The Brewers made some noise on Saturday amid a relatively quiet offseason for the club by sending Keon Broxton to the New York Mets in exchange for three players. While Broxton appeared to have a breakout year in 2016 when he posted a slash line of .242/.354/.430, he has consistently been plagued by strikeout rates that exceed 30%, leading to underwhelming results in 2017 and 2018. Given the Brewers current outfield depth and Broxton’s lack of remaining minor-league options, he made sense as a trade candidate.
The Brewers received three players in return for Broxton: Bobby Wahl, Adam Hill, and Felix Valerio. Let’s take a look at which each could offer in the future to the Crew.
Bobby Wahl, RHP
Wahl fits the profile of a prototypical power-reliever. He has a fastball that reaches into the upper-90 mph range, paired with a power slider that can generate whiffs. He is a strikeout artist, as he recorded 14.4 K/9 in the minor leagues last year to accompany a 2.20 ERA.
He has some brief major-league experience, throwing 13 innings over the last two seasons with little success. In these appearances, he has a combined 6.92 ERA and a 1.92 WHIP. The one area Wahl struggles with most is his control, and to be effective at the major-league level he will need to reign it in. He also has an injury history, as he missed extensive amounts of time in 2015 and 2017 with a nerve injury in his elbow and thoracic outlet syndrome, respectively.
Wahl will compete for a bullpen spot on the opening day roster, and we are certain to see him in Milwaukee during 2019 barring injury. If he improves his control, he could turn into a high leverage arm.
Adam Hill, RHP
The Mets selected Hill with their fourth-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. While he pitched mostly out of relief in his first taste of professional baseball after signing, he is a starting pitching prospect with the potential for a solid three-pitch mix. According to Hill’s MLB.com pre-draft scouting report, his fastball is his best pitch, which tops out at 95 mph. He pairs it with a pair of average pitches in his slider and change-up, each of which flashes potential to be “plus” pitches. Hill fits the profile of being a collage arm lacking polish that the Brewers have had success developing over the past few seasons (e.g. Corbin Burnes, Zack Brown), so hopefully they see some untapped potential here that could turn him into a legitimate prospect. If all goes well, he could be an arm that fits in the middle of the rotation.
Felix Valerio, INF
Valerio is the lottery ticket of this trade. He spent the 2018 season with the Mets’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League and played well, hitting .319/.409/.433. In the field, he mostly played second base, where he committed four errors over 66 games played. Valerio is a small guy, as he stands 5’7” while weighing in at 165 lbs., so it is fair to say his power projects to be modest as best. However, he has clearly shown a penchant for getting on base given his .400+ on-base percentage. Look for him to spend the 2018 season with one of the Brewers’ stateside rookie affiliate clubs.