- After beginning a minor league rehab assignment for the Brewers’ rookie league affiliate, left-hander Brent Suter will continue the process at Double-A, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Suter underwent Tommy John surgery in late July 2017 and is still hopeful of returning to the hill for the Brewers before the season is over. The soft-tossing Suter posted a 3.91 ERA, 3.54 K/BB rate, and 7.2 K/9 over 204 2/3 innings for Milwaukee from 2016-18, overcoming his lack of velocity by becoming a master at generating soft contact from opposing batters.
According to an announcement from Milwaukee’s Player Development Department, the Brewers have released veteran reliever Alex Wilson. The 32-year-old had been playing with Triple-A San Antonio since being outrighted back in May.
Details are scarce on the circumstances surrounding Wilson’s release. Though he was torched 11.1 innings with Milwaukee early in the year, he had been apparently healthy and generally effective during his time in San Antonio. Through 38.0 innings, the righty had logged a sparkly 2.13 ERA–even if that marker’s shine concealed a grimy FIP of 5.46.
It will be interesting to see if contenders in search of bullpen help will come nibbling around Wilson’s name. After all, the Saudi Arabia-born Wilson is not too far removed from several years as a mainstay in the Detroit bullpen: over four Motor City seasons, he logged a combined 3.20 ERA with a 5.8 K/9 mark and a 2.1 BB/9 average. Veteran free agents like Wilson represent one of the few ways in which teams can hope to upgrade their rosters past the trade deadline nowadays, so it would not be shocking to see his name resurface in the coming weeks.
The Royals have claimed righty Jacob Barnes off waivers from Milwaukee and optioned him to Triple-A Omaha, the team reports.
Though Barnes did struggle to prevent runs for the Crew this season, it’s a bit of a surprise to see the 29-year-old dangled on waivers given his stellar track record in Milwaukee. In 167 innings for the Crew since his debut in 2016, Barnes posted a very respectable 3.93 ERA/3.68 FIP, numbers which, when park-adjusted for the Brewers’ bandbox of a yard, place him firmly within reliable 7th-inning territory. Barnes’ homer rate, like so many across the league, shot up to a career-worst 1.37 per nine this season, and his command temporarily abandoned him (5.03 BB/9), but it shouldn’t be a lengthy reclamation project for the 6’2 righty.
There’s an argument to be made that Barnes is already Kansas City’s second-best reliever; his track record, anyway, is second to only longtime starter Ian Kennedy’s in its patchwork unit. His initial report to Omaha, if more than simple posturing, should end quickly: the club needs another quality arm as soon as it can get it.
The Mets have claimed lefty Donnie Hart off waivers from Milwaukee and optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse, the team reports.
Hart, a longtime Oriole, spent much of this season with Triple-A San Antonio, where he posted a 4.10 ERA/4.29 FIP with a 55.4% grounder rate in 37 1/3 IP. Like most low-slot lefties, Hart’s been much better against same-side bats (.312 career wOBA against, compared to .334 against righties), though he’s walked nearly four of them per nine over his career. The lefty’s set down just 5.83 men per nine in 88 career big-league innings, and relies heavily on his 87 MPH sinker to generate grounders for his outs.
It’s possible Hart will soon displace the ineffective Luis Avilan as the second lefty in the Mets’ pen, though judging by the team’s high-leverage deployment of the eight-year vet, it seems higher on him than most. Lefty Justin Wilson makes up the other half of the contingent, though he can be hardly counted on to throw strikes, and fielder-independent metrics (4.66 FIP, -0.1 fWAR) haven’t been fans of his performance to date.
The Brewers announced a change to their bullpen crew ahead of today’s game against the rival Cubs. Aaron Wilkerson joins the big league club from Triple-A San Antonio, while Jay Jackson has been optioned back to the minors.
Wilkerson, 30, has made five scattered relief appearances since April, unfortunately surrendering earned runs each time out. He has been an effective starter in Triple-A this season, however, going 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA across 14 starts. The Brewers are prepared for a quick hook of Gio Gonzalez today should there be any sign of shoulder trouble, with Wilkerson serving as the contingency plan, notes MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (via Twitter).
Jackson, 31, has also served as little more than a 25th man while on the major league roster. In ten appearances, Jackson has a 5.79 ERA (4.93 FIP) across 14 innings. The South Carolina native gave Milwaukee some length in July with five two-inning outings, four of which he escaped scoreless.
The Brewers are sticking with an eight man bullpen for now, a necessity given the injuries sustained by the starting rotation. With Jhoulys Chacin, Jimmy Nelson, Brandon Woodruff, and Brent Suter on the injured list, Milwaukee figures to be more reliant than most contenders on players like Wilkerson and Jackson, even as they continue to shuttle them back and forth from San Antonio.
The Brewers announced a series of roster moves today, including the selection of outfield prospect Trent Grisham’s contract from Triple-A. In addition to Grisham making his Major League debut, right-hander Jacob Barnes was designated to assignment to create a 40-man roster spot. (Righty Taylor Williams and utilityman Tyler Saladino were also optioned to Triple-A.)
After posting some solid numbers out of Milwaukee’s pen in 2017-18, Barnes has struggled this year, resulting in a series of shuttles between Triple-A and the majors. The 29-year-old has a 6.86 ERA, 10.1 K/9, and 2.00 K/BB rate over 19 2/3 innings for the Brew Crew this season, with increases in his walk and homer rate both influencing that ungainly ERA.
The Brewers will call up outfielder Trent Grisham in time for tomorrow’s game against the Athletics, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell told reporters (including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy). Earlier today, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan tweeted that the move was likely. Grisham isn’t currently on the 40-man roster, so an accommodating move will have to be made before he hits the field.
Grisham, who went by “Trent Clark” when he was drafted 15th overall in 2015, received some top-100 prospect list attention prior to the 2016 season. From 2016-2018, however, Grisham showed some decent on-base numbers but was overall lacking at the plate.
Still, the Brewers kept promoting him through the system, and Grisham finally made his big breakthrough this season. After an .875 OPS over 283 Double-A plate appearances earned him another step up the ladder, Grisham tore up Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .381/.471/.776 slash line over 158 PA. (This included a stunning game on Tuesday that included hitting for the cycle and adding a second home run for good measure.)
While playing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League undoubtedly contributed to his Triple-A explosion, MLB Pipeline’s profile of Grisham cites a preseason change to his batting stance that has clearly paid major dividends. The 22-year-old is now set to make his big league debut, and between his quality baserunning, ability to play all three outfield positions, and improved bat, Grisham becomes an intriguing part-time asset for the Brewers.
Now that Jesus Aguilar has been traded to the Rays, Ryan Braun could potentially see some time at first base as a platoon partner with one of Milwaukee’s two left-handed hitting first base options (Travis Shaw and Eric Thames). This could open up some outfield playing time for Grisham, though the Brewers also have another left-handed hitting outfielder in Ben Gamel.
- The Brewers have designated left-hander Donnie Hart, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets. The 28-year-old has thrown 6 2/3 scoreless innings with the Brew Crew this season, though he has totaled more walks (four) than strikeouts (three). Hart has enjoyed a relatively productive campaign at the Triple-A level, where he has posted a 4.10 ERA/4.28 FIP with 7.23 K/9, 3.13 BB/9 and a 55.4 percent groundball rate in 37 1/3 innings.
The Twins have acquired right-handed pitching prospect Marcos Diplan from the Brewers for cash considerations, Robert Murray of The Athletic reports. The Brewers designated Diplan for assignment earlier this week.
The 22-year-old Diplan ranked as FanGraphs’ 18th-best Brewers prospect as recently as the offseason, but that wasn’t enough to keep him in the organization after he struggled to start the 2019 campaign. He has made 30 appearances (five starts) at the Double-A level this season and pitched to a 4.99 ERA/4.41 FIP with 9.83 K/9 and 5.77 BB/9 in 57 2/3 innings.
1:25pm: Lefty Drew Pomeranz is one player headed to the Brewers in the swap, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. If the Brewers are parting with a prospect of Dubon’s caliber, there’ll surely be other names in play.
1:23pm: The Brewers ad Giants are in agreement on a “significant” trade, reports Robert Murray of The Athletic (via Twitter). The big league players involved in the swap remain unknown, but well-regarded second base prospect Mauricio Dubon is headed from Milwaukee to San Francisco as part of the exchange. Madison Bumgarner is *not* going to Milwaukee, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
In Dubon, the Giants will acquire a Major League-ready 25-year-old who can step directly onto the roster. Dubon’s 2018 season was cut short by a torn ACL, but he’s returned to bat .297/.333/.475 with 16 home runs, 22 doubles, a triple and nine steals in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He’ll face a much more daunting offensive environment in the big leagues when he plays his home games at the cavernous Oracle Park in San Francisco.
Scouting reports on Dubon peg him as a hit-over-power prospect, and the move to Oracle Park doesn’t figure to do his power numbers any favor. But he’s never batted lower than .274 in a full minor league season, and he’s maintained strikeout rates south of 15 percent on a year-over-year basis. Dubon doesn’t walk much, but his knack for putting the ball in play should help his on-base skills in the big leagues. He’s considered capable of playing an average or better second base even after last year’s knee injury.
The veteran Pomeranz is the more well-known of the two arms being acquired by the Brewers, but he seems like a secondary piece in this swap. Pomeranz had an awful year in the Giants’ rotation but has garnered some attention following a (very) recent shift to the bullpen. In four relief outings, he’s tossed 5 1/3 shutout frames with just one hit and one walk allowed against eight strikeouts. The lefty has ample experience in the rotation and could return to that role if the Brewers feel he’s a mechanical adjustment or pitch-selection alteration away from returning to hi 2017 form, but his recent success in a return to the bullpen is more intriguing.
Black is already 29 years old but is the more appealing piece for Milwaukee. Durability has been an issue for the right-hander, but if he’s healthy he’ll be among the hardest-throwing pitchers in Major League Baseball. Black has averaged 99.1 mph on his heater in a tiny sample this season and regularly hits triple digits with a fastball that draws 80 grades on some scouting reports. Black has averaged nearly 17 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in his minor league career and might not even finish the season with a full year of MLB service, meaning he can be controlled through 2025.