The Brewers’ infield has been possibly the most interesting unit on the team. From a surprise All-Star in Jesús Aguilar to a struggling Orlando Arcia, there has been a little bit of everything. As unpredictable as the first half has been, what can we expect going forward after the All-Star break?
There is no hiding the lack of offense the Brewers have received from their middle infield spots. While Tyler Saladino has provided a nice spark at shortstop (.292/.354/.486), there is nothing to suggest that he can sustain the mini-offensive breakout he has experienced in just 79 plate appearances thus far. Jonathan Villar has proven that last year’s below average offensive season is his norm compared to 2016, and Hernan Perez is clearly not a starting caliber hitter on a team with playoff aspirations. Throw in Orlando Arcia’s severe struggles that made him one of the least effective hitters in the league, and you have a good old fashioned dumpster fire up the middle of the infield. What does this all point to? David Stearns making an outside move.
The Brewers have been heavily linked to Manny Machado, who would immediately take over at shortstop and solidify the middle of the Brewers’ lineup. This is looking less likely with each passing, but anything is still possible. While he would only be in Milwaukee for the rest of this season, he would fill the gaping hole the Brewers currently have at the position.
The Brewers have also been linked to Whit Merrifield, a second baseman from Kansas City who comes with multiple years of controllability. This could be a good option should the Brewers fall through in the Machado sweepstakes. Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar of the Minnesota Twins have also been mentioned as trade candidates, but they seem like back-up options at this point. Derek Dietrich of Miami could be another route.
Will Travis Shaw Return to Form?
Travis Shaw has been a mixed bag so far this season. He has not enjoyed the same level of success as in 2017, but has still proven valuable with a .244/.342/.467 slash line. Some of his struggles could be due to injuries that have hampered him. Hopefully the All-Star break can provide him with the time he needs to heal up and start mashing again. It is imperative that the Brewers get 2017 Travis Shaw if they are going to reach their potential.
Is Babe Aguilar Here to Stay?
It’s no question that Jesús Ruth anchored the infield for the first half. He looked unstoppable en route to 24 home runs and a ridiculous .996 OPS. There were nights where he alone carried the offense to victory. With the Brewers current roster construction, they will need much of the same from Aguilar once play resumes after the All-Star break, and all Brewers fans are hoping that he is up to the task.