Over the past month or two, there were a lot of worries about what kind of return the Brewers would be able to get by trading Zack Greinke. Once Doug Melvin announced Greinke was on the market, though, supply and demand simply took over. Playing AL West rivals against each other, Doug Melvin found himself a deal that was announced a half hour before Friday night’s game.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are your winners in the Zack Greinke Derby, edging out Texas, Atlanta, and the Chicago White Sox. In return, the Brewers will receive 22-year-old infielder Jean Segura, 23-year-old right-handed pitcher Ariel Pena and 23-year-old right-handed pitcher John Hellweg.
Baseball America rated Segura their 55th-best prospect in baseball prior to the 2012 season, and the Angels’ 2nd-best prospect behind Mike Trout. Hellweg entered the year as the Angels’ #4 prospect, while Pena was ranked 9th. That’s quite a haul for a two month rental.
In 374 AB with Double-A Arkansas this year, Segura has produced a .294/.346/.404 line, with 7 HR, 10 2B, and 5 3B. He’s also racked up 33 steals in 46 attempts. Scouts say he has a lot of raw power for a middle infielder and could someday be a 20-HR type. He’s handling shortstop well, but there are plenty who think he’ll eventually end up at second base. It’s important to note that Rickie Weeks is currently signed through 2014, with a team option for 2015. Segura was Keith Law’s #44 prospect in his preseason Top 100.
Hellweg stands 6’9″, and in 21 starts with Arkansas this year is carrying a 3.38 ERA. He’s struggled with control during his minor league career, but he’s also been effectively wild. He has a career minor league WHIP of 1.493, but his 1.379 mark this year would be a full-season ball career low. He’s cut his BB/9 from 5.9 last year to 4.5 this year, although the K/9 rate has also plummeted, from 11.4 to 6.6. It’s important to note that this is the first year in which Hellweg has been used as a full-time starter, so dialing back may have something to do with those drops. Before the year, Law had Hellweg at #81 in his Top 100.
Unlike Hellweg, Pena has been a starter all the way through his minor league career, putting up fairly similar numbers with a 8.0 K/9 and a 4.0 BB/9. In 19 starts with Arkansas this year, Pena has a 2.99 ERA and has struck out 111 in 114.1 innings, all while cutting his BB/9 down to 3.3. If you watched this year’s Futures Game, you’ll recognize him as the guy who got lit up on the World squad. That one outing was not indicative of his career to this point.
Baseball America listed Hellweg’s fastball and curveball as the best in the Angels’ system, while Pena was given the honor of “Best Slider.” John Sickels notes that Hellweg throws a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with sink, and attributes Hellweg’s control issues to his height — generally, tall guys have trouble with their mechanics. Randy Johnson was able to figure his mechanics out. Plenty of others haven’t been able to. As for Pena, Sickels has him throwing 92-95, and a developing changeup to go with his plus slider.
It’s also important to note that Hellweg and Pena are closer to contributing at the major league level than Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley are, although they’re still behind Wily Peralta. Successful small-market teams are able to develop waves of pitching prospects. It’s what the Tampa Bay Rays did with Scott Kazmir-to-David Price-to-Jeremy Hellickson, and now the Brewers may be on their way to developing something similar if things break in their favor.
So no, the Brewers didn’t get a Mike Olt type in return for Greinke. What they did get was someone who could provide 20-HR pop from a middle infield position while hitting close to .300 and two guys who could at least be solid starters with a chance to be very good starters.
Doug Melvin says Segura will go to Double-A Huntsville, while Mark Rogers will be getting the call to make what was supposed to be Greinke’s start on Sunday. Hellweg and Pena are also expected to report to Huntsville. To make room on the 40-man roster for everyone involved, the Brewers designated Edwin Maysonet and cult favorite Brock Kjeldgaard for assignment.
Adam McCalvy has departing comments from Greinke. While Greinke’s exit from Kansas City was a little hairy, he’s had nothing but good things to say about his time in Milwaukee. Tom Haudricourt has the comments from Doug Melvin.