Former Brewers: The Sabathia Trade | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

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

On July 7th, 2008, the Brewers completed one of the seminal trades in their history, acquiring CC Sabathia in exchange for Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, Matt LaPorta, and Michael Brantley. Given how magical the 2008 playoff run was, I doubt too many people would undo this trade, but that trade did dent one of the better farm systems in the league at the time. Let’s take a look at how these four players have fared in Cleveland.

Rob Bryson, RP, age 22

Bryson has put up some ridiculous strikeout numbers in the minor leagues. Between both levels of A ball and a stint at AA, Bryson struck out 13.5 batters per nine innings this year in an impressive return after only throwing three innings in 2009. He hasn’t quite looked as good in AA (3.85 FIP), but he’s only 22 and he still looks like he has big time strikeout stuff. However, his value is inherently limited by the fact that he’s a relief pitcher, so unless he turns into a big time closer, the Brewers aren’t exactly missing out on a whole lot of value here.

Zach Jackson, SP, age 27

Jackson is out of the majors, now back in the Toronto Blue Jays system where he has posted a very unimpressive 5.75 ERA and 5.44 ERA in AAA. I feel pretty safe declaring Jackson as done, even though it’s kind of sad to say that about a 27 year old. He just doesn’t have the stuff to strike enough batters out and his struggles with the home run ball are the killer.

Matt LaPorta, 1B/LF/DH, age 25

LaPorta has been simply unimpressive in the majors. Between 2009 and 2010, he’s put together a slash line of .232/.306/.384, and even if you assume his BABIP of .261 will improve (it probably will), he’s not much more than an average hitter. He just hasn’t showed the power that he needs to become an elite hitter, and although there’s still time for breakout, I wouldn’t bet on him becoming much more than an average MLB player. At this point, I’ll take Mat Gamel over him.

Michael Brantley, OF, age 23

Brantley has just been terrible in the majors. He has a .262/.313/.325 line in the majors so far and UZR doesn’t like his defense in the outfield. As such, he’s been worth -0.8 WAR in the majors to date. However, he has solid recent numbers in the minors and he has the tools to play center field well. I certainly wouldn’t give up on him yet, but, as with LaPorta, he certainly hasn’t done anything in the majors yet.

At least so far, the Brewers haven’t lost much due to the Sabathia trade. Throw in that LaPorta was blocked by Fielder, Hart, and Braun, and there was no reason not to do the trade at the time. It looks even better now that the only player in the deal who has been successful to date is Bryson, and he’s still a ways away from the MLB.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. andrew says: September 24, 2010

    Your a dumbass. Brantley is one of the best young outfielders in the AL central division. Laporta has struggled but will be a decent player. RP are just as good as closers and Bryson will eventually hit it in the majors. How bout you scout players before you say anything about them you idiot.

  2. Max says: September 24, 2010

    Andrew is a dumbass. Brantley is a fourth OF at best and LaPorta’s upside is Brad Hawpe.

  3. Tribefan says: September 24, 2010

    Brantley was brought up too early. He was horrible in April and July, but hit .291 in August and .277 in September with a 19-game hitting streak. He’s not there yet, but he should have a 10-year career as a leadoff hitter.

  4. Ben says: September 24, 2010

    Brantley a 4th OF at best? well he will be starting for the Tribe in LF or CF, and i think he OF is pretty stacked had a 19 game hitting streak snapped a couple games ago, and hes still pretty young i think your severely underrating him since he plays for the Tribe not the Brewers if he was still there i think you’d be singing a different tune

  5. Jon B. says: September 24, 2010

    I was just going to post a comment about how this is yet more reason not to over-value prospects like it seems has been happening lately, but now I have to say: Andrew, if you’re going to call somebody an “idiot” or “dumbass,” you should probably learn something resembling proper spelling and grammar first. Start with the proper usage of “your” and “you’re.” Otherwise you just look like a twat.

  6. Jack Moore says: September 24, 2010

    I still like Brantley (hence why I say I wouldn’t give up on him and how he has good recent numbers in the minors). Just pointing out he’s been horrible (and there’s absolutely no argument against that) in the majors so far.

  7. andrew says: September 25, 2010

    Well Brantley is one of the youngest players in the american league so can we give him a chance? Laporta is Brad Hawpe. So what I said he would be a decent player. The Brewers gave away players for a half a season of CC. They shouldnt have had to give away 4 top notch players. The fact is the Indians would be even worse without these guys and they will pan out. Baseball takes time. This isnt the NBA. DUMBASS

  8. andrew says: September 25, 2010

    Ben is about the biggest faget to ever right a comment on this website. yes i know the difference between right and write. I also know ten times more about baseball then you will ever kno or your ever will kno

  9. andrew says: September 25, 2010

    That trade really helped the Brewers didnt it? They would be much better off having Brantley now instead of having a power hitter bat 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th. the Indians will make the playoffs before they do

  10. Chris says: September 27, 2010

    In my opinion, Brantley is a pretty interesting player.. I’m not sold that he will amount to much in the majors. When he first came up, I remember that it seemed like he would consistently get himself into bad hitter’s-counts. While it was great to see that he was patient at the plate, it was terrible to see a guy take two straight-strikes and get into an 0-2 count.

    Recently, it appears that he is doing a little better in that regard. When all is said, he is probably projects to be a .270-.290 hitter, at best. That’s not bad, but when talking about leadoff hitters, it’s not about the AVG, it’s about OBP (unless you’re name is Ichiro). He clearly has the speed and base stealing ability to be an effective leadoff man, but it’s going to come down to him being able to hit for a decent average and draw more walks.

    The 19-game hit streak was nice… but I think he only batted about .280-.290 during the streak. It’s not like he was ripping hits left and right.

    As for Brantley’s defense, he is pretty solid. I’ve seen him play a lot this season and he is an above-average defender.

    He’s still a kid, he has time to develop, the Tribe is pretty high on him right now… but he could be on a very short leash if Weglarz continues to impress, and Brantley could quickly end up in that dreaded 4th-OF’er spot.

  11. H Man says: September 27, 2010

    As a Tribe fan, I am very impressed with the posting and comments. I have been watching these guys close:

    Brantley – most likely will be the best of the group.

  12. H Man says: September 27, 2010

    As a Tribe fan, I am very impressed with the posting and comments.

    Brantley – Most likely will be the best of the group. I don’t think people look at the player’s age enough during evaluations. He is still very young and is improving. The Tribe front office seems pretty content with letting him continue his development by starting in the outfield. Even after Sizemore returns next season, many think that Brantley will stay in center as we don’t know what we will get out of Sizemore next year. Plus, the front office has to have someone from this trade succeed to justify the CC trade, so they will give him time.

    LaPorta – He is making people in the front office a little nervous. The good news is that he is a great kid who has had a few nagging injuries this year. He had 18 games at AAA this year and hit 5 HRs and an OBP of .457. He really has nothing else to prove in AAA. He will have to share some 1st base duties next year with Carlos Santana who is coming back from an injury and expected to play some 1st base.

    Bryson – He is putting up good numbers and still very young. However, the Tribe suddenly has a ton of relief pitching. I think he will probably be great trade bait, not because of any problem with him, but he might be more valuable to another team when the Tribe is trying to contend in the next few years.

    But at the end of the day, some people were pretty upset that this deal was made without getting a great high end starting pitching prospect in return.

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