Milwaukee Brewers: How New Additions Fit into the Infield

How will recently acquired 1B Eric Thames and 3B Travis Shaw change the look of the Brewers’ infield?

In the past two weeks, the extremely active David Stearns has made two additions to the Brewers’ starting infield. Eric Thames, a power-hitting Korean sensation, will slot in at first base to replace Chris Carter. Travis Shaw will spend his innings at the hot corner. Trading for Shaw allows Milwaukee to slide Jonathan Villar over to his more natural position of second base. This figures to leave Scooter Gennett battling for his playing time.

To describe the current state of the Brewers’ infield two words come to mind – talented and unproven.

While no one doubts the potential of Orlando Arcia, Shaw, or Thames, none of these players have proven that they deserve starting positions in the Majors. Even Villar hasn’t necessarily proven that he is a starting-caliber MLB player yet, as his breakout 2016 season hasn’t been backed up yet.

To describe the current state of the Brewers’ infield two words come to mind – talented and unproven.

With that being said, I, for one, am confident that all of these players will produce like they are capable of in 2017 and that the Brewers’ infield will be arguably its strongest unit.

What makes Milwaukee’s 2017 infield better than its 2016 infield?

At the tail end of the 2016 season, the infield consisted of Chris Carter, Gennett, Arcia, and Villar from right to left. Defensively, this unit was extremely weak. While Arcia is a fantastic defender, both Carter and Villar struggled defensively at the corners. Gennett played subpar defense at second base as well. On offense, this unit was solid but nothing that could be called special. Carter hit a lot of home runs and Villar stole a lot of bases, but Arcia and Gennett didn’t produce as well as they could have.

To start the 2017 season, the infield will look like this – Thames, Villar, Arcia, and Shaw from right to left. All of these players are above-average defenders at their positions; Villar is a much more natural second baseman than third baseman. On top of that, Arcia is regarded by many as a potential Gold-Glover at shortstop.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Offensively this group could really shine. Thames is coming off a three-year stint in Korea in which he hit .348 alongside 124 home runs. Villar broke out in a big way last season to the tune of a .285 batting average plus a league-leading 62 stolen bases. Arcia is just 22 years old and found his bat at the end of last season. Shaw is a bit of a question mark but has hit .251 with 29 home runs in parts of two seasons. What makes the additions of Thames and Shaw so crucial to the Milwaukee Brewers’ offensive success next season though is the fact that they are both left-handed. In 2016, the Brewers’ lineup consisted of predominantly righties. Adding two lefties to the mix in 2017 will make a big impact.

Overall, all four positions are strengthened from last season heading into the next.

To read more about the Brewers’ outfield unit for 2017, look here:

This article originally appeared on