Entering the 2021 season the first base position for the Brewers was supposed to belong to Keston Hiura, with Daniel Vogelbach serving in a pinch hitter role.
Unfortunately Hiura has struggled and is less than two weeks into his second minor league stint. To make matters worse, Vogelbach sustained a significant hamstring injury in last night’s game.
While there is never a good time for an injury, the timing of this injury to Vogelbach is rather unfortunate for him and the Brewers.
The Brewers have already announced that Hiura’s second minor league stint will be an extended one. He was recalled to the majors after a very brief trip to Nashville due to him slugging the crap out of the baseball. Sadly, he still struggled after the reset and likely is not an immediate option to replace Vogelbach.
For Vogelbach, he was looking to capitalize on the increased playing time. With Hiura demoted and Travis Shaw on the injured list, he was in line to get a lot of starts at first base. The extended look at Dan Vogelbach has now come to a screeching halt with this injury.
After losing their initial top three options at first base in Hiura, Vogelbach, and Travis Shaw, the big question for the Brewers now is who is on first base?
To begin, the Brewers will have to use someone internally. Jace Peterson has played the most at the position this season, but is currently sporting a .169 batting average, .290 OBP, .578 OPS, and a 30% strikeout rate in 59 at bats. It’s fair to say that Peterson comes with a lot of offensive concerns.
Daniel Robertson has played three games at first base this year, but possesses a near similar slash line as Jace Peterson. Of the remaining players on the 40 man roster, Tim Lopes and Pablo Reyes, neither has played first base this year.
All that being said, it would appear likely that an addition to the 40 man roster may be coming. Weston Wilson, Zach Green, and Hernan Perez are three minor league options who stand out as first base candidates.
On the minor league season, Wilson has a .873 OPS and six home runs. Green has a .837 OPS with 10 home runs and 35 runs batted in, but has slowed down significantly after a hot start to the season. In a smaller sample size, Perez has a .363 batting average, .402 OBP, and .952 OPS in 80 at bats, but he’s with Team Venezuela to qualify for the Olympics right now.
Green has been hitting better lately, with a .272 average since June 8th, but his strikeout rate is above 38%.
If anyone not named Keston Hiura gets added to the roster, someone will need to be dropped from the 40 man roster. Hiura presents the best potential of any of these choices, but will they risk not giving him enough time in Triple-A again to figure out his offensive woes?
The Brewers don’t have a large amount of players to chose from following Vogelbach’s injury. While it is unlikely that any of these internal options are the long term answer throughout the remainder of the season, it will be interesting to see who they initially elect to play first base.
UPDATE: Milwaukee called up Keston Hiura to play first base.
First base is clearly a need right now for the Brewers and it’s likely too early for a trade to solve the problem. They may have to stick it out for a few weeks to see how the situation plays itself out.