Magic Mike Brosseau: The Deep Dive
Mike Brosseau is a very interesting player, particularly with the barnstorming ST he's currently having. In four seasons he has accumulated 3.6 bWAR over just 509 plate appearances, including 22 homers, the equivalent to some of a full season. He had one bad season in 2021 (his BABIP dropped almost 100 points), yet every other year has had a BA over .250 and an OPS of over .750. So why does he struggle to garner more playing time? Let’s take a look;
If you asked the everyday fan what Brosseau brings to the table, it’s the ability to crush left handed pitching, something the Brewers are greatly in need of. Over his career, he has a .651 OPS against right handed pitching, and a standout .823 OPS against left handers, with 67% of his extra base hits coming against lefties.
A couple of other interesting split based statistics
- Brosseau has a .919 OPS against “finesse pitchers”, compared to a .547 OPS against high strikeout guys
- He has an OPS of around .700 for No outs, or One Out, but when his team have Two outs, he hits for an .868 OPS
- When he swings first pitch, he has a 1.024 OPS
- He remains consistent hitting wise regardless of whether he’s in a low, medium or high leverage situation
So where does the worry come with Brosseau? Well, with someone who has such a compact short swing, he strikes out a hell of a lot, to a 28% clip against lefties and a 33% clip against right handed pitching. He doesn’t produce upper level exit velocities (his max EV last season was just 104.1mph), but very consistently avoids weak contact. Take a look at how fangraphs views his contact profile:
Such low soft contact rates show he has the potential to be a very consistent contributor, but the strikeout rate needs to come down for him to garner more playing time. As you can see below, he swings and misses a lot up in the zone, something exploited by pitches this season who started throwing him a ton more fastballs (57.6% up from 50% in 2021). The up and away zone appears a particular weakness, but the interesting caveat to how much he waves in that area, is that when he makes contact, he averages a 98.4mph exit velocity with a 29 degree launch angle. Plenty of deep fly’s if he could just make contact, but alas, that seems like a tall order. You can also see that he appears to notice this weakness and attempts to take pitches where possible in this area of the zone.
The other standout is that it’s unsustainable to be whiffing 24% of the time on meatballs, certainly over the course of a longer season against pitchers who aren’t to his liking (ie high spin, high velocity four seamers).
The other thing that really stand out as a weakness in his profile is, despite his short swing, he really struggles to make decent contact when he gets pitched inside. When pitched down and in (in zone) he has a 75% ground ball rate to go with this, almost guaranteeing an out when paired with his low exit velocities. Have a look at his expected BA and regular BA below:
As you can see, for such a happy pull hitter, he’d much prefer to have the ball in the middle and outer half of the plate, whilst it’s also intriguing to note he isn’t particularly good at smashing meatballs. I should point out he has had xBA considerably below his actual BA in every season bar 2021, so it doesn’t seem to be the best metric for evaluating him but even so, it paints a solid picture of his zones, and given his struggles to make contact at the top of the zone, and inside, you can see why the high velocity fastballs would be a bit of kryptonite for him.
Last season, using outs above average as the go to metric, Brosseau had his worst season by far at the hot corner, a 65% success rate on his plays at third base being 45 below average, recording -5 OAA. There wasn’t one particular movement he struggled with either, posting negative scores for moving in, moving left and moving to his right.
His arm strength was poor, averaging 81.9mph on his throws compared to a league average from 3B of 85.7mph. To put that in a comparison with current Brewers, Brian Anderson averaged 88.9mph on his throws from 3B (not including the OF where he ranked even higher).
He seems a sub-optimal defensive presence, without any real injuries or reasons for his declining performance, other than, if you were really stretching, the lack of regular playing time there (albeit he’s never really been a regular throughout his career).
Brosseau based over his career numbers is a solid bat, and a really strong player for pulling lefties (he could even be a benefactor of the shift rules this season). He doesn’t always make sense given the consistency of his batted ball profile compared with his strikeout rates, his struggles to pull the ball well on the inner part of the plate with a short swing, but he does produce consistently good walk rates and do damage against lefties. He’s not the sort of player you want in an everyday position at third, even if his strikeout rate did drop considerably (unlikely at this point), but to pinch hit him against left handers, or start him against the slower fastball pitchers could show some positive value throughout the season. I think he should be on the 26 man opening day roster given how the Brewers as a team struggled last season against lefties, and save Contreras, not a lot of their signings have addressed this, as well as trading off Renfroe.
There are no comments to display.