Though it’s usually rare for division rivals to combine on trades, the Pirates and Brewers have been relatively frequent trade partners in recent years, and in fact just completed another deal of minor leaguers just a little over a week ago. Today’s trade sees the two clubs swap a pair of fairly high picks from the 2015 amateur draft.
Kramer has 43 games’ worth of big league experience, all coming with the Pirates during the 2018-19 seasons, and he produced only a .387 OPS over 90 career plate appearances. A second-round pick for the Bucs in the 2015 draft, Kramer posted considerably better numbers during his minor league career, though he also struggled at Triple-A Indianapolis this season, hitting .196/.318/.296 over 214 PA. The 2020 season was a complete wash for Kramer due to hip surgery in May 2020.
The 27-year-old Kramer will provide the Brew Crew with some farm system depth, and he also fits Milwaukee’s preferred model of a multi-positional player. Most of Kramer’s pro career has been spent as a second baseman, but he has also seen quite a bit of time at shortstop, third base, and both corner outfield slots.
While Kramer was chosen 62nd overall in 2015, Kirby went even higher, taken 40th overall as the Brewers’ pick in Competitive Balance Round A. Since being drafted, however, Kirby’s pro career has still almost barely begun, with just 102 1/3 total innings pitched (71 coming in the 2018 season). The southpaw has been ravaged by injuries, including both a Tommy John surgery and a thoracic outlet syndrome procedure.
Kirby finally got back on the mound this season for the first time since 2018, and he has a 1.93 ERA, 23.17% strikeout rate, and a troublingly high 15.85% walk rate in 18 2/3 bullpen innings for Double-A Biloxi. Kirby is still only 27 years old, so the Pirates are taking a flier to see if Kirby has a second act to his career, and if he can perhaps eventually reach the majors as a reliever.