The Other Bench Contributor in Milwaukee

It’s probably safe to say Joe Inglett will never be a starter for any prolonged time. The 32 year old recently filled in for Corey Hart during his absence, topping the 100 plate appearances mark during any given season for only the third time in his career – he fell one plate appearance shy of the mark last season while showing up in 36 games for the Blue Jays. If that factoid has you unconvinced, how about that Inglett was claimed off waivers twice within a six-week span during the winter?

Toronto waived him in early December, ending a relationship that lasted a little over two years. The Rangers claimed him and then weeks later bid him adieu as the Brewers scooped him up. Inglett has performed mostly well throughout his career when given playing time. This season he has a .349 wOBA with a .364 on-base percentage representative of his first foray into National League baseball.

Part of that OBP is an increase in walks that coincides with a decrease in swings. Inglett is swinging at a career low 42% of the pitches he sees. If one were to divide his career swing rates by the league average during any given season, here is what their product would be (Note: Only seasons with 100+ PA and 2009 are included):

2006: 0.93
2008: 0.95
2009: 1.07
2010: 0.92

Labeling Inglett as a part-time player is being kind, so his numbers carry with them a strong sense of mendacity. Inglett’s teammates, Rickie Weeks, may finish with more than 600 plate appearances this season. If he does, he would be a mere 120 away from matching Inglett’s career total. That statement is not meant to downgrade Inglett’s production – his career wOBA is over .330 – it’s just to show that the sample size for him is smaller than most 32 year olds with stints reaching over five seasons in the majors.

Although they have played better since, the Brewers’ nine game losing streak in May all but sunk their season. Doug Melvin may draw some ire and questions concerning his team’s rotation and re-signing of Corey Hart, but one thing he has done particularly well is finding worthwhile contributors at bit prices. Dating back to Gabe Kapler in 2008 and extending to this season with fellows like Jim Edmonds and, yes, Joe Inglett.

Now, if he could just work similar magic on his free agent pitching signings, Milwaukee could be in this thing come next August.

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Phillips Ford Brewer
13 years ago

It’s really hard to tell if players like Kapler and Edmonds were deliberate bargains or good luck based on the cash-strapped manoeuvres of our team. I will give him credit for going after players that have, in the past, played at a high level, because I think the odds are there that they could at least marginally reproduce that production in a backup role. But it doesn’t always work (Catalanotto, Gagne).

And keep in mind, he wouldn’t be making those kinds of signings if he wasn’t making such terribly bad pitching signings on the other end.