The Milwaukee Brewers have been on a absolute tear, considering their expectations heading into the season, and have found themselves in the better half of power rankings. A huge reason has been break out seasons by slugging first baseman/outfielder Eric Thames and third baseman Travis Shaw. From this year to last though, there is one constant: position-less Hernan Perez.
Over his two seasons with the Brewers, there really aren’t many positions he hasn’t played. All over the outfield, first base and third base. There have been many cases of players throughout the years of players not wanting to switch positions or try to learn new positions (see Rickie Weeks). Perez, however, has broken the mold and answered the call at every turn for the organization.
Despite all the changes, his ability at the plate hasn’t regressed or diminished. Last season was a solid year as he slashed a line of .272/.302/.428 while hitting 13 home runs and shifting throughout the infield from night to night.
This season, they have shuffled him to even more positions. This was never more evident than his game Sunday, when he played right field, left field and third base all within nine innings.
Once again, these changes have not affected his play. In fact, he has actually improved early on in the season with a slash line of .286/.339/.543 and has already sent five pitches over the fence.
Last year, the headlines were dominated by the breakout of Jonathan Villar and the resurgence of Ryan Braun, but the slow and steady rise of Perez has gone almost completely unnoticed. Players like Perez that have turned this franchise back into (omg is he going to say it, does he dare say it?) a contender once more.
Players like Villar will have their ups and downs, players like Braun do not come around very often. Perez, and players like him, continue to chug along and do not suffer the ups and downs, but also are not world beaters and perennial All-Stars.
Perez is not the best first baseman or third baseman or right fielder or left fielder. But he is the best first/third/right/left baseman-fielder that is currently playing baseball, and not many teams can say they have that.