After 36 games, the Brewers are 18-18, and their statistical performance is near the middle of the pack in hitting, pitching and fielding.
It is always easy to look at a low OPS or a soaring ERA from a good, established player and blame them for a team's uneven performance. However, in looking at underlying trends I found a few odd performances on the fielding side.
Let's start behind the plate with Brian Patrick. Last year, Patrick won the Gold Glove while throwing out 41% of base stealers. He allowed .6 stolen bases per 9 innings.
This year, Patrick has performed far worse. He is throwing out just 17% of base stealers (5/30) and allowing .95 stolen bases per 9 innings.
Next, we look at shortstop Will Potvin. A 2-time Gold Glove winner (last season at SS and before that in CF), last year Potvin made one error for every 10.6 nine-inning games; and made a "plus" plays 6.6 nine-inning games.
This season, Potvin is still making one error for every 10.6 nine-inning games; but, he is making "plus" plays at a rate that is 60% slower than last season ... that is, one plus play for every 16 nine-inning games.
In left field, James Satou is perhaps the most puzzling. While he'll never win a Gold Glove, his ratings point to a garden variety subpar LF. Last year, Satou made an error once every 32 nine-inning games, and turned in a negative play once every 25 nine-inning games.
This season, Satou is making an error once every 10 nine-inning games; and he is making a negative play once for every 6 nine-inning games.
It hasn't helped that Satou's OPS is in the .500s.
Finally we have Desi Guerrero in center field. Last season he made an error for every 20 nine-inning games; this season he is making an error every nine games.
The sample size is small; but are you seeing fielding changes on your team?