Brewers Get Another Mediocre Shortstop

I really want to like Josh Wilson. I was even excited at first. The Brewers claimed him this afternoon on waivers from the Diamondbacks, as part of their initiative to acquire former laughingstock shortstops who have played for the Mariners. But he's really not going to mean much for this team going forward.

What I'd like Wilson to be is something he's not. I'd like him to be the opposite of a Betancourt-type hitter, who just hacks. I'd like him to be able to be patient and put up a decent OBP. And I'd like him to be a good defensive shortstop, and not just an option as a backup, but a guy who could take some playing time at short-- because, as we've shown, an above-average defender at short could be a big-time upgrade for this team. A Nick Punto type.

Unfortunately, facts are getting in the way of the vision of Josh Wilson I wanted to have. He's a really bad hitter. His career line is .227/.280/.315. His ZiPS projection is a bit nicer, at .250/.298/.360, but I he hasn't put up that good of a line in any season over 930 major league plate appearances so far. His career line is better than Yuni's so far this year, but I'd still expect Yuni to be a better hitter the rest of the way, as sad as that may be to hear.

Wilson's reputation as a defender seems to be much better than his actual performance so far, as well. I think it's the thing where people assume that if you're a bad hitter and a middle infielder, you're a good defender. Wilson's career UZR/150 at short is -6, better than Yuni's -8 (though Yuni was actually a good defender early in his career, he's significantly worse, probably -12, now). There's not enough data to get an extremely clear read on Wilson, but it seems safe to assume he's slightly below average at short and slightly better than that at second and third. Don't get me wrong, he's better than Yuni. But so is just about every major leaguer who has ever been a starting shortstop for more than a season.

For the rest of the season, playing Wilson everyday and playing Betancourt every day would most likely produce similar results, and I might favor Wilson. That says a lot more about how bad Betancourt is than how good Wilson is. He's a solid pickup, and I don't want Counsell to be the only backup for second, third, and short. But Counsell's still probably the best option if he's capable of playing more than he has. And this looks like a late opportunity to correct for the fact that they should have acquired another shortstop in the offseason.

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