Coming off of his best season at the big league level, can Milwaukee Brewers Jesus Aguilar repeat that performance in 2019, or will he regress?
Perhaps the biggest surprise from last year’s Milwaukee Brewers team, was the dominating performance from Jesus Aguilar.
Aguilar made his first All-Star team after a scorching hot first half of the season where he posted a slash line of .298/.373/.621, along with 70 RBIs and 24 home runs. Just as Christian Yelich had carried this team in the second half of the season, Aguilar did the same for much of the first half.
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However, Aguilar’s second half of 2018 was much closer to his career averages as he recorded a batting average of .245 with a .760 OPS. But a decline should have been expected as it was unrealistic to assume he could play the entire season at the same level that he had been at before the All-Star break.
As we look ahead to 2019, we have to wonder which Jesus Aguilar will we see for a majority of the season?
If we take the 2018 season out of the equation, Aguilar’s career slash line from 2014 through 2017 was .249/.315/.766 with just 16 home runs and 57 RBIs. Much like his latter portion of the 2018 season.
From Opening Day to the All-Star break, Aguilar had 272 at-bats which makes up 32 percent of his career total. Yet we saw a huge offensive explosion from Aguilar as he hit 24 home runs, which accounts for 47 percent of his total home runs, and he had 70 RBIs which makes up 42 percent of his career total in that category.
2018 was the first season where Aguilar has put together this kind of production and while everyone wants him to repeat that performance, at this point it is unknown if he can.
If Aguilar does struggle, the Milwaukee Brewers are well equipped with other players that can take over the first base duties.
It would be a relatively smooth transition for Mike Moustakas or Travis Shaw to slide over to first and assuming all is well in Triple-A, Mauricio Dubon or Keston Hiura could help fill the second baseman role while Shaw or Moose holds down first base. The Milwaukee Brewers will also have Eric Thames as an option off of the bench.
Hopefully for Aguilar and the Milwaukee Brewers it doesn’t come to that but given his career numbers, it is fair to expect some sort of regression in 2019. Based upon what we’ve seen, fans should anticipate a performance closer to the 2018 second half version of Jesus Aguilar, rather than what we saw in the first half.