Posted by Steve
After taking a look at some individual numbers, it’s become pretty clear that Yost needs to change around a couple mainstays in his lineup. Have a look.
Let’s start with the player who carried the Brewers in April and May: J.J. Hardy. Hardy mashed out of the two-hole, and even warranted some starts as a three-hitter. Unfortunately, Hardy hasn’t hit since May, and it’s time for Yost to take notice.
Hardy’s batting average over the last month is .188, and his on-base percentage in July is a miserable .232. Hardy definitely has some nice pop for a shortstop, but to this point in his career he’s never carried a solid OBP. Move him down to the six-hole and hope he starts to turn it around.
I don’t normally get very angry watching games, but last night was definitely an exception. I loathe Johnny Estrada as a hitter, and yesterday was pretty much the breaking point. With bases loaded and NOBODY OUT in the 11th inning Estrada came up to bat. I would have preferred Tony Gwynn in that situation, which certainly says a lot about how I feel towards Estrada. Naturally he hit into the 3-2-3 DP and the Brewers failed to score in the inning.
This is Estrada in a nutshell. He’s valued highly because he’s a catcher who hits close to .300. Of course when you look a bit closer you see that it’s an empty .300 with an OBP about 20 points higher, and he’s a walking double play. How Estrada ever put up a line of .314/.378/.450 in Atlanta in 2004 is beyond me, but I do know that he isn’t even a shell of that player. He has a .293 OBP this season. Great googly moogly.
I suppose some of my loathing should be directed at Yost, who is ultimately the one who hit him fifth in 57 games this season. It’s a little more understandable lately since Hall’s been out, but Billy is back tomorrow. Estrada should never hit higher than sixth the rest of the season.
As I not-so-boldly predicted, Jenkins is slumping since he started more against left-handers. I give some props to Yost, as he eventually figured this out and got creative enough to start Tony Graffanino in left a few times against lefties. Either way, Jenkins followed a strong start with a June OPS of .735 and a July OPS of .586. It’s good to get him back in the platoon role and hit him down lower in the order again. Hopefully we see the second-half hot streak from Jenks that never happened last season.
Hart has struggled mightily in the last few weeks. His OBP is just .261 in 46 second-half plate appearances. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to slide Hart down to the two-hole for a couple weeks and see what happens. I see he has a day off tonight, which doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
He’s horrible. Get him out of here and send his .623 OPS with him. Bring back Gross.
I’m going to go the other way with this one. After a horrible slump, Weeks has looked much better in his last few games. Despite only three hits so far in the second half, Weeks has an OBP of .458. Obviously this is a very small sample size, but I think it shows that many have overblown Weeks’ struggles.
“Publicly benching” Weeks was a mistake by Yost, but luckily he hasn’t quite put that into practice. Weeks is in the lineup again tonight, and he’s leading off. The Brewers absolutely need to get Weeks going again. He’s such a dynamic player when he’s right. He’s taking some walks, and usually that’s a sign of busting out of a slump.
I know it seems like I want to move everyone down in the order, but that’s not totally the case. Here’s what I’d like to see for the next couple weeks.
I want to comment that I might still like Hart more long-term in the lead-off spot than Weeks, but I think this is a good bet for the time being.
Braun looks like a mainstay in the three-hole, as he is out of his mind at the moment. Fielder’s in a home run drought a bit, but he’s still getting hits. I’m not worried about Prince.
Looking over them again, I actually feel very good about this lineup. The main thing (that I’m not convinced Yost will do) is moving Hardy from the two-hole and Estrada from the five-hole.