Trade Analysis: Colten Brewer for Esteban Quiroz

Transaction: San Diego Padres send RHP Colten Brewer to the Boston Red Sox for 2B Esteban Quiroz

About Brewer: He is a 26-year-old righty who logged 9 2/3 MLB innings and 48 AAA innings in 2018. Brewer is primarily a two-pitch guy, leaning heavily on his cutter and curve. The cutter averaged 92 miles per hour and ranked 14/96 in spin rate among pitchers who threw at least as many cutters as Brewer (Source - Baseball Savant). With the noted inning caveat, it’s worth mentioning only four pitchers threw their cutter at a higher rate than Brewer: Kenley Jansen, Wander Suero, Bryan Shaw, and Xavier Cedeno. It was used up in the zone often and was generally effective there. His curveball RPM of 2819 ranks 27/265 in the sample of pitchers who threw at least as many as Brewer. Watching video from 8/29, 9/22, and 9/28 the tight spin and shape on his curve is very evident. When located down it was deadly, but the pitch was left up with relative frequency, rendering it very hittable. The curve was most-oft used as a put away pitch in 1-2 and 2-2 counts. Brewer has the look of a middle reliever that will step into the Red Sox pen in 2019. The spin rate data is intriguing, but more consistent command of the curveball will be imperative for success.

Image Source - Baseball Savant

About Quiroz: He is a 26-year-old second baseman signed out of Mexico in 2017. Quiroz caught my eye in Florida instructs. The frame is thick and stocky, but he has a good eye and excellent pitch recognition, routinely spitting on chase pitches below the zone. He made frequent loud contact in my looks both in instructs and the Arizona Fall League. Quiroz starts with an open base stance and employs a moderate approach. His lower half is well-incorporated, and he keeps his hands back until the last possible moment. It’s a strong, fluid swing that should yield solid contact rates and power on contact. His all-fields approach combined with power on contact should result in high BABIPs in spite of his below average speed. Defensively, Quiroz makes the routine plays, but he is a below average defender overall. The limited track record of performance and age relative to his peers make him a risk, but I see skills that should play at the highest level. The stat line could look something like .275-.285 with 17-23 homers. There is a reasonable chance I love Quiroz more than his family. I think he can be a 60 hit, 50 power guy with 40 defense, and that would be good enough to play every day.

Aggregate View: This deal feels like a steal for the Padres. They added a guy who has a chance to be a second-division regular in exchange for a high probability middle reliever. Others may not share my optimism for Quiroz, but at the very least the deal freed up a 40 man spot for the Padres. From the Red Sox’s perspective, they exchanged volatility for a major league ready player.