Veteran outfielder and DH Shin Soo-Choo has been on a quest to increase his versatility by learning a new position — first base. Based on the fact that the DH is looking a little less likely in the National League for 2021, that is a smart thing to do as it also increases the number of teams that might have interest in him.
Did someone say Shin Soo-Choo is becoming more versatile? Well not surprisingly, the Milwaukee Brewers are now one of those teams showing interest in the 38 year old.
Brewers among teams interested in Shin Soo-Choo. They’re looking at him at 1B. https://t.co/ze0OhH8How— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 6, 2021
Throughout Choo’s career he has been on on-base machine. A career OBP of .371 demonstrates that, and he hasn’t really fallen off in that department except in 2020 where he had a .323 OBP. As with many hitters, 2020 was less than stellar. It will not be a surprise to see Choo put up another .370 OBP season in 2021, and it looks like he might do it in Milwaukee, although it is a long way from interest to signing.
As recently as 2019, Choo slashed .265/.371/.455 in 660 plate appearances. He also hit 24 home runs in that season. Choo epitomizes the notion of “professional hitter.”
Choo, however, has never been a very good defender in the outfield. In his career he has a -68 DRS. With Choo working out at first base, teams see another way to get him in their lineups.
And that has been enough for David Stearns and Company to take a look. If the universal DH does become a reality in 2021 then Choo fits into that role very nicely as well.
Whether or not there is a DH in the National League in 2021, the addition of Choo gives the Brew Crew a quality hitter that can play three different positions (1B, RF, and LF). He becomes a viable platoon option for Keston Hiura at first base as well as Avisail Garcia in right field. Based on his career splits, Milwaukee might be looking at Choo to platoon. He has a career 138 wRC+ against right-handed pitching vs. a career 91 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
On the other hand, what might a move to Choo mean for players like Hiura, Garcia, and Daniel Vogelbach, who is also a left-handed hitter with big platoon splits that can only play first base and DH? Whatever the case, the signing of Choo gives the Brewers options as well as a fantastic hitter with tremendous bat-to-ball skills as well as OBP skills.
The acquisition of Kolten Wong and the possible acquisition of Choo demonstrate that David Stearns is looking to bring in more contact oriented players that can get on base at a high clip. Those could be ingredients to more runs scored, and the Brewers need to score as many runs as possible in 2021. If they can, they can very easily take the NL Central.