Below are the league-average (NL) "slash" splits by position, as compared to the "slash" splits of the Brewer who plays that position:
|First baseman||.274||.358||.465||.824||Prince Fielder||.267||.400||.499||.899|
|Second baseman||.266||.333||.392||.725||Rickie Weeks||.274||.372||.486||.858|
|Third baseman||.268||.337||.427||.765||Casey McGehee||.272||.337||.446||.783|
|Left fielder||.266||.335||.435||.769||Ryan Braun||.281||.334||.463||.797|
|Center fielder||.261||.330||.410||.740||Carlos Gomez||.228||.286||.350||.635|
|Right fielder||.265||.335||.449||.784||Corey Hart||.294||.350||.568||.917|
Note a couple of things, if you would:
(1) Corey Hart's having a banner year, for sure, but the league-average SLG and OPS numbers for right field are the second-highest on this list behind first base. Point is: a slugging right fielder isn't exactly a rare commodity.
(2) Conversely, a slugging second baseman -- who's also outpacing the league-average OBP for his position by forty points -- is a rare commodity. Part of the reason I don't like the extension for Hart is that it makes it that much more difficult to sign Weeks to an extension, and second basemen with 25-homer, .370-OBP potential don't exactly grow on trees.
(3) The Big Point: At every position save for C, SS, and CF, the Brewers are outstripping the league-average OPS for the respective position -- and, in some cases (1B, even with Prince's depressed slugging numbers; 2B, with Rickie's brea ... nope, not going to say it; and RF, with Corey Hart's career year), they're far ahead of the league-average OPS.*
*As my boy KL pointed out, the better-than-league-average OPS numbers are due, in large part, to the higher slugging numbers for Brewers like Braun, Hart, and McGehee. The numbers don't look as good when you compare average OBP by position to the individual Brewers' OBPs (Braun and McGehee are right at league average, Gomez and Esky and Jon Lucroy are well below league average, and Hart's just a shade above league average), but that's not the point of the post.
And yet, and still, we're 10 games under .500 this year, a year after it took a great year from Braun, very good years from McGehee and Weeks/Counsell/Felipe Lopez, and a sublime campaign from Prince to finish two games under .500. This team, as currently constructed, will not contend.
We need pitching, and we need it desperately. It's not coming from the free agent market -- in part because that market is going to be shit after the 2010 season, and in part because Doug Melvin can't identify solid free agent pitchers -- and the farm system isn't producing anyone in the near future. And we just took our biggest in-season trade chit, who was at peak value and who could be easily replaced (either from in-house or by a veteran on a short-term deal) ... and signed him to a three-year extension.
This isn't how you build a winning baseball team.