Brewers roster-building fanatics and prospect heads waited through a quiet Tuesday, but were rewarded with a surprising trade for 1B Adam Lind to Seattle. I say “surprising” because the Brewers did not go for an MLB-level buy-low candidate (like Marco Estrada in the original Lind trade), and they also went for a “big package” rather than (potentially) a “one prospect quality package” (this is total speculation, though, as I have no clue what was offered from the several teams involved on Lind talks). The first baseman yielded three extremely young, low-minor RHP, which gives Brewers fans and analysts a chance to bite into recent Seattle Mariners international signings. If you enjoyed watching Yordano Ventura storm the stage in the 2013 World Series, or like dreaming about how stuff can unfold as a youngster grows and adds muscle, this trade is a jackpot.
Return: 3 RHP
RHP Freddy Peralta (2013 International signing, Dominican Republic; age 20 in 2016).
Peralta is the shortest of the righties returned for Lind, standing just below 6’0″ in most listings. However, Peralta may be the most interesting to dream on, as the righty already could hit 93 upon reaching the states after the Mariners signed him (update: in their profile, BaseballAmerica did note that Peralta’s velocity regressed in 2015). According to BaseballAmerica, Peralta will throw both his curve and change, although they graded the curve ahead of the change. Peralta posted a mouthwatering 67 K / 8 BB / 1 HR against 233 batters in the 2015 Arizona Rookie League, which is quite an improvement during his second stint in the league (still, it is great to see that improvement, even if he required a second stint). Here’s some solid video from his first stint in Arizona:
BaseballAmerica ranked Peralta at #24 in their 2014-2015 guide. The righty adds to the Brewers’ interesting International RHP depth, which includes Miguel Diaz, Marcos Diplan, Nelson Hernandez, and Carlos Luna, among others still.
RHP Daniel Missaki (2013 International signing, Brazil; age 20 in 2016).
Missaki stands in the middle of Peralta and Herrera, both in height and in signing bonus. The Mariners inked Missaki for $150,000 in 2013, after the youngster worked in the World Baseball Classic. The righty went 34 K / 5 BB / 0 HR against 133 batters in the 2015 Midwest League, while also inducing weak contact elsewhere (a 5% popup rate and 17% line drive rate accompanies his 0.86 Groundball:Flyball). BaseballAmerica noted that the RHP did have a Tommy John-shortened 2015 campaign. A kind YouTube soul has procured an extended look at the young righty:
RHP Carlos Herrera (2014 International signing, Dominican Republic; age 18 in 2016).
Brewers fans may be inclined to think of Herrera as a Marcos Diplan-esque inclusion in the trade, recalling the extremely young “lottery ticket” that was included in the Yovani Gallardo trade. However, I am not sure that’s right for a few reasons; first, Diplan was arguably a more notable prospect than Herrera upon his signing; furthermore, Herrera is a completely different pitcher in terms of physicality. Sources say Herrera is either 6’2″ or 6’3″, and while BaseballAmerica noted that the youngster’s velocity was in the upper-80s / low-90s upon signing, they mentioned that one might expect that to jump up given Herrera’s frame and youth. I am inclined to argue that Herrera may be the most intriguing of these prospects, for his curve and change up feel were already present when BaseballAmerica reviewed the Mariners’ 2014 International class.
I don’t want to be a “size vulture,” but I may be inclined to rate Herrera strongest, given his projectable frame and the three-pitch status. An argument in favor of placing Peralta ahead of this pack would be his fastball velocity and curveball, although his change up may not yet be equal to his curve. In terms of rankings, this trio is ultimately a toss up within the depth of the #21-#50 prospects of the Brewers system, but they significantly bolster the ranks of low minors pitching for the Brewers. Now that the club has new executives working with scouting, mechanics, and player development in some capacities, this could be a perfectly timed gamble: these prospects may be GM David Stearns‘s guys, offering a chance for the club to work with forming mechanics, strategy, and approach with a group of extremely young pitchers.
Ultimately, this appears to be a good baseball deal. The Mariners “win” the obviously “current performance” sweepstakes, as they receive a veteran 1B (and, after the 2015 QO class, a potential Qualifying Offer free agent) without surrendering any of their most expensive 2013-2014 International signings. Milwaukee can claim the opposite: they win $600,000 worth of 2013-2014 International signings, which represents more than a 10% increase over their actual top signings from those two years. In a small market organization, this benefit cannot be understated; recognizing a rather packed upper minors, the Brewers effectively add to the potential haul and return of those International classes (in some cases, these players may even advance with players like Gilbert Lara, Franly Mallen, Hernandez, and Nicolas Pierre, signaling a formidable infusion of International talent into a system lacking that edge in previous seasons).