The Brewers are well on their way to rebuilding their club for future success, but there are still things left for them to accomplish. For one, they still have tradeable assets on the major-league club. I don’t think it’s a mistake they didn’t trade certain players at the trade deadline this year. There could be a myriad of understandable reasons for this. That being said, it would be in their best interest to trade Adam Lind and give the first base job to Jason Rogers next year.
Adam Lind is having a really great season. He’s proven that he can play an adequate first base, as evidenced by his +4 DRS. He’s showing he can hit in a full time role, shown by his .304 TAv. And he’s exhibited an ability to manage his back issues, which is seen by his 141 games and 542 plate appearances. He also only making $8 million next year, which isn’t expensive anymore. My point is that there should be no question that he will have strong trade value. However, as the Brewers are rebuilding, they have no real use for a first baseman on a one-year deal.
It’s true the Brewers don’t have a strong first base prospect at any level in the minors. After Adam Lind, they don’t have a strong candidate to play the position at the major-league level unless you count Jason Rogers — which I do. So even if they want to keep Adam Lind around — which would be a decision of questionable logic — they still don’t have a player to take over except for Rogers. My point — probably pretty clearly — is that it’s time to see what Jason Rogers can do in the majors.
Rogers has limited time at the major-league level, but he’s crushed it at the plate every year in the minors. He first reached Double-A in 2013 and hit .270/.346/.468. The following season he split between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .296/.365/.489. Then this year, at the lofty and offense-inflating Colorado Springs, he hit .344/.449/.607. Even taking those numbers with a grain of salt, we see that he can mash when he’s facing an appropriate level of competition. But crushing minor-league pitching is a very different task than crushing major-league pitching.
Last year he only got ten plate appearances, but this year he’s accumulated 160. It’s still a small sample size but he’s hit .294/.369/427. That’s pretty decent and above the league’s average of .285 TAv. It’s actually more impressive that his plate appearances have been sporadic and 54 of those plate appearances have come as a pinch hitter. That’s not an easy task for any hitter, especially one who is inexperienced in the big leagues. What exactly that tells us, I’m not sure, but it shows patience and in point of fact he has a 16.3 percent walk rate as a pinch hitter.
One of the problems we have when trying to figure out how Rogers’ minor-league numbers will translate to the majors is sample size. He just doesn’t have enough plate appearances to give us a reliable idea of what he’s capable of doing. However, that walk rate and strikeout rate are two things that stabilize quickly — 120 PA and 60 PA, respectively. Both are better than league average rates — 7.6 percent for walk rates and 20.3 percent for strikeout rates. That’s a pretty good foundation and reflective of his minor-league career.
The Brewers don’t need Adam Lind next year; however, they do need a long-term solution at first base. There’s no telling if that’s Jason Rogers, but there is only one way to find out. And what little information we do have at the major-league level is encouraging. It also would be nice to net some more prospects in a deal for Adam Lind. Since there really isn’t anyone else for the first base job, I can’t think of single reason not to go this route. We’ll just have to wait and see if the Brewers new general manager feels the same way.