Brewers cleanup hitter candidate #3: Avisaíl García
This one might be a bit of a surprise but I think Avisaíl García is Craig Counsell’s third-best option to hit cleanup this season. If you notice a trend, all three of these players listed are in pretty desperate need for a rebound performance in 2021. This year is a big year for García as there is a club option for 2022 that could be turned mutual if he meets a couple requirements within the contract regarding plate appearances.
Brewers fans have yet to see his full potential but he was actually Tampa Bay’s primary cleanup hitter in 2019 where he slashed .282/.332/.464 with 20 home runs, 25 doubles and 72 runs batted in. In that fourth slot, García had his most home runs with seven and over half of his doubles came there as well.
He’s similar to Shaw in the fact that he has some experience there, but he probably won’t give you more than 25 home runs, whereas Shaw gave the Brewers over 30 in his two best years in Brew City.
Last season was one to forget for Milwaukee’s primary center fielder but if García can get things figured out, he’s undoubtedly in the conversation for the cleanup spot. He actually had the highest batting average out of the aforementioned seven players at .292 while hitting fourth but that was only in a sample size of seven games.
It’s time for Avisaíl García to earn his $10MM/year and he very well could earn it right in the middle of the Brewers lineup.
Honorable Mention Candidates
Daniel Vogelbach – Vogelbach is the ideal cleanup hitter, but with the lack of clarity in regards to the DH, he would probably only get the spot if Hiura needed a day off or was struggling mightily against right-handed pitchers. He did start in the third-most games at cleanup though with 13 last season.
Ryan Braun – If Ryan Braun was to return to the Brewers, he would be a similar option to Vogelbach in the scenario that an outfielder needs a day off or gets hurt, he steps in. Braun has spent about 84% of his career hitting third, but the Brewer legend still slugged .488 last year at 36 years old. If he comes back, which is a big if, then he could see some time here.
Christian Yelich – Christian Yelich will almost definitely hit second or third for Craig Counsell, but given any unforeseen circumstances, he could slide into the cleanup spot and produce there as well. He has more than enough power to hit cleanup, but realistically he has the capability to be good 1-9 in any lineup.
The cleanup spot in the lineup is unclear at the moment, but more clarity should come as we go through spring training.