Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Coming in at #4 in the player-by-player look at 2012 is Corey Hart. His bat helped keep the offense going, but the real value that Hart provided may have come from an in-season position switch.
MVBrewers is a player-by-player look at the most valuable members of the 2012 Brewers, as voted on by you. Here's where we stand so far:
1. Ryan Braun
2. Aramis Ramirez
3. Yovani Gallardo
4. Corey Hart
The voting for the #5 spot will open at 3 pm today.
If I had to describe Corey Hart's season in a few words, it would be this: team player. Corey Hart wasn't the offensive star of the team. His numbers were great but not the best. He wasn't voted as an All-Star. He probably won't be in the MVP voting. However, looking back on the season, the Brewers would not have had the season they did had Corey Hart not been willing to do whatever it took to give the Brewers the best chance to win.
It wasn't Hart's best offensive year, but he gave the Brewers some needed offensive firepower in 2012. Despite the foot injury he had at the end of the season, Hart appeared in 149 games, the most he has appeared in since 2008. He put up his second career 30 HR season, and fell just one short of his personal best of 31 HR. He also put up numbers in line with his career averages in RBI (83), runs (91), doubles (35), and batting line (.270/.334/.507/.841). The one glaring note in this is his strikeout total of 151, a personal worst for him.
Where Corey Hart's real value in 2012 came from was his position switch. After Mat Gamel was lost for the season due to his ACL injury, the Brewers needed someone to man first base. Despite only getting a few innings there in spring training, Hart moved over there and provided a solid fielding presence at first. He ended up starting 97 games (103 appearances) at first. UZR is not kind to Hart here (giving him a -7.2 UZR/150), but he still played the position well considering what little time he had to prepare. In addition, the switch gave the Brewers some flexibility to get Norichika Aoki in the lineup as much as possible, which further helped their great year on offense.
There's a few different games you can argue for Corey Hart and his best game. He had three multi-HR games, two four-hit games, and a few walk-off hits. In this game, he put some of those together.
On May 11 against the Cubs, Corey Hart had one of the best games of his life. He had four hits on the day, and the last three were critical for the Brewers. His second hit came in the seventh inning and allowed the Brewers to keep a rally going that would eventually give them the lead. The third hit came in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Brewers were trailing 7-5 after a blown save, but his two-run home run tied the game at 7-7 and forced extra innings. Then, his fourth hit came in the bottom of the thirteenth inning, when he hit a walk-off single to give the Brewers an 8-7 win. On the day, Hart was 4-for-7 with a double, a home run, two runs scored, and three RBI.
Here are videos of his game-tying home run and his walk-off single:
Corey Hart is entering the final year of a three-year, $26.5 million extension he signed in 2010. He will earn $10 million in 2013 and is set to be a free agent after the 2013 season, unless the Brewers decide to work out an extension with him before then.