Brewers: How important is the ability to get on-base in 2020?
On-base percentage is arguably the most important individual offensive statistic in baseball and it seems to be important for overall team success. How successful is the projected 2020 lineup for the Brewers at getting on base?
OBP is considered to be much more important than batting average because in addition to hits it includes walks and hit by pitch. Ultimately, it stresses the importance of getting on base. When looking at OBP and the 2019 NL playoff teams, you can see that a high OBP does seem to translate to team success. The World Series Champion Washington Nationals ranked at the top of the National League with a team OBP of .342. None of the other four NL playoff teams had an OBP ranking higher than 8th, with the Dodgers and Braves coming in second and third. The Brewers were fifth.
By looking at the 2019 OBP stats for this season’s projected starting lineup we can try to examine how successful the Brewers might be in 2020.
Projected 2020 Starting Lineup & 2019 OBP
C – Omar Narvaez, 2019 OBP: .353
1B – Justin Smoak, 2019 OBP: .342
2B – Keston Hiura, 2019 OBP: .368
3B – Jedd Gyorko, 2019 OBP: .248
3B – Eric Sogard, 2019 OBP: .353
SS – Orlando Arcia, 2019 OBP: .283
OF – Ryan Braun, 2019 OBP: .343
OF- Lorenzo Cain, 2019 OBP: .325
OF – Christian Yelich, 2019 OBP: .429
OF – Avisail Garcia, 2019 OBP: .332
Using FanGraphs Rules of Thumb for Rating OBP the only Yelich is rated as ‘excellent’. Five players are rated as ‘above average (Narvaez, Smoak, Hiura, Sogard and Braun) and two rated as ‘average’ (Cain and Garcia). Arcia and Gyorko are rated as ‘awful’.
It’s no coincidence that both Gyorko and Arcia are projected to be in platoon situations. Gyorko, did have above average OBP numbers in 2017 and 2018, and was injured for a big part of the 2019 season. 60-percent of the players listed above were considered to be ‘above average’ to ‘excellent’ in on-base percentage in 2019.
When looking at the potential lineup for 2020 and using their OBP from 2019 as a possible predictor for 2020, the Brewers are looking like a team that could be successful getting on base. That success getting on base is a good sign that the team could also have another season of being in playoff contention.