New leadoff hitter

Posted by Steve

Here I was, well into a post about Roy Halladay when the Brewers so rudely interrupted with a trade.  They have just acquired Arizona second baseman Felipe Lopez for AAA outfielder Cole Gillespie and A reliever Roque Mercedes.

Lopez is a solid player, and I expect him to be the full time second baseman the rest of the year and also hit leadoff.  He plays good defense at second, short and third, and has good average and OBP skills.  He’s hitting .305/.368/.416 this season.  The best part: Lopez is a free agent at the end of the year, which means second base will still belong to Rickie Weeks next season.  Lopez is also likely to be a Type B free agent, which means the Brewers will get a compensation pick for him.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Cole Gillespie.  I went to the College World Series and saw him play for Oregon State just a couple weeks after the Brewers drafted him.  I’ve followed him pretty closely as he made his way up the minor league ranks.  He has decent speed, good on base skills and some pop.  It’s pretty clear that he’ll be a major leaguer before long, but once I remove myself from my fanboy-dom for Gillespie, I can’t say he profiles as much more than a fourth outfielder.  The pick the Brewers will get for Lopez has a good chance to be a similar caliber of player.

If I had to guess the corresponding roster move, I’d guess Mat Gamel will be optioned back to AAA to get regular playing time.  My preference is to see Gamel playing nearly every day at third, but since it seems Ken Macha simply won’t do that, I’d rather see him playing every day in Nashville than burning up service time warming the bench.  Lopez will play second and lead off, while McGehee and Counsell will likely handle third.  Counsell has done a good job this season, but I don’t mind giving his knees more of a rest.

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7 responses to “New leadoff hitter

  1. Good average and on base skills? If his batting average falls to .270, he is a .330 on base guy. That is solid at the bottom of the order, but the top? Maybe he was indeed rejuvenated in St. Louis last year and is worth the risk, but boy he has a little bit of a track record in the other direction, washing out of Toronto, Cincinnati and Washington. Surprising St. Louis opted to move Schumaker to 2B rather then try and re-sign him as well.

  2. Good, not great. His OBP the last two seasons is .354. The Brewers don’t have a better option than that right now to lead off; maybe Counsell but I’m worried about him wearing down.

    Lopez isn’t a huge improvement, but he’s a capable middle infielder who adds depth. I’m a bit surprised you talk about risk involved, because I don’t see this as much of a risk. Considering a couple months ago you threw out names like Escobar or Salome to get Lopez, I figured you’d like this deal for the Brewers.

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  4. I still like it for the Brewers, just don’t like the fact they addressed a need that wasn’t AS big as their need for starting pitching. While possible, it is extremely unlikely that they now land Doug Davis or Jon Garland and they need a starting pitcher badly.

    Right, the last 2 seasons. Prior to those last 2 seasons, he was getting ready to be out of the game or playing in AAA. Is it possible he turned a corner? Sure. I just wouldn’t want to be the contender who relies on him to keep it up…

    If you want a real out of the box guy that could be a solid lead-off hitter: Mike Cameron. .264-.370-.472. Yes, some of his home runs would go for naught, but wouldn’t you rather have him hitting his doubles and triples in front of Braun and Fielder?

    BTW, in case you were curious, I have detailed scouting reports on Escobar and Lawrie under my Futures Game writeup.

  5. I checked out your scouting reports the other day–Great stuff.

    Obviously I agree they need pitching, and if they don’t add pitching before the deadline then this move makes zero sense. Doug Melvin said he tried to expand the deal for a pitcher (presumably Davis) but Josh Byrnes apparently wasn’t interested, at least with a couple weeks to go yet before the deadline.

    I like the idea of Cameron hitting somewhere in the top of the order as well, but I think he’ll probably be mostly used in the 5 or 6 spot. Macha has certainly been willing to juggle the lineup, so perhaps I was wrong when I said Lopez will likely be the leadoff hitter all season. The lineup will probably change frequently.

  6. Also I should add that I was incorrect in saying that Lopez plays good defense at shortstop. A closer look at his numbers show he’s below average at shortstop and probably shouldn’t play there. I don’t imagine the Brewers using him anywhere but second anyway.

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