The Milwaukee Brewers continue to reshape their farm system with interesting little pieces here and there. The overhaul really started when Carlos Gomez left town and they added Brett Phillips, Josh Hader and Adrian Houser. They have been busy the past week acquiring newer pieces.
First they snagged Garin Cecchini for cash, then picked up three more pitchers in exchange for Adam Lind. Yesterday they brought in two Pirates prospects for first baseman Jason Rogers, outfielder Keon Broxton and pitcher Trey Supak. Let's take a bit of a closer look at Broxton and Supak.
KEON BROXTON, outfielder
The 25-year old right handed outfielder got his first cup of tea in the Majors last season. He may have outgrown his "prospect" status a bit as he appears to be close to making a big league roster, but he is still a young piece to the Brewers much needed overhaul.
Broxton was drafted twice, first by the Phillies in the 29th round of the MLB Draft in 2008 and then a year later by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round. The Pirates would purchase his contract at the end of the 2014 season, and he would go on to have a nice 2015 over two levels in the organization.
He started the year off very well in Double-A Altoona, slashing .302/.365/.464 with 19 extra base hits in 179 at bats. He would spend the majority of the season with Triple-A Indianapolis slashing .256/.352/.423. He finished the season with 27 doubles, 12 triples, 10 home runs and 39 stolen bases, so he is a jack of all trades.
He has one of those slightly open stances that closes up as the ball approaches and is seemingly always moving the bat until he’s locked in on his pitch. He has quick hands from the videos I have seen. Take a look for yourself.
At the plate, his biggest weakness remains his struggles with breaking balls and laying off bad pitches. He struck out 156 times in 571 plate appearances, a 27% rate. He walked 66 times, so seemingly the only thing that is slowing from a permanent slot on a roster. He is a sound defender with speed and good glove work, so he could become a fourth outfielder pretty quickly.
This does not show off his true defensive skill set, but man, what a catch:
Right now, I simply can’t see him getting full-time at bats against Major League pitching until he becomes less of a free swinger, but he should compete for a roster spot this spring.
TREY SUPAK, pitcher
The good news is that Supak is still just 19-years old. Here was something that stuck with me that our own John Sickles said about Supak entering the 2015 season:
Upside: number three starter. Downside: never gets out of A-ball
So let’s review Supak’s career thus far. He struggled in the GCL in 2014 after getting drafted in the supplemental second round. He made eight appearances, starting six of them posting a 4.88 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. He struck out 21 while walking 11 over just 24 innings pitched.
This past season, he remained in Rookie ball, but this time with the Bristol Pirates in the Appalachian League. He would start all eight of his outings in 2015 and go 28.1 innings. The good news was that he decreased his walk rate significantly allowing only five free passes, which in turn helped lower his WHIP, still a frighteningly high 1.41. He posted a 6.88 ERA striking out 23 batters.
Supak has a huge frame standing at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds. As I said, he is only 19, so there is room to grow some muscle and bulk and add even more fire to his fastball that already sits in the mid-90s. He is very athletic and has an easy motion, he just needs to get better with delivering his pitches consistently.
Here’s a video from the guys at FanGraphs that shows him working a batter:
Completely irrelevant observation, but do you notice he wears his pants like C.C. Sabathia, way more baggy than other pitchers? Like I said, completely irrelevant, but if the way one wears their pants is any indication of future success, that is a solid comparison.
Seems like he has a pretty safe delivery, with an overhand delivery, a fast arm and straight to the plate approach. That big frame must make it harder on opposing hitters to get a read, but the makeup appears to be there.
Supak adds a curveball, which most feel has come along nicely and simply just needs to be more consistent. He also has a changeup, but from what I’ve seen in many scouting reports — although it projects as a Major League pitch — he has a long way to go.
You can never go wrong adding a 19-year old power arm — especially one with a smooth delivery in this day of inverted-W's (also called a M)and Tommy John — but Supak is far from a sure thing. It will be interesting to see how he handles A ball this season as it should be the logical progression.