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Wednesday, December 11th 2019
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Trent Grisham makes the 2019 MLB Pipeline Prospect Team of the Year

Every year, MLB Pipeline, the premiere spot to find out about your team’s prospects, comes out with a team highlighting the best players in the minors. This season, Brewer prospect, Trent Grisham, made the First Team as the best left fielder in the minors. He joined elite prospects like Luis Robert, MacKenzie Gore, and Kenosha’s very own, Gavin Lux on the First Team. 

This is a huge honor for Trent Grisham who seemed like a first round bust just last year. He was the 15th overall pick in 2015 and before this season, never lived up to expectations. That changed in 2019 when he dominated both Double-A and Triple-A. He combined for 26 homers, 71 RBIs, and 71 runs in 97 total minor league games. He registered a slash line of .300/.407/.603 which according to MLB Pipeline, Grisham was just one of seven qualified players to reach the .300/.400/.600 slash line mark. Grisham was the only player in the Brewers system to make the First or Second Team while the Padres and Diamondbacks had the most. 

Once Grisham was called up to the majors on August 1st, he started out hot. In his first 11 games with the Brewers he was batting .314 with an OPS of .893. He also had 2 home runs, 8 RBIs and 6 runs scored. He has since cooled off in his last 21 games (12 of which he has started). In those games Grisham has hit .230 with an OPS of .702 with 2 home runs and only 5 RBIs. He has also struck out 20 times in that span. 

With the playoff race heating up, it is important for every Brewer player to get hot. Grisham may very well be on his way. Last night, he tied the Brewers rookie record for hits in a game with 5 and was only a home run away from the cycle. If Grisham starts hitting like he did in the minors, the Brewers will have a deadly bat in the leadoff spot during the hunt for October. 

ICYMI: Bill Hall Retired as a Brewer

Bill Hall officially retired last Thursday, September 5th, as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Bill Hall was known as a fan favorite in Milwaukee because of his batting stance, his ability to be the ultimate utility man, and his game day heroics on Mother’s Day. During his time with the Brewers, Hall had a .300 batting average on Mother’s Day along with 5 runs, 3 RBIs, 2 doubles, 2 walks, and 2 home runs with one of them being a walk-off with his mother in attendance. 

Bill Hall started his career in 2002 with Milwaukee and played with them until the middle of 2009 when he was traded for middling reliever, Ruben Flores. Hall played in 831 total games for the Brewers and batted .253 with an OPS of .758. He also hit 102 home runs, had 367 runs batted in, and scored 370 runs. He put up these numbers while being the utility man for the Brewers. He spent time as the shortstop, third baseman, second baseman, left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder all while maintaining a career fielding percentage of .962%. 

Hall’s best season came in 2006 when he was one of the best shortstops in the entire National League. Many people believed he was snubbed by not making the All-Star team that year behind guys like Edgar Rentería and David Eckstein. In 2006, Bill Hall played in 148 games with the Brewers and hit .270 with an OPS of .899 and an OPS+ of 125. He had 35 home runs, 85 RBIs, 39 doubles, 4 triples, and scored 101 runs while playing solid defense. 

The best stretch of Hall’s career began in 2005 and went through 2008. In this span he batted .262 with an OBP of .326. During those four seasons he also hit 81 home runs for an average of about 20 per season and drove in 265 runners for an average of about 66 per season. All of these are very solid numbers for a utility man who doesn’t always get the added rhythm of playing everyday. 

After being traded from Milwaukee in 2009, Hall was never able to recapture the consistent success he had as a Brewer. He played in 222 games with 5 different teams after Milwaukee. The teams were the Mariners, Red Sox, Astros, Giants, and Orioles. He was able to be decent with one of these teams and that was in 2010 with the Red Sox. That year, he batted .247 while hitting 18 home runs with 46 RBIs. 

Bill Hall was one of those players that if you were a fan of the Brewers in the early to mid 2000s, you remember him. He had some great, memorable moments with the Brewers and I’m glad he was able to reconcile with the franchise and end his career with the team he started with.

Brewers Release Former All-Star, Jeremy Jeffress

Brewer fans woke up this morning to shocking news. MLB analyst, Ken Rosenthal, reported that Milwaukee released veteran reliever, Jeremy Jeffress. Last off-season the Brewers signed Jeffress to a two-year contract with 2020 being a team option that they of course, are not picking up. 

The release is likely due to JJ’s struggles on the mound this season. He was 3-4 with a 5.02 ERA in 52.0 innings. His K/9 was down 2.4 points from last year and he also had a high 1.365 WHIP. Many people, including me, expected Jeffress to have another good year after he was named to his first and only All-Star team in 2018. JJ was 8-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 76.2 innings and was one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball last season. People expected a little regression out of Jeffress this season but nobody expected such a steep decline from the fan favorite. 

Jeffress suffered an injury at the end of last season and he has not been the same since. His velocity has gone way down as well as his accuracy. Jeffress used to be able to throw his fastball 96-99 consistently and now he is in the 92-94 range. With a slower fastball, his off-speed pitches need to be better and he just hasn’t been able to throw them effectively all season. 

Jeffress’ season may be over with the Brewers but it would not surprise me to see a contending team sign him to add bullpen depth. After all, Jeffress is a 10-year veteran who has pitched in 401.0 innings and has a very respectable career ERA of 3.16. 

It’s sad to see Jeffress released but most fans saw the writing on the wall. However, no matter how his career ended with the Brewers, he still provided the team 7 solid seasons and 304.2 innings pitched with an ERA of 2.66. JJ was one of the most exciting players the Brewers had and we (the Cream City Central team) wish him luck in all of his future endeavors. 


*Stats according to baseball-reference.com*

The Brewers Basket of Unexpected (and Poor) Performances

Coming into 2019, expectations were sky-high in the Cream City. After finishing one game shy of the World Series the previous October, the Brewers entered spring training with a roster containing many of the same faces, but also some key off-season acquisitions like catcher Yasmani Grandal.

133 regular season games later, things are looking and feeling much, much different. Just as a sample: Four of the Brewers’ five opening day rotation members are no longer in the starting mix, whether it be due to injury (Brandon Woodruff), poor performance (Corbin Burnes and Jhoulys Chacin), or a role change stemming from poor performance (Freddy Peralta). Few things have gone as expected for the Brewers this season, leading to a roller coaster ride for players and fans alike.

Starting with the offense: the Brewers started the season with a line-up that looked to be one of the most fearsome in the league, with free agent signing Yasmani Grandal adding a surplus of talent to a group that already included an MVP (Christian Yelich), multiple other all-stars (Lorenzo Cain and Jesus Aguilar), and a trio of established players with a history of success (Ryan Braun, Mike Moustakas, Travis Shaw). The first seven spots in the order were filled with all-star caliber talent.

However, no one could have seen coming the struggles that caused the Brewers to trade Jesus Aguilar, demote Travis Shaw to Triple-A, and drop Lorenzo Cain from the lead-off spot. Some reversion to the mean was fair to expect for Aguilar after an other-worldly 2018 season, but for his OPS to dip nearly 200 points (from .890 to .694) was far and away from a realistic expected outcome at the outset of the season. The same goes for Shaw and Cain – Shaw’s OPS plummeted 250 points following two years of sustained production, and Cain has performed worse than all but six qualified hitters in Major League Baseball based on the wRC+ metric after being in the MVP conversation during 2018. Whether it is bad luck, poor coaching, or just a natural diminishing of skill level for all three, it would have been extremely hard and downright crazy to have reasonably expected all three to falter to the extent that they have. The three combined for 13.4 WAR in 2018. This year? A meager -0.2 WAR.

Unexpected and low probability outcomes have also played a part in some (but not all) of the Brewers pitching issues. Corey Knebel was slated to be Milwaukee’s ninth-inning relief ace until a spring training injury turned into Tommy John surgery. Jeremy Jeffress and Jhoulys Chacin have been shadows of their 2018 dominant selves, leading to Jeffress no longer handling high-leverage situations and Chacin’s recent release from the team. Throw in Corbin Burnes losing all sense of effectiveness, Brandon Woodruff’s oblique injury, and Freddy Peralta failing to establish himself as a reliable big-leaguer after a promising yet shaky debut in 2018, and you can see how the pitching staff is mired in much of the same unfortunateness as the offense.

Despite these unexpected struggles the pitching staff has faced, some of the blame in that area falls on the front office and their inability to adequately mitigate the risk of their pitching strategy. While starting pitching did not play as important a role on the 2018 Brewers as it did for other teams, that was because they had a shut-down bullpen that could effectively cover the majority of a game’s innings if need be.

The 2019 Brewers’ bullpen was not built to be that same dominant group, as important relief pieces Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff were moved to the rotation while Joakim Soria left via free agency. This made the bullpen’s margin for error very small. Throw in the injury to Knebel and the injury recovery of Jeffress and you have just a shell of what the Brewers needed for their starting pitching strategy to work, especially given the inexperience of the majority of their Opening Day rotation members (Burnes, Peralta, Woodruff). Once the injury to Knebel happened and the ineffective return of Jeffress became apparent, something should have been done to improve the staff and modify the model they used to get outs. A stronger starting rotation was certainly needed.

This season is just one iteration of a million possibilities concerning how it could have turned out. There are several things the Brewers can and cannot control. Unfortunately, most of what the Brewers cannot control has gone against them this season, revealing roster construction mistakes and playing a large part in their current struggles. 


The elephant in the room: Josh Hader

We all know that all-star reliever Josh Hader has become one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball. As of recent however, he has come very vulnerable to the long ball. It’s no secret that he gets hurt when he leaves his four seamer down in the zone. When a pitch is going down the middle of the plate at 95+mph, it is bound to be a homerun derby for any major league hitter. The question remaining is why. Why is the most dominant reliever leaving pitch after pitch, down the middle of the plate?

The pitch usage for Hader is pretty similar to what it was last year, but there is still a bit of a change. He is using the four seam about 5% more than he was last year. Therefore, his slider usage has gone down 5%. When it comes to the movement that he is getting on the fastball, it has gone up giving him more of a break. Meanwhile, twelve out of his thirteen home runs he has given up this year, have come off the fastball. When looking at the details of all the pitches that went yard, there is no similarity except for one. All of his break, extension, and rpm are not a factor, but what has become a factor is when the pitch is thrown.

The majority of the homeruns he has given up are either on the first pitch or when he starts out behind in the count, mostly in 3-1 counts. His most recent home run given up to Marwin Gonzalez was a first pitch fastball down the heart of the zone. The first pitch fastball leads right into the next point, a big reason Hader’s effectiveness has declined this year. 

It is no secret that Hader’s fastball will be apart of every at bat he pitches, what also is not a secret, is when it is thrown. At the start of every at bat, a hitter goes into it knowing there is almost a 90% chance they will be thrown the fastball on the first pitch. Also knowing that the most frequent location the pitch is thrown is up in the zone. That has made his first pitch swing rate has drop 7% than what it was last year. That is putting him behind the count 7% more than last year. Leaving him more susceptible to the long ball. Unfortunately the issues he is encountering, don’t stop there.

The last thing any Brewer fan wants to hear is that hitters are getting used to, and sitting on Hader’s four seam. Unfortunately, that has come a reality. It is shown majorly in the fact that his foul ball rate has skyrocketed 10% higher than last year. That is leaving hitters to see more pitches, which are probably going to be fastballs, and getting more accustomed to them. The contact doesn’t stop outside the foul ball lines. His barrel% has risen 4% more than last year. All of these numbers for Hader have risen more than people would like. However, there is still hope alive to see the real Hader back into action.

Craig Counsell has already discussed the idea of bringing him into less stressful games, where there would be a 3-4 run lead. Not only will that relieve some of the stress of the young flamethrower, but also give him and pitching coach Chris Hook an opportunity to play around with a different approach on the mound. It’s safe to say that there is no reason to get too concerned over the recent issues of Josh Hader. He is still very young and has a somewhat of a predictable scheme when not executed correctly. Needless to say, keep your hopes alive and trust in the process.

The Emergence of Trent Grisham

Brewers fans have themselves another rookie to be excited about here in 2019.

On Wednesday afternoon in front of a packed house at Miller Park, Trent Grisham had his first signature moment as a Brewer. Facing veteran Sergio Romo with the Crew down 5-3 in the eighth, Trent Grisham sent a 2-2 fastball into the second deck in right field for a go-ahead, three-run home run that proved to be the game winner.

It is still a relatively small sample-size, but 22-year-old outfielder Trent Grisham has provided a much-needed spark in the Milwaukee Brewers lineup since his call-up on July 31. Grisham, who started the season in AA Biloxi is batting .314 with a .350 OBP in 11 games primarily hitting leadoff for the Crew.

When Trent was called up he figured to see plenty of playing time, because David Stearns & co. wouldn’t call a prospect up to the bigs just for him to be relegated to the bench. He has seized his opportunity and earned the right to be put in the lineup on a near-daily basis this month.

The Brewers picked Trent, a Fort Worth, TX native straight out of high school in the first round of the 2015 draft. After a couple mediocre seasons in ‘17 and ‘18 in which Grisham hit .223 and .233 respectively, something clicked for him this year offensively. In 34 games with AAA San Antonio, Grisham hit .384 with an eye-popping 1.247 OPS.

Given Lorenzo Cain’s season-long struggles with injury and ineffectiveness, and Ryan Braun’s need for sporadic days off, Trent Grisham figures to have an important role in the last six weeks of the regular season for Milwaukee.

“A lot of times, young players can provide sparks for teams,” Manager Craig Counsell said. “I think that’s what Trent has been doing. It takes pressure off some of the other guys.

If his first couple weeks in the show are any indication, Trent Grisham won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.


Documenting Josh Hader’s Recent Struggles

Josh Hader may be the best relief pitcher in all of baseball. However, even a two-time All-Star and former Reliever of the Year winner can’t escape the occasional slump. 

This season, Josh Hader is 2-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 0.795 WHIP in 55.1 innings pitched. He has also added 102 strikeouts and 25 saves. Yes, these numbers look dominant but they don’t tell the full story of Hader’s season. Since July 1st, and Hader’s last 13 appearances, he has pitched 14.2 innings and given up 11 runs with 9 of them being earned. This run to inning ratio is enough for a disappointing 5.52 ERA. In this span, opponents are hitting .262 against Hader with an OPS of .935. Also, Hader is 1-2 with 4 holds, 5 saves, and 3 blown saves. 

Before this slump, Hader had an ERA of 1.77 in 40.2 innings and 20 saves with only 1 blown. Opponents were hitting just .098 against the lefty. Hader’s recent struggles beg to ask the question, what is going on with Milwaukee’s most reliable bullpen arm? 

It almost seems like hitters are starting to figure out Josh Hader. Opposing teams are either attacking the first pitch or doing what they can to get ahead in the count. Hitters have a remarkable .375 batting average with an OPS of 1.625 when they attack the first pitch, which is almost always a fastball. If they lay off the first pitch and get ahead in the count 1-0, batters are hitting just as well with a .364 average. Hader throws his fastball 87.4% of the time and his slider only 12.3%. Simply put, Hader isn’t throwing enough sliders to get batters on their toes, allowing them to sit fastball and attack the pitch they’re looking for. Lastly, when hitters are making contact with a Hader pitch, they are hitting it higher and further than they used to. For example, his home run percentage per fly ball is up 13.7% from 2017 and 8.1% from last year. This is a problem because his fly ball rate is also almost 10% higher than last year’s. 

It looks like Josh Hader is developing a closer mentality considering he has an ERA of 1.71 in ninth innings and a 4.95 when he pitches anywhere else. Maybe to rid Hader of his struggles all the Brewers have to do is pitch Hader in the inning he’s most effective. However, I think it’s a much deeper issue where Hader needs to mix up his pitches more consistently to stay dominant. Whatever it is, I hope Josh Hader and the Brewers figure it out considering they are only 0.5 games back of a Wild Card spot and will need Hader to be lights out to stay in the race. 

*Stats according to baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com*

The Verdict is in on Trent Grisham

Since being called up from Triple-A San Antonio, outfielder, Trent Grisham, has impressed. With the Brewers he has had 15 at-bats and has totaled 5 hits for a .333 batting average. Of those 5 hits, 1 was a towering home run and the other was a double. Also, in just 5 games, Grisham has 5 RBIs. Grisham’s OPS+ is 116, meaning in 5 games he is 16% better at the plate than the MLB average. 

Grisham was drafted in the first round of the 2015 amateur draft because of his ability to hit for both contact and power, his plate discipline, and his surprising speed. So far, in his limited time in Milwaukee, he has shown all of those tools. Before being called up, Grisham had a .381 batting average in Triple-A with a staggering 1.247 OPS. He had 13 homers, 30 RBIs, 8 doubles, and 3 triples in just 34 games for San Antonio. In the future, it would not surprise me to see Grisham become a player very similar to Ryan Braun. 

The main cause for concern that Milwaukee fans had for Grisham when he was called up was his defensive abilities. However, he has played in both left and center field for the Brewers and has yet to commit in an error. His speed in the field is his best weapon considering it allows him to get to balls most outfielders can not. 

At only 22-years-old, Trent Grisham is showcasing he can dominate Triple-A ball and handle MLB competition. With his ability to hit and play the field, it will be very hard for Craig Counsell to leave him out of the lineup moving forward. The Brewers already have their second baseman of the future in Keston Hiura and very well could have found their left fielder of the future in Trent Grisham. This leaves the question…with Milwaukee’s playoff chances looking slimmer and slimmer with each injury, is it time for the Brewers to blow it up and build around Grisham and Hiura?

The Brewers Could Be Adding A New Bullpen Arm

After having Tommy John surgery on July 31st, 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers could be getting utility pitcher and fan favorite, Brent Suter, back by late August. 

The 6’5” 29-year-old lefty was having one of the best seasons of his career in 2018 before having elbow troubles. He was providing great value for the Brewers as a back end starter with the ability to come out of the bullpen. In 2018, he pitched in 20 games, started 18 of them, and had a 4.44 ERA in 101.2 innings pitched. His best stretch of the season came between April 27th and July 21st when he pitched in 11 games and had an ERA of 3.47 in 57.0 innings. 

For his career, Brent Suter has pitched in 56 games for the Brewers in which he has started 34 of them. Suter has a career ERA of 3.91 in 204.2 innings and has also struck out 163 batters. 

Brent Suter has a great combination of three pitches that he can locate and throw with confidence. He has a four-seam fastball that he throws in the upper 80s as well as a nasty slider that he can throw with the same velocity. The fastball and slider are his main pitches but he can also sprinkle in a change-up that he throws in the upper 70s that tails away from a right handed hitter. These three pitches make Suter a tough pitcher to time up and also makes him a good lefty specialist.

When it comes to his recovery, everything coming from the Brewers’ front office and Suter’s camp is saying he’s been doing great and is slightly ahead of schedule. When he first had the Tommy John surgery it was believed Suter would not even come close to pitching in 2019 but now optimists believe he will be back by early September or even late August. Suter has been throwing bullpen sessions since late May and has even pitched in two games for the Brewers rookie level team this season. In Suter’s two rookie level games he has thrown 2 innings, struck out 4, and given up 0 runs without allowing a base runner. 

Brewer fans should be excited to get Suter back. He can be a starter, a long reliever, and a setup man, which in turn, can take the pressure off other Brewer pitchers. Also, at the end of the season when the bullpen starts to get fatigued, adding a fresh new arm could be what Milwaukee needs to make a playoff push.

Grading the Milwaukee Brewers 2019 Trade Deadline

Heading into “Deadline Day”, David Stearns and the Milwaukee Brewers had holes to fill. With Brandon Woodruff and Jhoulys Chacin out of an already shaky rotation due to injury, starting pitching looked to be a target even with the acquisition of Jordan Lyles earlier in the week. The bullpen also seemed to be an obvious area of need, as the Crew lacks consistent high-level relief production outside of Josh Hader.

With these priorities in mind, Stearns completed three trades on Wednesday, acquiring pitcher Jacob Faria from the Tampa Bay Rays, pitchers Ray Black and Drew Pomeranz from the San Francisco Giants, and cash considerations from the Minnesota Twins. Let’s take a look and grade each individual deal made this week.

The Trade: Brewers acquire SP Jordan Lyles from Pittsburgh in exchange for minor-league RP Cody Ponce.

Brewers’ fans are very familiar with Lyles – this is the second straight deadline that he has made his way to Milwaukee. Lyles pitched well for Milwaukee down the stretch in 2018, posting a 3.31 ERA over 16.1 innings, with the caveat that most appearances were very low-leverage. When the Brewers made the decision to not tender Lyles a contract this off-season, Pittsburgh swooped in to make him a member of their starting rotation. He started the season off hot, posting a 3.09 ERA in 10 starts through the month of May. Then, the wheels fell off, and his ERA jumped to 5.36 after his performance over the following two months.

The front office has said they believe they can make adjustments to Lyles to fix his woes, but odds are it won’t turn him into a playoff-caliber starter. Nor should we expect him to be anything near that. This deal was made to get a starting pitcher that can eat some innings and hold it down until Woodruff and Chacin return. Giving up Ponce, a minor-league reliever that would have needed to be added to the 40-man roster in the off-season, is a price that has little to no chance of hurting the Brewers in the long-term. Overall, this deal is unexciting, but can’t hurt. Grade: B-

The Trade: Brewers acquire SP/RP Jacob Faria from Tampa Bay in exchange for 1B Jesus Aguilar.

There were rumblings earlier in the week that the Rays were interested in Aguilar, and that interest was acted upon on Wednesday to the surprise of some Brewers fans. Aguilar, who became a fan favorite over his two-plus years in Milwaukee, became expendable due to a combination of his offensive struggles and lack of versatility. With the Brewers looking for controllable young pitching, dealing him for Faria makes sense.

Faria comes with four more years of controllability and has the potential to either pitch out of the rotation of bullpen. After seemingly breaking out in 2017 with a 3.43 over 16 appearances (14 starts), he took a step back in 2018 with a 5.40 ERA that led to his demotion to Triple-A. He has only thrown 10 major-league innings in 2019, all being out of the bullpen. His Triple-A numbers have been solid but unspectacular, as he has posted a 4.07 ERA while splitting time between starting and relieving.

This trade is geared towards the future, giving the Brewers pitching depth that could potentially turn into a rotation piecedown the road. If Faria turns into a starter, this trade is a steal. If he remains in the bullpen, it could be a big miss. Grade: B

The Trade: Brewers acquire cash considerations from Minnesota in exchange for minor-league RP Marcos Diplan.

The Brewers designated Diplan for assignment earlier in the week to make room for the addition of Jordan Lyles to the 40-man roster. Diplan, who ranked in the Brewers top-30 prospects prior to being traded, had seen his prospect star dim in recent years as he failed to overcome control issues. Once seen as a potential mid-rotation starter, Diplan has been transitioned to a bullpen role, and the front office clearly did not see enough progress to warrant a 40-man spot. This trade looks to be pretty inconsequential at the moment – a lower-level minor leaguer would have been nice, but the cash can’t hurt. Grade: C+

The Trade: Brewers acquire SP/RP Drew Pomeranz and RP Ray Black from San Francisco in exchange for minor-league SS Mauricio Dubon.

What I will dub “the trade that made Twitter shake” brought two likely relievers to Milwaukee for the Brewers’ #3 prospect. When reporter Robert Murray tweeted that the Brewers had agreed with the Giants on a “significant trade”, fans immediately reacted with joy thinking the Crew had acquired either Madison Bumgarner or Will Smith. Just minutes later, those hopes were dashed when they saw the real return – Pomeranz and Black.

Despite the reaction, this is not a bad trade for Milwaukee. They get a current bullpen piece that can start in a pinch with Pomeranz, in addition to a future bullpen piece in Black that can reach triple digits with his fastball. Pomeranz sports a 5.68 ERA on the year, making 17 starts and 4 relief appearances. While he may appear to be having a terrible season, it really was just a terrible month of May in which he had a 19.16 ERA. His 3.61 ERA outside of those months is what the Brewers are hoping shows up down the stretch, where they plan to use him primarily out of the bullpen.

Black is an interesting second part of this trade. He has seen good success in the minor leagues, but faltered to a 6.17 ERA over 23.1 innings in his first taste of MLB ball in 2018. He has thrown just two big-league innings in 2019, while posting a 5.16 ERA in 22.2 innings of relief at Triple-A. What stands out most is his strikeout ability – he has a 14.29 K/9 rate thus far in 2019 in the minors. If he can put it all together, he could be downright filthy.

What made this trade hard to stomach for Brewers fans was parting with prospect Mauricio Dubon. He was one of the Brewers’ top minor-league prospects, but in my opinion his status had been elevated in the minds of many due to the Brewers’ depleted farm. His .297/.333/.475 slash line at Triple-A only gave him a wRC+ of 91, meaning he was actually 9% worse than the league average player on offense. If that doesn’t sound right, consider that overall offensive output has skyrocketed at the Triple-A level due to them using the (potentially juiced) MLB baseball in 2019. Dubon has the ceiling of an average starter, with a realistic role being a platoon-player or utility infielder. I would say that giving that up for two potential impact relievers is a fair price. Grade: B-

Overall, Stearns and the front office did a solid job acquiring small pieces with the limited resources they had at their disposal. However, the lack of a truly impactful starting pitching acquisition limits this club’s ceiling. Given the injuries that the rotation currently has to deal with, failing to go get a reliable starter could turn into the difference between a playoff berth and a September disappointment. Incremental improvements like these can only get you so far, so it will be up to the rest of the roster to play more consistently and provide a real push.

Overall Trade Deadline Grade: B-