typically things that would keep someone in the major leagues. Saladino may have earned some more time with his big moments the last two games, but he still has more than plenty to prove at the plate in order to stay up here, especially with multiple options to replace him currently being in the minor leagues.
Should Saladino stay in the Majors?
This season, Saladino has just seven total hits in 54 at bats, with all of his RBIs, homers, and two of those hits coming from the grand slams. This means that if those two at-bats were just another strikeout or groundout, there really wouldn’t be much of an argument at all for keeping him up.
But he came through with those slams, and now the Milwaukee Brewers are looking at a player who has been non-effective until now, and three players in the minors who could very well replace him in the infield. But it isn’t as easy now due to the fact that it looks like Hiura’s spot is now locked down at second base.
Who’s knocking at the door?
The minor league options include two guys who have been on the major league team the last few years in Travis Shaw and Hernan Perez, as well as a prospect who is ready for his major league opportunity in Mauricio Dubon.
In terms of stats in the minor leagues, Shaw is showing tremendous improvement from his major league performance this year. We all have heard GM David Stearns repeat that this team is at its best with Shaw performing well in the majors, and with his nine home runs, 1.053 OPS, 25 total hits, and a .291 batting average in Triple-A, he certainly is trending towards getting recalled.
On the other hand, Perez is not exactly standing out in the minors. The Milwaukee Brewers appeared to get lucky by retaining him after designating him for assignment, but so far in Triple-A his stats are only a little better than his major league stats from this season. He has a .756 OPS, just one home run, and 15 hits in 14 games with six of those being doubles.
Those numbers aren’t necessarily bad, but they certainly aren’t on the level that Shaw is producing, and not the same production as Dubon has done all year for Triple-A. Dubon is a contact guy, as he has 113 hits in 91 games, and a .300 batting average, along with 14 home runs and an OPS of .807.
Dubon got a brief call up around the all star break, but only got two at bats before getting sent back down. He has shown a lot of positive signs after coming back from an ACL tear, and seems like someone the Brewers are paying a lot of attention to either to play for them in the near future, or potentially as a piece of a trade, but we’re going to have to wait and see on that.
Saladino has some competition, and despite being the hero of the last two games for the Brewers, based on his numbers he should have a very short leash to stay in the majors. But if he continues to come through for the Milwaukee Brewers, then he will earn his spot to stay, and he can continue to platoon with Orlando Arcia at shortstop.
However, if Shaw continues to hit like he is in Triple-A, and with his major league pedigree from the last few seasons, he’s going to force his way back onto the team at some point. There is the unlikely scenario that they would trade Shaw as well, but the Brewers would love to have him back and producing for them. In that scenario, Saladino would be the man left behind, even if he doesn’t play the same position.
For the present moment though, Saladino’s grand slams have been awesome moments for the Brewers as a team as well as the fans, and we now all get to see if he, along with the rest of the offense can stay hot and continue this nice run the Milwaukee Brewers are on as a team.