David Stearns is staying busy this winter as he continues to reconstruct the Milwaukee Brewers roster. Late Thursday night, the Brewers sent 1B/3B Jason Rogers (0.7 WAR in ’15) to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for CF Keon Broxton and RHP Trey Supak.
To some, this move may come as somewhat of a shocker. The Brewers, now without Adam Lind, are in need of a first baseman, and Rogers was one of the few in-house options to take over that position. That is now no longer an option, which makes me think that another move could be in the works.
Milwaukee has also coveted a center fielder this offseason. Domingo Santana is more suited for a corner outfield position, and neither Ryan Braun or Khris Davis have the defensive skills to play there. Hence trading for Keon Broxton, a player who could make an impact in 2016.
Broxton, an above-average defender who can play all three outfield spots, has the speed to perform well in center while also not being a chum at the plate. In 367 Triple-A plate appearances last season, the 25 year old boasted a .352 on-base percentage and a 126 wRC+. He has some raw power which could translate into him being a doubles machine in the big leagues. He’ll need to work on his pitch selection and plate discipline, however. He struck nearly 30% of the time. Broxton is also a beast on the base paths, snagging 28 stolen bases on 37 attempts.
He’ll most likely provide more value on the defensive side, but nonetheless, Stearns said Broxton has a shot at making the Opening Day roster.
As for Trey Supak, he’s another unknown teenage arm that Stearns seems to be so fond of. Supak is the fourth teenage pitcher the Brewers have acquired this offseason. Supak, 19, has spent two seasons in Rookie Ball and hasn’t exactly impressed so far. He hasn’t shown much strikeout potential, but his command did drastically improve from 2014. Supak has an above-average curveball with a fastball that can reach 94 mph. Former FanGraphs prospect writer Kiley McDaniel ranked Supak as Pittsburgh’s 15th-best prospect entering the 2015 season.
Unlike Broxton, it’ll be years before Supak makes an impact on the major-league team, if ever. But Stearns continues to stockpile young pitching, and like I’ve said before, a team can never have enough pitching depth.
Jason Rogers will have a chance to start at first for the Pirates, who were also in need of a first baseman after non-tendering Pedro Alvarez. Rogers was very good for the Brewers in 2015. His wOBA (.354) and wRC+ (121) were superb for his first real shot at big-league action. But before Pirates’ fans get too excited, he was very much helped by a .360 BABIP, including a .328 BABIP on ground balls. I’ll be very surprised if Rogers can repeat what he accomplished with Milwaukee.
Getting two young players in return for Rogers is an excellent move from a Brewers standpoint. They may have found their 2016 center fielder, and it cost them very little.