Brewers 2018 Grades: Jesus Rises in the Infield
Milwaukee Brewers might not have had their infield match their outfield, but they were some encouraging signs there as well. It began at first base. If you were talking about the first base position in March, people would think you’re talking about Eric Thames. The former Korean superstar had a breakout year for the team. Not so fast, my friends. That belong to Jesus Aguilar who broke out in a major way and might have been the MVP if the season ended in middle July. He had the top year for the infield position which was up and down to say the least.
Jesus Aguilar – What a year for Zeus. He became the first consistent power-hitting first baseman the Brewers have had since Prince Fielder left the team in 2011. Aguilar blossomed into a talent for the team and had a thrill for the dramatics with multiple walk-off winners. He is one of the best two-strike hitters I’ve ever seen. It’s unknown whether Zeus can put together next year, but we’ll always have 2018. GRADE:A-
Travis Shaw – A part of me wanted to point out that Shaw did not have the year he did last season at the plate. Sure, he hit over 30 homers and go on-base regularly, but he seemed be more of a walk-homer-strikeout guy than in 2017. He gets a bump up in the grading system for making the change over to second base without any complaints and doing it well. Shaw will be at third for 2019, but he can definitely play second as well. GRADE:B
Orlando Arcia – What a strange year for Orlando Arcia. He had one of the worst starts of any Brewers’ player then Colorado Springs did him right. He came back to have an underrated August plus a great September to finish the year. It culminated with a four-hit game versus the Cubs in Game 163. Arcia had an amazing October hitting near .300 with three home runs. Hope this is the future for the young star. GRADE:B
Jonathan Villar – With Shaw patrolling second base, there was not a spot for Jonathan Villar. He played pretty well in a limited role for the time. You wonder if he would have accepted a bench spot with Shaw and Mike Moustakas taking over. He had a good year in his shot time with the Brewers before being shipping to Baltimore. GRADE:B-
Mike Moustakas – Maybe, I’m a tough grader but I didn’t particularly like the Mike Moustakas trade experience. He had a big hit here or there, but most of the time, it felt like a strikeout or poput was coming. He made too many errors in the field. He’s a decent third baseman, but every game seemed to have one or two fuck ups. He’d be fine as a Brewer again, but I don’t want him back. GRADE: C+
Hernan Perez – Hopefully Craig Counsell can tell us one day why Hernan Perez was fifth in games played for this Brewers team. I give Perez credit for playing multiple positions, but he needs to improve his hitting. Perez does not get on-base and strikeouts far too much. David Stearns should upgrade the utility player position. GRADE:C
Eric Thames – Even though Thames slugged 16 homers, the season was a disappointment for him. He did a terrible job in right field when the Brewers tried to find a spot for him when Aguilar began to be an every day player. He had a woeful August going 4-for-41 with strikeouts on strikeouts. Sure, one of those four hits was a walkoff, but still, it did not work for Thames. GRADE:C-
Jonathan Schoop – I tried really hard to give Schoop the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, he didn’t play enough and other thoughts like that yet he’s horrible. Shcoop struggled mightily at the plate. Brewers bringing him back in the mix is 50/50 in my opinion. They have Keston Hiura who could be ready to be a big leaguer, and if that’s the case, bye bye Johnny. GRADE:D-
We move to the starting pitchers and catchers next.