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2018 #6 Most Valuable Brewer: Jesús Aguilar

From fringe-roster spot, to first-half MVP

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the 2018 season, the debate among Milwaukee Brewers fans was regarding how long Jesús Aguilar would survive on the roster. He looked like the clear number two behind Eric Thames and his lack of positional flexibility made his utility minimal.

The season moved on and Aguilar could only find his way into the lineup when replacing Thames on a day off or by covering third base on odd days. Then Thames was injured and Aguilar took over first base and wouldn’t let go.

In the first half, Aguilar hit .298/.373/.621 with 24 homers for a wRC+ of 160. That was good enough to propel him into the All-Star Game thanks to the Final Vote and include him in many early MVP talks.

Aguilar fell off in the second half, slumping to a .245/.324/.436 line with 11 homers. Most of that dip in performance seemed to be Aguilar declining to the mean, as his contact rates still remained fairly consistent but his BABIP dropped by nearly 50 points. If he had continued his first-half pace, he would have been an easy MVP finalist alongside Christian Yelich.

While Aguilar had a tail of two halves, he still had a very productive season. He hit 35 homers, an .891 OPS, and 134 wRC+. What’s more, he looks is certainly the starter at first in 2019 barring any unforeseen circumstances. Even better for Brewers fans, he’s controlled up to 2023 and he’s a guy who’s easy to rally around and support.