Depth Trade: Quintana Out, Wren In | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Doug Melvin made a trade today, in what some Braves analysts are calling a “purge” of Wren from the organization. The Braves’ former GM, Frank Wren, drafted his son Kyle Wren in the 8th round of the 2013 draft. The young Wren is primarily a centerfielder, and what he lacks in power during his minor league career, he makes up for in batting average and walks. As negative as Braves reactions and coverage is for this deal, the trade is being lauded as a positive deal for the Brewers organization. According to Tomahawk Take, Wren’s greatest attribute is his defense, which is judged MLB ready. While there is little question about Wren’s speed, the question remains about the 23-year-old’s bat, which hit a bit of a roadblock after the Braves promoted Wren to AA in 2014:

Wren K% BB% ~Batted Balls in Play ~BABIP
2013 A 9.8 7.4 81% .360
2013-14 A+ 11.5 9.2 78.7% .323
2014 AA 17.6 7.0 74.9% .341

According to Baseball-Reference, Wren was average for his age in A and Advanced A ball through 2013 and 2014, which should explain his dip in plate discipline during the second half of 2014. Given Wren’s previous contact profile, one could expect the centerfielder to improve his discipline in 2015, especially as his age (he turns 24 in April) catches up to AA ball. While the prevailing attitude hints that Wren may be a 4th outfielder, flipping organizational pitching depth for a solid outfield glove that knows the strike zone and has some speed is a solid depth move.

Quintana K% BB% HR% IP (G/GS)
2012 R (AZ) 20.1 11.3 1.5 43.3 (13/4)
2013 R (P) 13.3 10.2 1.6 66.0 (14/14)
2014 A 14.5 12.3 1.0 85.3 (25/16)

In Zach Quintana the Brewers lose a potentially hard-throwing organizational arm, but one that struggled with control issues during his time on Milwaukee’s farm. Given the Braves’ penchant for developing pitchers, one can hope that Quintana benefits from the change of scenery, and a fresh set of scouts and coaches to harness his power into an effective role. Of course, it is also worth noting that Quintana remains quite young, so there is certainly time for the righty to develop his power game into an attack (Baseball-Reference also notes that Quintana has remained approximately two years young than the average age of his leagues). Like Melvin’s earlier trade with Toronto, another benefit of this deal is that Brewers organizational fans can cheer on Quintana as he joins the Braves affiliates.

If one developed an organizational depth chart, from the minors to the MLB roster, for the 2014 offseason, pitching would be one of the Brewers strongest areas (especially in terms of available players). As some notable, top arms develop in the system’s low minors, Melvin can use trades like this one to deal from a position of strength and improve another area of the club. Granted, outfield depth is not really a problem for the Brewers, as they already must find time for Carlos Gomez, Gerardo Parra, Ryan Braun, and Khris Davis. However, if one believes that the Brewers are unwilling to pay Parra to effectively serve as a rotational outfielder between each spot, this type of move gives the Brewers more quality defensive depth should they choose to trade Parra’s glove. Furthermore, Melvin effectively moved a player with an unknown MLB destination (Quintana) into one that could be rushed to the big leagues from AA (if Wren’s glove is indeed ready), or earn a spot on the 2016 roster.

Resources
Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC., 2000-2014.
MLB Advanced Media, LP, 2014.
Other sources cited as linked.

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