Breaking down a hitting and pitching prospect from each team in the NL Central along with position battles to watch for each.
Brodie Van Wagenen loves trades. We love trades. We love Brodie Van Wagenen? Time will tell on that last one but the former player agent and now Mets GM has made some significant changes to the Mets roster since taking over. This trade has the Mets acquiring athletic CF Keon Broxton in exchange for RHP Adam Hill, RHP Bobby Wahl and 2B Felix Valerio. Prospects Live’s Jason Woodell was in charge of the original Mets top 30, and he ranked RHP Bobby Wahl 25 and 2B Felix Valerio number 27, and Adam Hill was unranked but was the Mets fourth round selection this past June. The Mets pickup an elite gloveman in center with some speed and pop. The Brewers scoop up a potential bullpen piece for this year in Bobby Wahl, a future MLB starter in Adam Hill and a DSL lotto ticket in Felix Valerio.
Mets Receive Keon Broxton
The Mets acquisition of Keon Broxton means that he is likely their opening day centerfielder with Brandon Nimmo in right and Michael Conforto in left. The Mets needed some depth with the ever fragile Juan Lagares and Yoenis Cespedes, who is already hurt (bone spurs in heels surgically removed) as the only others on the 40-man. Juan Lagares has proven throughout his career that he simply cannot stay healthy, and this move could be either to keep him healthy or flush him out of flushing entirely.
For my money Broxton becomes the best outfield defender on the Mets 40-man, and is a better fit for a Mets team that can use his strong defense more than a Milwaukee club that has Lorenzo Cain patrolling center as well as Christian Yelich on one of the corners and Corey Ray, Tyrone Taylor and Troy Stokes Jr. in the upper minors. Broxton was the Brewers primary centerfielder in 2017 and hit .220/.299/.420 with 20 homers and 21 stolen bases while walking at an 8.6% clip and striking out at a staggering 37.8% rate. His 175 strikeouts were tenth worst in baseball that year. His 2018 season saw him spend most of his time in Triple-A down in Colorado Springs, which is one of the most offensive parks in all of professional baseball. Over an 82 game stretch there Broxton hit .254/.323/.421 with 10 homers and 27 steals, but clearly didn’t think he belonged there, and he was probably right. The defense is Gold Glove caliber, and at 28-years old he likely is what he is as a hitter. Broxton is out of options and will have to spend the entirety of 2019 on the big league roster or the Mets will have to expose him to waivers.
Brewers acquire Bobby Wahl, RHP, Adam Hill, RHP, and Felix Valerio, 2B
Bobby Wahl is the Major League ready piece in this deal, and could work in some low leverage spots in the Milwaukee pen right out of the gate. The former fifth round pick by the A’s in 2013, Wahl now finds himself with his third organization in six months after a brief stop with the Mets as part of the Jeurys Familia trade. Wahl has pitched in 14 career big league games in his career thus far and has a 6.92 ERA to show for it. He can miss bats, and his 12.5% SwStr rate is the same as guys like Aaron Nola and Luis Severino, but he has poor command. Wahl also led all Triple-A relievers in K%, K-BB% and the previously mentioned swinging strike rate. Here’s what our own Jason Woodell wrote about him:
“He throws 4 pitches, which is odd for a career reliever. His fastball sits 96 and he also features a change-up, curveball, and slider. Everything Wahl throws is hard and he lacks separation between his three off-speed pitches. His stuff generates swing-and-miss when he stays in the zone, but his ceiling is limited by below-average command.”
Adam Hill was the Mets fourth rounder out of South Carolina after a strong three year run in the Gamecocks rotation. At 6-foot-6, 185 pounds, Hill projects to be a future mid-rotation arm at best, or an innings eating back-end starter at worst. Hill throws a 90-93 MPH fastball which he relies on heavily. His primary secondary is a low-80s slider and he throws the two pitches in any count. His changeup is his primary weapon against lefties. He showed he was too advanced for short-season ball in his small 15.1 inning sample as he racked up 26 strikeouts. He checks in at number 19 on the Brewers top 30 list.
Felix Valerio is the lotto ticket portion of this deal for the Brewers, but there’s a lot to like here. Valerio paced the Dominican Summer League with 84 hits and his 6.9% strikeout rate was fourth lowest in the league for qualified hitters. At only 5-foot-7 Valerio is going to have to continue to hit and will have to earn every opportunity he gets but so far so good. He hit .319/.409/.433 with 22 extra base hits and 16 steals over 67 games and should make his stateside debut next year as an 18-year old.