Milwaukee Brewers: Hernan Perez Returns to the Crew

Matt Carroll
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 09: Hernan Perez #14 of the Milwaukee Brewers slides into home plate to score a run in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on June 09, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 09: Hernan Perez #14 of the Milwaukee Brewers slides into home plate to score a run in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on June 09, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers enter the weekend’s series against the Rangers fresh off of a three-game sweep of the Pirates. Prior to Friday’s game, the team announced that a fan and clubhouse favorite would be rejoining the team to help keep the momentum going.

Many fans were dismayed when Hernan Perez was designated for assignment back on June 28th, fearing that the utility man would be picked up by another club. That didn’t happen and he was sent to the Triple-A San Antonio Missions to find his swing. He did, and his work paid off.

The move comes at a opportune time. The Milwaukee Brewers find themselves with a little bit of momentum after their sweep of the Pirates this week and the offense broke back out in the process. The addition of Perez back to the clubhouse can hopefully keep the good vibes flowing.

How has Perez done since we last saw him?

As was mentioned previously, Perez ended up finding his stroke and hitting quite well with the Missions. To recap, in 27 games, Perez had a slash line of .290/.372/.523 (.895 OPS) with five homers and 19 runs driven in. At one point he had a 14-game hit streak and had hits in 20 of 21 games.

Perez has also become at least slightly more patient since he left the Brewers. Prior to his demotion, he had 42 strikeouts to just nine walks in 59 games with a strikeout percentage of 26.3%. With San Antonio, he had a much better ratio of 23 strikeouts to 14 walks and lowered his K% down to 19.0%.

Why were Travis Shaw and Burch Smith reassigned?

Travis Shaw‘s numbers speak for themselves. The Milwaukee Brewers optioned him down to the minors on the same day as Perez’s DFA after his own rough start to the year to find his swing and the results were promising. He compiled a slash line of .286/.445/.593 (1.039 OPS) with nine homers and 22 RBI in 28 games. He ended up being too hot of a hitter not to call back up to the majors.

But the success didn’t carry over. Since being called back up to the majors on July 26th, Shaw was just 2-for-14 with a walk and five strikeouts, both of the hits being singles. His playing time was more limited than in the minors with starts in just four of twelve possible games while he was back. The bottom line is, though, that he didn’t produce any better for the Milwaukee Brewers than he did to start the season.

Burch Smith, meanwhile, essentially became expendable. His numbers weren’t great to begin with, earning a 7.82 ERA and a 2.053 WHIP in 12 2/3 innings. But with the acquisition of pitchers like Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, and Jacob Faria at the trade deadline and younger pitchers waiting in the wings, his services were no longer needed.

What does Perez add to the roster?

Having Perez back on the Brewers’ roster doesn’t just mean adding a hot bat from the minors. The Milwaukee Brewers have been playing without a true backup to Orlando Arcia at shortstop. Manager Craig Counsell recently stating that Mike Moustakas, who has never played an inning at short in the majors, would back Arcia up if necessary. Perez finally allows true flexibility at the position.

On top of that, Perez brings with him a presence that had been missing from the clubhouse for the last couple months. With players like him, Brent Suter, and Jesus Aguilar gone from the roster, much of the fun-loving attitude that enamored fans, not to mention teammates, last year had seemed to disappear. While that’s obviously not the only thing that helps players perform, it certainly helps keep them loose.

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Time will tell what Perez’s return to the Brewer roster will bring this year. But the hope is that his bat, if it performs better than Shaw’s did, will help keep the offense rolling and his attitude back in the Milwaukee Brewers clubhouse will help keep the momentum building and finally put the team on the type of run that fans have been waiting for.

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