Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Brewers By Position - Third Base

I don't like writing intros and I don't think I'm good at it. So here's third base.

Aramis Ramirez

It's tough to know what to do with Ramirez. When the Brewers originally signed him prior to the 2012 season, it looked like a bad deal for a player on the decline. A couple months into the season, it looked like a really bad deal, as Ramirez was hitting just above the Mendoza line and sporting a ghoulish 71 wRC+. He started playing a little better in May, and then starting in June, exploded all over everyone's face. By the end of the year, he had put up what was quite possibly the best season of his 15-year career. He also managed to be much better than advertised defensively, even entering the conversation for a Gold Glove, for whatever that's worth. He somehow stole a career-high nine bases, although to call him a good baserunner is to lie. While a decline from last season is inevitable, there's not a whole lot of precedent for a 34-year old putting up a career year on both sides of the ball.

                                                                          Goddamn right "Wow"

Even with some regression, Ramirez should still be a very good hitter, albeit a unique one. His plate discipline is pretty bizarre, as he's extremely aggressive and swings at too many pitches outside the strike zone, but is pretty comfortable when behind in the count and doesn't strike out very much. When he wants to, he can work the count and take a walk. His BABIP has seen some pretty intense fluctuations over the years, which is to be expected from a high-contact, bad ball hitter who's not fast. His walk rates have also seen quite a bit of variation, so that makes projecting any kind of hitting line difficult. He's also a predictive quagmire defensively. He's been bad most of his career but has put up a couple decent seasons (including last year). His range is obviously not good, but he's tremendous at charging and bare-handing the ball, robbing infield hits and bunt attempts. His arm is pretty strong, but how accurate it'll be year to year is anyone's guess. 
.290/.350/.475, 23 HR, 4 SB

Everyone else
Taylor Green
Jeff Bianchi
Donnie Murphy
Bobby Crosby nope
Alex Gonzalez

None of these guys will see much time unless Ramirez gets hurt or traded. Third base is Green's natural position, so if Aramis misses time for any reason Green will probably see the lion's share of playing time. Bianchi saw some innings there in 2012 but is more of a shortstop. I think I've made my feelings on Murphy and Gonzalez pretty clear. Crosby was given a mercy killing taken out back like Ol' Yeller ritually sacrificed released yesterday.

Aramis Ramirez .gif courtesy of Carson Cistulli

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