The fantastically fun voyage of the Milwaukee Brewers into bullpen rebuilding began today when Raul Mondesi, Jr. – a minor league outfielder – was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop.
Now, no one expected Milwaukee to jump right into the free agent and trade market with a big splash. Doug Melvin and Company stayed true to their word and toed around in the edge.
Did they pull a up a winner in Badenhop?
In terms of what the team gave up to get him, it looks like a fine job by Milwaukee. Raul Mondesi Jr. is a three-season veteran of the Brewers’ rookie league system, totaling a .243/.305/.371 slash line with 12 homers and 76 runs batted in over his career. In terms of name alone, he seems to be an intriguing choice seeing what his father did in the bigs. In reality, however, he is incredibly raw and does not project the power that dear ol’ dad had. He’s a gap hitter with a fairly weak outfield arm and will certainly have promise for Tampa Bay, but is a project nonetheless. Also, this.
But enough about what we gave up, let’s talk about the gains in this venture. Burke Badenhop seems like he’ll fit right in with the Brewers. He’s a film buff and aspiring screenwriter – like his new ‘pen mate John Axford. He’s a philanthropist and was an academic standout in high school and his alma mater, Bowling Green.
He also knows how to play Miller Park – his only starting appearance saw him strike out seven Brewers in 2008.
Badenhop has a career K/9 rate of 6.67, an ERA of 4.08 and a 16-17 record. He’s really never gone longer than two full innings since moving to the bullpen, but mixes his pitches well enough to be effective in the short run. He uses mainly a splitter and a sinker – the former touching in the lower 90’s and the latter residing mainly in the high 80’s. He has a good low 80’s change that’s rarely brought out (same goes for the curveball which hasn’t been seen in about two years), but he relies on a slider as well.
Badenhop has a knack for leaving people on base – a rare commodity indeed for a Brewers bullpen that gave up an astronomical amount of runs in 2012. As a middle reliever he profiles just fine in Milwaukee’s bullpen, and will hopefully add some of the nerve and poise the relief corps has lacked of late.
Welcome to Milwaukee Burke. Here’s hoping for a long and fruitful career in the Brewers blue.