Pitchers and catchers have officially reported to Maryvale! This mostly means nothing. Actual Spring Training games are still a couple weeks away, and all today is really going to bring us is some grainy beat writer photos of Jimmy Nelson running around in the Maryvale outfield — which, if we’re being honest, we desperately need. But baseball is (sorta) back! So in honor of this quasi-return of baseball, we’ve got a pitchers-and-catchers-themed edition of Rolling Out the Barrel. Let’s roll it out:
Khris Davis is neither a pitcher or a catcher, but both of the prospects he was dealt for are. Kyle Lesniewski over at Brew Crew Ball breaks down last Friday’s big trade, which sent the slugging left fielder to Oakland in exchange for a pair of prospects. Jacob Nottingham, the headliner of the deal for Milwaukee, ranks as the 66th-best prospect in the Baseball Prospectus Top-101 and represents far greater value on his own than your author imagined Davis might be worth this offseason that was flooded with outfield talent. As with all prospects, it’ll be a few years before we know the true value of Nottingham and Bubba Derby, but it appears at first glance that GM David Stearns has pulled off another coup.
Wayne Cavadi takes a look at Nottingham, a catching prospect with some questions on defense but very few on offense. There has been plenty of speculation that the 20-year-old slugger may not be able to stick behind the plate, but Cavadi says that even if he eventually needs to make a switch to first base, he has the bat to carry the position. If he can improve enough behind the plate to be a serviceable defensive catcher, the Brewers have a legitimately elite prospect on their hands.
BP Milwaukee || Did Chase Anderson have a Sophomore Slump? (Feb. 16, 2016)
We normally don’t feature our own site’s work in this space, but in keeping with today’s theme, I encourage you to take a look at Ryan Romano’s analysis of the major-league career of Chase Anderson, whose second year was either better or worse than his rookie season, depending on which stat you look at.
FanGraphs || How Badly Would You Hurt a Team for a Week? (Feb. 18, 2016)
Breaking away from today’s theme a bit to show you something I think you’ll have fun with, Matthew Kory, who can also be found at BP Boston, explores the damage you or I might cause in the hypothetical situation in which we were pressed into starting duty for our favorite ball club for a week. The results, as you might imagine, are not particularly pretty.
Earlier this week, Chris Mitchell released his organizational rankings based on his KATOH projection system, which had Milwaukee as baseball’s top farm system by a rather large margin. In this follow-up, he explains how the Brewers amassed the kind of talent that his system is so fond of — KATOH is a particular fan of under-the-radar prospects Ramon Flores, Javier Betancourt and Keon Broxton.
Speaking of things I don’t normally do in this space, this is a piece I wrote for Brew Crew Ball this week. I share it because I think it’s pretty good, but also to highlight the incredible work of the Baseball Prospectus staff on the 2016 BP Annual book, from which this entire article is derived. The aforementioned Romano took the lead with the Brewers’ essay in this year’s edition, and our EIC J.P. Breen led a group of BP writers in evaluating a number of Milwaukee’s prominent players. Check out my article here for a teaser, then maybe pop over to Amazon and think about grabbing your copy, if you’re among the minority that doesn’t already have one.
FanGraphs || The Best Transactions of the 2016 Offseason (Feb. 15, 2016)
Finally this week, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs counted down his top ten best transactions of the offseason (thus far), since everyone loves a rankings piece. The Brewers trade with Arizona that sent Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner to the desert in exchange for Aaron Hill, Chase Anderson and Isan Diaz checked in at no. 8 on the list, as the Brewers basically upgraded at pitcher and bought a top-15 prospect in exchange for the last decaying bits of Segura’s trade value and half of Hill’s contract. Cameron also did a worst transactions list, which of course includes the Diamondbacks side of this deal in the same no. 8 spot.