Tag: Isan Diaz

A Fork In The Road: Should the Milwaukee Brewers Buy at the Trade Deadline?

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Is the brewers rebuild coming to an end? or should david stearns stay the course?

The Milwaukee Brewers trade deadline activity might be heating up, especially after they have defied the odds all season and have a 5.5 game lead in the division. Even the most optimistic fans did not see the division as winnable after expectations were low to start the season. Many others, myself included, figured there were too many unknowns with this club for it to come together this early. Yet here we are at the All-Star break and the Brewers are 50-41 and leading a surprisingly mediocre NL Central.

Many fans are thinking playoffs and are right to think so. The Brewers offense has shown an incredible amount of power despite Ryan Braun appearing in less than half of the 91 games played. Pitching has held up thanks to big first half performances by Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson, and Corey Knebel.

The trade deadline is merely weeks away and some big names are available. Both the Oakland A’s Sonny Gray and Chicago White Sox Jose Quintana had been named as potential targets of the Brewers. Quintana is now off the board after the Chicago Cubs traded their top two prospects plus others for his services. Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers is also rumored to be on the trade block. The Brewers may be tempted to make a splash with a rare opportunity to make the playoffs looming. Should they though? We’ll take a look at the arguments for and against buying at the deadline.

Milwaukee Brewers trade deadline and buying in

The Brewers have a 5.5 game lead in the division with 71 games to play. If they hold a similar lead by the end of July, the division will be theirs for the taking. One big reason to buy at the deadline is that playoff appearances are unfortunately rare in Milwaukee. Aside from 2008 and 2011, one must go back to the 1982 squad to find a playoff team. The Brewers have one of the highest rated farms in baseball, but there is no guarantee that the prospects will pan out as expected. Why wait around for something that may not happen?

General Manger David Stearns does not care about history though, his focus is on the future. Sonny Gray could be a smart pickup as he is under 30 and has two seasons of affordable team control remaining. This would not be a half season rental like C.C. Sabathia back in 2008. Gray would immediately be, at worst, the number 2 starter in the rotation.

The Brewers farm system is loaded with talent with a surplus in the outfield. Stearns could flip a couple prospects and not damage the overall health of the franchise. While they would still be underdogs in the NLDS, a playoff rotation of Gray, Nelson, and Anderson could at least keep the Crew competitive. If Stearns feels like the roster is built to compete within the next several seasons then adding a starting pitcher could be the final piece needed.

The Case For Standing Pat

David Stearns has repeatedly said that his goal is to build a long term winner in Milwaukee. Selling off prospects for a pitcher now could help this year, but could also hurt the Brewers down the road. The Brewers have done a remarkable job over the last two years flipping veterans for prospects. The team could very well sell off some prospects, getting burned in the process when a player they acquire does not live up to expectations.

In fact the Brewers are already benefiting from the trades they’ve made as Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana, and Corey Knebel are big contributors now. The sheer amount of talent in the Brewers farm could have them set up to be a playoff caliber squad for a decade. Given Milwaukee’s rather non-competitive history I think most fans would welcome a sustained period of success.

In the end it’s about trying to bring a championship to Milwaukee and two seasons of Gray is unlikely to push the Brewers over the likes of the Dodgers, Astros, or Nationals. The Brewers have shown that they will go all in to acquire a front line starter; Sabathia in 2008 and Zack Greinke in 2011. Stearns may not feel that 2017 is the time for the big push, especially if either the Cubs or Cardinals close the divisional gap by the deadline.

My Opinion

The idea of acquiring Gray is tantalizing for sure. Winning the division title over the heavily favored Cubs would be sweet considering the meager expectations heading into the season. However I would not expect the Brewers to pull the trigger on a large scale deal this season. They might make another low risk trade similar to the one made for reliever Tyler Webb, but not much else.

The reality is that the Cubs gave up two of their top prospects to get Quintana. The A’s will want a similar deal for Gray which might require the Brewers to trade two of Lewis Brinson, Josh Hader, or Isan Diaz. Given the potential of those players I expect Stearns will pull out of any trade talks. There will come a time when the Brewers add a top line starter for a World Series push but it is unlikely to be this season.


Brewers Young Trade Acquisitions Playing Well in Minors

Young trio of prospects on the rise

By: Mark Prott

Look no further than the current roster of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Milwaukee Brewers Class A Minor League affiliate, to notice there has been a recent infusion of talent in the lower levels of the Brewers farm system. In fact, a whopping 8 Timber Rattlers were selected to play in the recent 2016 Midwest League All-Star Game.

3 of those 8 all-stars, including starting pitchers Marcos Diplan, Freddy Peralta, and shortstop Isan Diaz, all share a unique bond. They were all acquired by the Brewers via trades to rebuild the farm system within the past 2 years. And they all have one other important quality on their side: youth, as Diaz and Peralta just turned 20 years old, while Diplan is still only a teenager at 19.

Let’s start with the pitchers first. Seems like a long time ago now, but Marcos Diplan was acquired by the Brewers as one of the main pieces in the Yovanni Gallardo trade to the Texas Rangers. Originally signed by the Rangers as a top international pitching talent out of the Dominican Republic, Diplan received 1.3 million to sign in 2013. Headlined by a great fastball that reaches 94 mph and a plus slider, it is strange to see Diplan rated so low at #19 on the Brewers top prospects list coming into the season.

It’s not like he hasn’t produced on the mound either. Coming off a solid year for the rookie Helena Brewers, Diplan has taken his pitching game to new heights this year with a spectacular start to the season with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. His numbers this year: 70 IP  1.80 ERA 89K 1.16 WHIP and hitters are batting only .191 off him. Maybe his size 6-0 160 scares some scouts but to me, the kid is only 19 and will likely fill out and maybe in the process even add a tick or two on the radar gun to his already impressive arsenal.

The next recent trade acquisition to examine is pitcher Freddy Peralta, one of 3 young pitchers obtained in the Adam Lind deal with the Seattle Mariners in December 2015. In many ways the Dominican Republic native seems eerily similar to Diplan, due in part to a fastball that reaches low 90s, a smaller frame 5-11 175 and his propensity for missing bats while on the mound as he already has 77Ks in only 60 IP to go along with a 2.85 ERA. Although he’s rated slightly lower than Diplan on MLB prospect lists and in performance, he is an exciting piece to keep an eye on in the future as he develops.

Now for the shortstop, Isan Diaz, acquired in the Jean Segura deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this year. Wait, but top prospect Orlando Arcia and current breakout Brewer Jonathan Villar are already playing that position. Doesn’t matter. This kid has shown he can rake and the Brewers will find a spot for him down the line if he stays on track. A 2nd round pick in 2014, the Puerto Rico native busted onto the prospect scene in 2015 winning MVP honors in the Rookie Pioneer league by batting .360 to go along with 13 HR 51RBI and a whopping 1.076 OPS. Known for his quick bat speed and easy pure swing, the left handed hitter has shown great power to all fields in the minors despite his lack of size at 5-10 185. After a slow start, Diaz has been on a complete tear as of late and is currently tied for the Class A Midwest League lead with 11 homeruns. Check out that sweet easy power on this beautiful swing.

As I take a closer look at all 3 of these young talented prospects, it makes me all the more convinced that the Milwaukee Brewers rebuild is currently on the right track. It’s impossible to predict if all 3 will become contributors to the major league club but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. In all 3 of these trades the Brewers top decision makers, Doug Melvin with Diplan and current GM David Stearns with Peralta and Diaz, were not afraid to trade for the player they viewed as the highest upside piece on the table.

It’s not easy to pull a trigger on a player who could be at least 3 years away while feeling pressure to win now and stay competitive. So, I give them credit for doing the right thing and trying to accumulate as much talent as possible in all levels of the farm system. That folks is how you build a sustained winner. So hold on Brewer fans, it may be painful to watch the big league club at times, but keep an eye on the future, even right in our backyard because we are in store for a fun rebuild to follow

Update: Freddy Peralta and Marcos Diplan have been promoted to the Brevard County Manatees, the Brewers High-A class affiliate. Congratulations and good luck to Freddy and Marcos!