The Brewers probably didn't envision Eric Sogard becoming a key piece of their offense when they signed him to a minor-league deal last winter, but he earned himself a regular role at second base and atop the order from mid-May onward, primarily due to the on-base skills that led him to finish with a career-best .393 OBP. That landed him a one-year deal -- of the major-league variety -- to return to Milwaukee in 2018. Sogard barely makes an impact in the homers and steals categories, so his overall profile won't help fantasy owners much. However, if he keeps getting on base like he did a year ago, he could continue finding himself hitting leadoff often for a Brewers team that lacks options for the spot.
Sogard is 5-for-14 (.357) with eight RBI and a 4:3 BB:K in seven spring games. Following 2016 knee surgery, Sogard was limited in last season's spring training. Now back to full health, Sogard is shining during this exhibition season. It still remains to be seen how the competition for at-bats at second base between Sogard, Jonathan Villar, and Hernan Perez will work itself, but it's looking likely the Brewers will go with some sort of timeshare at second base to begin the year.
Sogard agreed to a one year contract with the Brewers on Thursday. Sogard will be back with the Brewers for another season after his bounce-back 2017 campaign. After missing all of 2016 with a knee injury, the utility infielder compiled a respectable .273/.393/.378 line in 94 games while helping Milwaukee push for a playoff spot. He could fight for a spot in the starting nine, though ideally he'll reprise his role as a utility man for the Brewers.
Sogard will play shortstop and hit leadoff in Monday's game against the Pirates. Sogard and Hernan Perez have shared leadoff duties of late in a platoon situation, so it will be Sogard getting the nod Monday against Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon. Sogard's reached base nine times over his last four games, raising his OBP to an impressive .391.
Sogard will bat leadoff and play second base Sunday against the Dodgers. Though Sogard is occupying a prime spot in the lineup, his struggles in the second half (.173 average over 52 at-bats) coupled with the difficult matchup against former All-Star Yu Darvish render him an unattractive option in daily contests. Expect Sogard to settle back into a bench role when the Brewers return home to kick off a two-game set Tuesday against the Cardinals, with Neil Walker likely to move back over to the keystone.
Sogard will draw the start at shortstop and lead off Wednesday against the Pirates. Orlando Arcia's back injury will open up a third consecutive start for Sogard, but he should be set to return to the bench before long with the Brewers not anticipating at this time that Arcia will require a trip to the disabled list. The Brewers' recent acquisition of Neil Walker closes the door on regular at-bats at second base for Sogard, which will relegate the 31-year-old to utility duties when the team is at full strength in the middle infield.