The Milwaukee Brewers traded starting pitcher Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels Friday evening, in exchange for shortstop prospect Jean Segura and a pair of Double-A right-handers: Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena. Let's take a look at the prospects the Brew Crew received.
Johnny Hellweg, RHP: Hellweg was drafted by the Angels in the 16th round in 2008, from Florida Community College in Jacksonville. He began his pro career as a reliever, but moved to the starting rotation in 2011 and continued that transition this year in Double-A, posting a 5-10 record but a 3.38 ERA in 21 starts for Arkansas, with an 88/60 K/BB in 120 innings, 105 hits, and a 1.52 GO/AO.
Hellweg is a 6-9, 210 pounder, born October 29, 1988, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His key pitch is a mid-to-upper-90s fastball with impressive sinking action. He adds a slider and an occasional curve to the mix. Development of his changeup is in progress. His biggest weakness at this stage is erratic command, a common problem for very tall pitchers who have issues repeating their mechanics.
Considered a closer prospect earlier in his career, he's held his own as a starter over the last year, though he could use some Triple-A time to make further progress with his command.
Ariel Pena, RHP: Pena had a tough debut on the national stage with a dismal outing in the Futures Game, but his 2012 season has otherwise been very successful. He has a 2.99 ERA with a 111/42 K/BB ratio in 114 innings for Arkansas, with 95 hits allowed, a 0.88 ERA, and 14 home runs. His walk rate is improved compared to 2011: he walked 85 in 156 innings in A-ball in 2011, although he also struck out 183.
Pena was signed as a free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2007. A 6-3, 190 pound right-hander, he was born May 20th, 1989. He has plus velocity in the 92-95 range, sometimes higher, and his slider can be very, very good. His changeup isn't as good as the fastball and slider, but he's made substantial progress improving his command this year. His biggest weakness is a tendency to leave pitches too high in the strike zone, resulting in some gopher balls and the occasional blow-up outing. He also has his share of excellent games, too.
Jean Segura, SS: The best-known prospect in the trade, Segura was promoted to the majors a few days ago.
He was hitting .294/.346/.404 for Double-A Arkansas before his promotion to the Show, with 33 steals in 46 attempts, 23 walks and 57 strikeouts in 374 at-bats.
Segura was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. A right-handed hitter, he was born March 17, 1990. Although listed at 5-10, 185, he looks stockier than that, with a thick lower half, although he possesses above-average speed. He has a strong throwing arm and is a decent defensive shortstop, although most scouts believe he'll wind up at second base eventually. He is a line drive hitter with power potential that he hasn't fully tapped. An aggressive hitter, Segura doesn't draw many walks, but is adept at making contact and is expected to hit for average.
In exhange for Greinke, the Brewers got a regular infielder for the near future in Segura, and two lives arms who could develop into solid starting pitchers or at least useful relief assets.