The Brewers announced Friday that they’ve designated infielder Yadiel Rivera for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for right-hander Aaron Wilkerson, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Wilkerson was acquired from the Red Sox in the 2016 trade that sent Aaron Hill to Boston.
Rivera, 25, has appeared in just one game for Milwaukee this season thanks in part to improved infield depth that has helped the team contend in 2017. While Rivera saw action in 35 games last year and tallied 71 plate appearances with a .212/.235/.273 slash, the Brewers have instead relied upon other options in utility infield capacities. In addition to the acquisition of Travis Shaw and the emergence of Orlando Arcia, veteran Eric Sogard has provided significant value in a utility role. Last year’s primary shortstop, Jonathan Villar, has also been on hand all season and bounced around the diamond, as has fellow utilityman Hernan Perez.
Beyond the new-look infield mix in Milwaukee, Rivera simply hasn’t performed in the minors this season. Despite playing in a very hitter-friendly Colorado Springs/Pacific Coast League environment, he’s posted a meek .218/.282/.314 batting line through 414 plate appearances in Triple-A this year. Those struggles aren’t exactly new for Rivera, who has enjoyed some success in Double-A but has yet to thrive at the top minor league level.
Wilkerson doesn’t rank among the Brewers’ top 30 prospects — not surprising for a player that is 28 years old — but has enjoyed a terrific season with Milwaukee’s Double-A club. Through 142 1/3 innings, the former unsigned draft pick and indy ball discovery has pitched to a 3.16 ERA with 9.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 36.2 percent ground-ball rate. Wilkerson’s first appearance with the Brewers will be his Major League debut — no small feat for a player that spent two seasons on the independent circuit before even getting a look in Lo-A ball with the Red Sox at the age of 25.