Brewers: 2021 Report Card Grades for the Crew’s Infield
By Josh Waldoch
The Milwaukee Brewers infield saw a dramatic makeover from 2021 Opening Day to the end of the regular season. And despite that turnover, its members were able to provide enough firepower to help the team reach its fourth consecutive postseason.
In the end, that firepower wasn’t sustainable enough to prevent the Brewers from avoiding an early exit from the playoffs. Still, all across the diamond, there were players who excited and players who disappointed.
That said, here are our report card grades for the Milwaukee Brewers infielders for the 2021 season.
Rowdy Tellez: 112 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR, .814 OPS, 7 HR, 174 PA
A midseason pickup, Rowdy Tellez endeared himself to the fans of Milwaukee with legendary moments.
Tellez rebounded nicely from his struggles in Toronto, and ended up putting together a 112 wRC+ in his 174 plate appearances with the Brewers. Though he is unlikely to win any Gold Gloves or accolades of the sort for his defensive performance, Tellez is the latest in the Brewers’ endless carousel of first basemen to make his mark.
Armed with a solid eye, and lots of pop, Tellez turned into a great option in his half-season with the Brewers, even after missing a chunk of September with a right patella strain. Could Tellez be the answer at first base? That’s yet to be seen, but the 26-year old made a strong case to be given a chance to hold down the spot in the future.
Final Grade: B+
Daniel Vogelbach: 101 wRC+, 0.1 fWAR, .730 OPS, 9 HR, 258 PA
Despite missing time with a left hamstring strain, Daniel Vogelbach appeared in 93 games for the Brewers. Unfortunately, the results for Vogelbach were not as good as they were in the 2020 season.
Vogelbach was league average based on his offensive production this season (wRC+ of 101, OPS+ of 97), and he was “Wally Pipp’d” out of the first base platoon. Vogelbach does have quite a lot of power, and a good eye for pitch recognition, he just was not able to get it going this season.
With no options remaining, and a potential logjam at first base depending on what the Brewers decide to do with Tellez and Keston Hiura, Vogelbach may find himself as the odd man out when the non-tender deadline comes around.
Final Grade: C
Keston Hiura: 52 wRC+, -0.7 fWAR, .557 OPS, 4 HR, 197 PA
It is difficult to imagine a more trying season than the 2021 season that Keston Hiura had. His mom battled cancer throughout the season, and he seemingly lost all ability to hit. His ability to hit was lauded throughout his minor league career, so the sudden drop off was quite alarming.
Even down in the minors, Hiura’s struggles at times remained present.
The front office seems to still have faith in Hiura, but he could see time as a multi-positional player this coming season. They haven’t given up on him, nor should they. He still is a talented player, but there is perhaps no one looking forward to the calendar to turn over than Hiura is.