Fixing the OBP Problem
Top 5 Brewers by OBP:
1. Prince Fielder - .374
2. Joe Dillon - .354
3. Mike Rivera - .352
4. Gabe Kapler - .344
5. JJ Hardy - .340
With Platoon Splits:
Russell Branyan against RHP - .366
(Ray Durham is also around .370 against RHP, however the splits function on Baseball-Reference is down for some reason, and the MLB.com splits site only shows splits broken down by his time with the Giants and his time with the Brewers, and I’m too lazy to average it out.)
The Brewers’ best options for increasing OBP are either in the minors, or a backup center fielder, or a backup catcher, or the apparently exiled King of the Three True Outcomes. Even Prince’s high OBP is largely squandered when he hits behind, and not in front of the high slugging, low OBP Ryan Braun.
If you wonder why the Brewers sometimes go for long stretches in which they look like they could not possibly score any runs, this is it. They are more reliant on solo shots (and the occasional 2-run bomb) than any team I have ever seen.
Normally when pundits say that a team “relies too much on the long ball” they are talking mumbo-jumbo small-ball garbage. In this case, however, that statement is largely accurate. Home runs are awesome, but it really helps if someone is standing on base when you hit them.