First base is Jesus Aguilar’s to lose

The Milwaukee Brewers were a team to watch in 2018 because of the moves they made in the off-season. So far the moves have been great and the results have the Brew Crew leading the Central Division in the NL. One player in particular is garnering a lot of attention lately. Jesus Aguilar is starting at first base and is making the most out of his opportunities, with Ryan Braun and Eric Thames injured. Aguilar already has six home runs with a .298 average in May and could be on his way to post career numbers. Let’s find out what kind of seasons he’s put up in the past.

Season Team G PA HR R RBI BB% K% AVG OBP
2014 CLE (AAA) 118 499 19 69 77 12.80% 19.20% .304 .395
2015 CLE (AAA) 131 570 19 57 93 8.20% 20.20% .267 .332
2016 CLE (AAA) 137 578 30 62 92 9.20% 19.00% .247 .319
2017 Brewers 133 311 16 40 52 8.00% 30.20% .265 .331
2018 Brewers 82 296 23 47 67 9.80% 26.40% .307 .375

This guy has a lot of power and he’s showcased it in the minor leagues. Last year was a breakout season for him as he posted 16 home runs with a respectable average. This year, the big thing is he has decreased his strikeout rate to 21.8%. Walk rate is a tad up and we’ll have to dive into the plate discipline numbers to see if there are any changes to this season.

Year o-swing z-swing swing% 0-contact z-contact contact% swstr%
2017 33.4 63.7 46.5 55.2 78.2 68.8 14.3
2018 36.8 60.0 46.7 63.1 88.1 76.9 10.8

So he’s chasing a little bit more off the plate but he is making more contact with those balls off the plate than last year. A big reason for his success this year could be that he is making more contact in the zone as it’s almost a 10% increase. He is also not striking out as much and that makes sense with his swinging strike percentage decreasing. Let’s see how he’s hitting the ball to draw some more conclusions.

Year GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB pull cent oppo soft med Hard
2017 1.08 21.3 41.0 37.8 22.5 38.8 44.7 16.5 15.4 39.4 45.2
2018 0.57 27.5 26.3 46.3 18.9 52.5 33.8 13.8 11.3 48.8 40.0

This is a beautiful batted ball profile for a power hitter with ground balls low and fly balls high. Aguilar is utilizing his power as he is pulling the ball 52.5% of the time with a 40% hard contact rate. What is also very good is that his soft contact rate is very low at 11.3%. Statcast also loves what he is doing as his xAVG is .327 and his xSLG is .632. His average launch angle increased from 11.8 degrees last year to 19.4 degrees and his average exit velocity it is also up from 89.0 MPH to 92.6 MPH.

Jesus Aguilar is performing well and the analytics back that up. It will be very interesting to see where Braun and Thames slot in the lineup if he keeps producing. Aguilar is currently playing in the three spot and it’s a fantastic spot to be in. He says he hasn’t changed his approach and maybe some of that is true. Last year was the first year he’s played more than 20 games in one season and maybe now he is starting to get more comfortable in the majors. For now he is playing a big role and is turning more heads each day.

Jordan Lyn

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Watching one hockey game after another until the night is over.