Just hours after acquiring Víctor Caratini from the Padres, the Brewers have landed another catcher. Milwaukee is picking up Alex Jackson from the Marlins in exchange for minor leaguers Hayden Cantrelle and Alexis Ramirez, according to announcements from both teams.
Milwaukee already had a pair of vacancies on the 40-man roster, and Jackson has been optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Milwaukee is still set to open the year with a catching tandem of Omar Narváez and Caratini, but Jackson joins prospect Mario Feliciano as depth options on the 40-man roster.
Jackson, 26, spent less than a season as a Marlin. The Fish acquired from the division-rival Braves for Adam Duvall last summer. He appeared in 42 games with Miami late last year, hitting .157/.260/.278 while striking out in 48.8% of his 123 plate appearances. That marked Jackson’s most extended MLB work, as he’d picked up just 50 plate appearances in Atlanta between 2019-21.
Obviously, Jackson will need to make more contact moving forward. The right-handed hitter is a former 6th overall pick and top prospect, though, drawing praise from evaluators for big raw power and arm strength behind the dish. Jackson has popped 42 home runs and 29 doubles in 597 career Triple-A plate appearances. That’s massive power production, although it’s been accompanied by a .234 batting average and .318 on-base percentage.
Jackson has one option year remaining, so the Brewers can stash him at Nashville for the rest of this season. If he stays on the 40-man roster, Milwaukee will have to decide whether to carry him on the active roster in 2023. For now, he’ll add some depth to a catching group that just lost Pedro Severino to an 80-game PED suspension and saw Brett Sullivan shipped to San Diego in the Caratini deal.
Cantrelle was a fifth-round pick in 2020 out of the University of Louisiana. The 23-year-old drew some praise for his athleticism and defensive aptitude on draft day, but he’s coming off a rough professional debut. Cantrelle hit .175/.376/.313 in 341 High-A plate appearances during his first pro action last year. He stole 28 bases and walked in an incredible 22.6% of his trips to the dish, but Cantrelle also fanned 26.4% of the time and only had 20 extra-base hits. Baseball America slotted him 37th in the Milwaukee farm system this winter.
Ramirez signed as an amateur out of the Dominican Republic during the 2017-18 signing period. He pitched at a pair of rookie ball levels during his first two professional seasons. Ramirez hasn’t pitched in game since 2019; after the 2020 minor league season was canceled, he spent all of last season on the minor league injured list. Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs wrote last July that he was up to 96 MPH with a potential above-average slider in 2019.