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Brewers - worst up the middle team in MLB so far?


JoeHova

I was just checking the Brewers stats for this year so far and one thing really jumped out: how poorly the up the middle guys are hitting. The corner guys aren't doing great either, but are probably collectively about average (for corner guys) or maybe slightly above.

 

The story up the middle though is just awful:

 

Kendall: 71 OPS+

Hardy: 76 OPS+

Weeks: 79 OPS+

Cameron: 87 OPS+

 

All of them are below the league average even for their positions. Is there any reason to hope this will turn around? Obviously it hasn't been quite as bad as it looks so far because Kapler got 11 starts in CF and played well, but on the other hand, Gross and Gwynn got 18 starts there and played horribly, so maybe it's even worse.

 

People talk about a lack of pitching hurting the team so far this year (though it's been much better lately), but isn't the bigger problem the fact that two of their up the middle guys seem washed up and the other two have never been able to play well for more than a month or two at a time in their careers?

 

If the team is to make a trade for help during the season, shouldn't it be for a guy who can take over one of the up the middle spots, rather than a pitcher? I realize those guys are hard to get, but so are pitchers.

 

Anyway, I guess my question is, what can the team do about this, and do you see such poor play continuing? Or is it just a bad stretch for all the guys?

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I know Kendall is a warrior that will play every day behind the plate. But at 33 (34 in less than a month) I think his production would go up quite a bit if he wasn't on pace to catch 145 games. I know he has done it his whole career. However when you get older you are not able to do the things you have done when you were younger. Give the guy off 2 days a week. He would still probably catch 120 games. I guess I don't understand why we are running him into the ground. sure we lose a little behind the dish with Rivera, but what we lose for the extra day a week I think we would definitely make up for it in Kendall's play the rest of the Week.

 

As for Cameron, Weeks, and Hardy, the three of them currently have OPS's at least 50 points under their career norms. They will be OK as the season wears on I believe.

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Kendall: 71 OPS+
Hardy: 76 OPS+
Weeks: 79 OPS+
Cameron: 87 OPS+

Just to compare that to their positional averages (numbers are the average of the last 20 years):

 

C: 87 OPS+

SS: 85 OPS+

2B: 92 OPS+

CF: 99 OPS+

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Take a look at my projection vs. actual thread to get an idea of what we should reasonably be expecting from those guys. Kendall is the only guy hitting at his projection.

 

But after hitting terribly for two months (one month for Cam), the projections of the other guys will have been negatively affected, so the difference between current play and their projections going forward will not be as great as in the chart you provide.

 

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The story up the middle though is just awful:

 

Kendall: 71 OPS+

Hardy: 76 OPS+

Weeks: 79 OPS+

Cameron: 87 OPS+

I guess I always tend to look at the big picture and not just 4 hitters. 3 of those hitters provide good to above-average defensively and help the team in areas besides hitting. Rickie Weeks, he can go somewhere because his overall game is lacking, in my opinion. Two of the guys hit at the bottom of the order already with the exception of Cameron, who has provided some decent power and speed in the outfield.

 

I dont have the time to look up are they the worst in the MLB so far and I dont really have the interest. To me, I think you are pigeon-holing your expectations of a baseball player to hitting while ignoring the other aspects of the game. So, to answer your question, I would like help at 2b down the stretch, but not the other positions, and again that's because his overall game is weak, not just his AVG and OPS. The other guys, I'm okay with their hitting stats because they help in other areas.

 

 

(pared back long quote --1992)

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but their hitting is weak even compared to the other good defenders/bad hitters at their positions, which is my point. If 4 starters on a team hit horribly for their positions, it is hard to overcome that unless you have exceptional pitching and/or Barry Bonds.
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If 4 starters on a team hit horribly for their positions, it is hard to overcome that unless you have exceptional pitching and/or Barry Bonds.
I think the 4 of them are adequate. Not great, but adequate. If you had 9 great players at every position, they'd all be All-stars, etc. With the exception of Rickie Weeks, I think there defensive talents, baseball knowledge, leadership, etc make up for their inadaquacies at the plate. I think the roster is pretty well balanced that I dont need all 9 starters having a high SLG or OPS, etc. If it weren't hard to overcome, it wouldnt be a competition http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif I'm sure there isn't a team out there that says they'd like to get a little something more out of 4 specific ballplayers on their team. With these 4, it just happens to be hitting the ball. But again, you get something above average in a different skill set for that player.
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I didn't compare team by team, that was the question. I want to compare team by team, but I'm not web-savvy enough to do it in a way other than by hand, which would take quite awhile and I don't have the time right now.

 

However, even if there are a couple teams worse than the Brewers up the middle, I thought it was an interesting topic anyway, especially because the 4 up the middle players are comprised of two much-hyped young guys and two savvy vets who were brought in to get a young team over the hump.

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Ok, just curious. It'll be interesting to re-visit this topic as the season moves along. I know J.J. & Cam have started to turn themselves around, and I'm probably as big a Weeks believer as there is.
Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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But after hitting terribly for two months (one month for Cam), the projections of the other guys will have been negatively affected

 

True but not by much at all. 10%? Also, I don't really see the big deal overall. I'm supposed to be alarmed that Hardy has an OPS+ that's 9 points lower than average for his position over the first 2 months? Weeks is really the only guy I'd be worried about at all.

 

You asked if there was any reason to hope these guys would turn it around. Other than Kendal, the answer is yes. Kendall is what he is, Lasik surgery and all!

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