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Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen

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Offline  Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
#1

Posted: May 04, 2020, 8:29 PM Post
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Now, we move to second base.

1. Rickie Weeks - Arguably the best second baseman in Brewers history. Always a force in the lineup, was able to get on base, and could also steal bases. Injuries put a huge crimp on what could have made him the best without question.

2. Fernando Vina - While Weeks was arguably a complete offensive package, Vina was more of a typical leadoff guy. He hit for average, got on base, and had speed. He was the primary 2B for four years, and missed a lot of time in 1999, then was dealt in an ill-advised deal to the Cardinals. Had he stuck around, he'd easily have been second on the list.

3. Paul Molitor - Yes he was primarily a third baseman before moving to DH, but the Ignitor and Robin Yount were an excellent DP combo from 1978-1980. He would have easily been the best had he not moved from this position.

Honorable Mentions: Ron Belliard posted three solid seasons at second base. Ron Theobald had two years as the Brewwers second baseman, and posted a .342 OBP with more walks than strikeouts. Scooter Gennett had three okay years with the Crew, before he was allowed to walk. Jim Gantner was the primary second baseman for nine years, but never really managed much on offense.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 6:12 AM Post
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clancyphile said:
Jim Gantner was the primary second baseman for nine years, but never really managed much on offense.


I'd guess I'd like to see some era-adjusted context for Gantner's numbers as others did for the Scott/Sexson numbers. Gantner's career BA was significantly higher than Weeks' career BA.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 6:24 AM Post
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These lists keep reminding me just how much we’ve sucked.

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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 6:36 AM Post
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Yeah, I was immediately convinced there had to be someone better than Weeks, then I quickly realized there probably isn't.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 6:37 AM Post
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PeaveyFury said:
clancyphile said:
Jim Gantner was the primary second baseman for nine years, but never really managed much on offense.


I'd guess I'd like to see some era-adjusted context for Gantner's numbers as others did for the Scott/Sexson numbers. Gantner's career BA was significantly higher than Weeks' career BA.


Overall Fangraphs has it pretty close...

Gantner: 6787 PA | 87 wRC+ | 19.5 WAR
Weeks: 4700 PA | 108 wRC+ | 18.6 WAR

Weeks clearly more dynamic offensively, Gantner with longevity & an ability to actually field the position.

Weeks fares much worse by DRS (-113) than UZR (-46), though, so their BRef WAR isnt particularly close with Gumby at 22.5 & Rickie at 12.5.

Adjusting their batting lines for era looks a little something like...

Player: AVG+/OBP+/SLG+ | K%+/BB%+

Weeks: 94/104/102 | 131/122
Gantner: 104/97/89 | 55/66

Both are pretty illustrative of their era with Gumby never really walking or striking out & dinking a bunch of singles, while Rickie traded average & contact for power & walks.

For my all time Brewers team I'd probably cheat a little & slot in Molly at second. In the four seasons he was a primary 2B he managed over 15 bWAR with positive fielding numbers, so not really as much of a stretch as it might seem.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 6:50 AM Post
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If you watched them both play, it's not close. Weeks had all the talent in the world but Gantner was the better player and it's not close. Ganter's career WAR was double Weeks' per B-R. Gantner saved runs with his glove. He had a .985 fielding percentage to Weeks' .970, but that doesn't come close to the difference. I can't count the number of times Weeks failed to complete routine double plays with bad throws to first.

Weeks power edge is enormous, but Gantner moved runners. Gantner had 106 career sacrifice bunts and 52 career sacrifice flies to 9 and 19 for Weeks. That doesn't even count the times Gantner moved runners from 2nd to 3rd with nobody out by pulling one on the ground.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 6:58 AM Post
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PeaveyFury said:
Yeah, I was immediately convinced there had to be someone better than Weeks, then I quickly realized there probably isn't.


Hiura could easily bump Weeks if he plays like he did in 2019 for another five to eight years...


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 8:37 AM Post
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Rickie might be my 2nd favorite Brewer of all-time.

He had a monstrous peak. From '07 to '11 he was one of the 50 best players in baseball. Rickie's biggest problem was he couldn't stay healthy, between the wrist issues early in his career to the awful ankle injury in 2011. He never seemed right after rushing back for the playoffs that season.

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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 12:37 PM Post
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Brewers had a string of years in the 90’s when they’d bring in second basemen on their last legs (Jody Reed, Willie Randolph, Scott Fletcher) and they performed remarkably well. Randolph had a near-career year in a Milwaukee uniform.

Until the Brewers drafted Weeks #2 overall, they treated second basemen like the Packers did offensive guards and inside linebackers.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 4:53 PM Post
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Heck I'm ready to put huira there now.

reillymcshane said:
Remember what Yoda said:

"Cubs lead to Cardinals. Cardinals lead to dislike. Dislike leads to hate. Hate leads to constipation."


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 9:27 PM Post
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Never appreciated Gantner until I got older. He was really solid defensively and I think people forget how much that was a full contact position back in the day. He got wiped out repeatedly on double plays, something current players don't really deal with. Gantner was also a very good "teammate" as a hitter, with a role of moving runners, sacrifices, etc. (that was noted earlier). He was not a standout hitter, but he wasn't bad either. Weeks was good in retrospect, but I'll always see him as a guy who was super talented but performed below his ability. Weeks reminded me of Sheffield in that way. I think they are both top 3 second basemen, but its due to the Brewers only being around 50 years and having lots of stop-gaps and bad teams.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 05, 2020, 10:00 PM Post
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I will put in a vote for Mark Loretta. I recognize that he played a few different positions with the Brewers, but he did play quite a bit of 2B. From 1996-2001 he put up a .292 batting average with a .357 OBP

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 06, 2020, 5:16 AM Post
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AJOHNSON104 said:
Never appreciated Gantner until I got older. He was really solid defensively and I think people forget how much that was a full contact position back in the day. He got wiped out repeatedly on double plays, something current players don't really deal with. Gantner was also a very good "teammate" as a hitter, with a role of moving runners, sacrifices, etc. (that was noted earlier). He was not a standout hitter, but he wasn't bad either. Weeks was good in retrospect, but I'll always see him as a guy who was super talented but performed below his ability. Weeks reminded me of Sheffield in that way. I think they are both top 3 second basemen, but its due to the Brewers only being around 50 years and having lots of stop-gaps and bad teams.


Sheffield later admitted he played bad to get out of Milwaukee.

Weeks simply lost a lot of time to injuries.

Two completely different scenarios...


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 06, 2020, 10:47 AM Post
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Yup. I will say, when I first saw Weeks play in Milwaukee I immediately thought of Sheffield, but that was because of his swing.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 07, 2020, 12:02 PM Post
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Weeks had injuries, but I don't think he was putting in enough effort either.


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Offline  Re: Brewers All-Time Team: Top 3 Second Basemen
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Posted: May 08, 2020, 12:55 AM Post
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AJOHNSON104 said:
Weeks had injuries, but I don't think he was putting in enough effort either.



Could you expand on that? Because I can't fathom how someone comes to that conclusion. To me he was always playing hard. The guy took a fastball to the face and stayed in the game.

Never saw him not playing the game hard.

This really feels like the last area of Weeks game you can question...work ethic and toughness.


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