The top of the order has been performing quite well to start the season and it’s hard to find any fault in it at all. I have noticed one slight issue though and it’s coming from the 2-hole. Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura have somewhat similar offensive profiles in that they’re both elite base stealers and they both make a good amount of contact. The problem is they’re both super aggressive. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, batting them back-to-back could have unintended consequences.
Last year Jean Segura saw the second fewest pitches per plate appearance (3.64) among Brewers’ hitters. So far this year he's last (3.34) in this respect. Of the pitches he sees, he swings at about 48% of them. He makes contact with about 85% of the pitches he swings at. I’m not saying he should change his approach or anything. It’s just the type of player he is and he’s effective with it. The problem is that it gives Gomez fewer chances to steal.
There’s another problem. Gomez and Segura both stole 40+ bases last year. That speed is being wasted in front of sluggers like Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez. They don’t need help to drive in runs.
This isn't me doing another article advocating for the ideal sabermetric lineup. That’s clearly never going to happen with the current decision makers in place. That’s okay though, there is hope for some improvement. Before the season started Ron Roenicke was toying with idea of hitting Jonathan Lucroy in the 2-hole. He has one of the higher on-base percentages on the team so it’s logical in that sense. It would also be beneficial to have some of that elite speed towards the back of the lineup where some of the hitters may need the help driving in runners.
Lucroy's patience also makes him an ideal option to hit behind Gomez. Last year Lucroy took 4.02 pitches per plate appearance. That was the highest among Brewers’ regulars. He’s doing it again this year. Unfortunately Roenicke (right or wrong) seems to like the idea of a consistent line-up, and putting the catcher so high up might not be something he’s willing to do. I also have to wonder if Roenicke is falling prey to all that RISP talk about Lucroy from last year. That's probably a whole other article by itself.
I’ll admit, this is one of those "good" problems to have. Gomez and Segura are solid offensive threats so it’s not like having them hit 1 and 2 is going to hurt the Brewers chances to win all that much if at all. It probably will impact Gomez’s stolen base totals though. Gomez is still crazy fast and just as aggressive on the base paths as he is at the plate so he's still going to get his steals in. If you’re stealing 35 bases instead of 40 you’re still doing pretty well for yourself.