Posted by Dan
Let the record show I was not one of the people questioning Prince when he started the season with 53 AB without homering. Last year, he had 3 streaks of 50 AB’s without a HR and he ended up with 50. So we can finally put that to bed. But on to two things that I actually am a little concerned about. First, is the Brewers inability to hit RHP, and second is Yost’s inability to understand a platoon.
First off: The Brewers are OPSing .617 so far this season vs RHP. I understand it’s early and that the offense is struggling. But going forward, I see the teams lack of a left handed bat outside of Fielder, causing them to fall into more dry spells than a team with this offense (on paper) should. If you look at how the Brewers faced against RHP last year, you certainly are left underwhelmed: Hall .713; Hardy .729; Weeks .787. Hart did OPS .824 vs RHP and Braun posted an .845 OPS (compared to a 1.400 OPS vs lefties!) To be clear, I’m not panicking, just noting that the Brewer lineup is filled with righties who do not hit right handed pitching very well. If you go back to last year, the Brewers did finish 12th in OPS against RHP. But you take away 355 AB’s with an .807 OPS against righties by Geoff Jenkins and that number and rank is going to drop. I think it is something worth watching.
Secondly: Earlier this week Yost was going to “ride the hot hand” by starting Gabe Kapler over Gabe Gross against Braden Looper. I understand Gross has been struggling and Kapler has been hot(just look at the pictures below!), but I just don’t like this. Yost was bailed out when Kapler ran into the wall before the game (???) and injured his shoulder. Kapler owns a career .725 OPS vs righties and should not hit against them. Again, I’m not going to roast Yost for this since it’s not like the left handed half of the platoon has been tearing it up, but he did this with Jenkins last year. It started as a Mench/Jenkins platoon. Predictably, Jenkins started off mashing the righties to the tune of a .944 April OPS. (I cant find splits to back this next claim up, I’m not going to lie, BUT…) I seem to remember Yost doing exactly what he’s doing this year. He started “riding the hot hand” and playing Jenkins more often against lefties and his OPS declined throughout the rest of the season. (By month: .944 .852 .735 .752 .786 .657)
It’s early and these are hardly major problems, but I think they are two things to keep an eye on. Ultimately, the Brewers are 9-6 and not playing up to their offensive potential and are still without Mike Cameron for another two weeks.