Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Pirates

Brewers find their center fielder, trade Jason Rogers

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.

 

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Who are the Brewers getting in Yhonathan Barrios?

And the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild has begun.

On Thursday, the Brewers sent third baseman Aramis Ramirez to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Yhonathan Barrios. The Pirates are also taking on $3 million of Ramirez’s remaining $5.74 million contract.

Trading Ramirez was basically a given for Milwaukee. They needed to shed some money off his large contract, and since he’s retiring at the end of the season, there was no reason to keep him in a Brewers’ uniform. The Pirates, who were in desperate need of a third baseman with injuries to Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer, was an ideal fit for both Pittsburgh and Ramirez. Ramirez gets to go back to the team he began his career with and has a legitimate chance of making the postseason. Good for him.

But who are the Brewers getting in Yhonathan Barrios?

Barrios is a 23-year-old reliever who stands at an undersized 5’11”. He originally started out as an infielder out of Colombia, but since his bat never found its groove, the Pirates shifted him to the bullpen. The results have been a little better, but nothing too noteworthy.

The (minimal) excitement that surrounds Barrios is his action fastball. It sits in the 94-98 mph range and can hit 100 mph. He also throws a changeup to offset his power pitch, with a slider mixed in there as well.

Barrios’ stats (1.46 ERA and 3.89 FIP) in Double-A were good enough to earn him a promotion to Triple-A this season, but he was helped tremendously by a low batting average on balls in play of only .211. His luck has changed since the promotion, and as a result, so has his numbers. In 15.2 innings out of the Triple-A bullpen, Barrios has a 4.50 ERA with 3.56 FIP. His ERA got worse but his FIP, which tells a better story than ERA, improved. That’s due to a small uptick in strikeouts and the fact he hasn’t given up a home run yet.

When Barrios started out in Pittsburgh’s minor league system, he threw like a strikeout pitcher. In 2013, he struck out 23.8% of batters in 11 innings in Rookie Ball before moving to A ball a season later. He was just as effective at getting the K there (20.7 K%). But once Barrios was promoted to High-A, the strikeouts suddenly dropped, and they have yet to re-emerge in Double-A or Triple-A. Combining his numbers from AA and AAA, Barrios has set down just 12.3% of batters via the strike out. Walks are also a huge problem for the young righty. His walk rate was over 11% in Triple-A before the Brewers made the trade.

Barrios is a guy who doesn’s strike out batters and walks too many of them. Why would the Brewers want someone like him? It’s simple, really. Barrios is the type of player a team gets in return when it ships off an old hitter with just two more months left of his career. He didn’t make any notable top prospect lists and barely squeezed in on FanGraphs’ top 31 Pirates’ prospect list. Not many think that highly of him.

If anything, Barrios is a lottery ticket. And because he’s a lottery ticket, Brewers’ fans should be excited. Buying lottery tickets is fun! With his fastball speed and movement, he has upside as a future reliever/closer. But if you’re expecting him to transform into a starter, well, that’s just not going to happen.