Batting Eighth: C Omar Narvaez
After an extremely rough 2020 season, Omar Narvaez returns to the starting job behind the plate in 2021. He was tendered a contract and agreed to a deal with the Brewers at a slight discount from what arbitration was projecting him to earn. The Brewers will need him to perform up to the standards he set from 2016-2019.
Over the years, Narvaez has been a solid contributor, generally hitting around the .270-.280 mark with a 119 OPS+ in each of the last two seasons.
2020 is more likely an offensive anomaly for Narvaez than it’s a sign of things to come. Narvaez unlocked some power in 2019, hitting 22 homers. In 2020, Narvaez hit just two of them. We know the power is in there, and he’s proven he can get base hits at a high clip, it’s just a matter of tapping into it again.
Narvaez will be near the bottom of the order again and even if he starts to hit better than he did in 2020, given the other options added to the lineup, he’ll stick down around the eighth spot.
If Narvaez does get back to his old self, then he’s going to make for an excellent eighth-place hitter. Most teams would love to get that kind of production that 2018-19 Narvaez put up from their eight-hole hitter.
He has the starting job over Manny Pina and Luke Maile. The only way someone else takes this job from Narvaez is if Narvaez continues to struggle in 2021. Jacob Nottingham essentially took most of the reps during the month of September, but his offensive numbers weren’t great either, and now with the addition of Maile and the fact Nottingham is out of minor league options put him in a rough spot with this roster crunch.
If the Brewers can unleash the 2018-19 Narvaez, then that changes the entire outlook on this offense.