Last week, the Brewers were forced to make the necessary moves to fill the 40 man roster. I hate this time of the year, beacause these moves leave minor league players exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.
With only 4 available slots, the Brewers had some tough decisions to make. Of the 4 spots, 2 of them went to Hunter Morris and Jason Rogers. No brainer. Morris was the Brewers minor leaguer of the year in 2012 and Rogers is the reigning award winner. You will get no argument from me on these two guys. It was the next two available spots that caught me off guard.
In addition to Morris and Rogers, the Brewers elected to add pitching prospects Brooks Hall and Kevin Shackelford. I know very little (nothing) about Brooks Hall outside of the stats I could find on-line. Seems like there could be some potential there, but I am not a scout…so I have no idea. Shackelford I know a little bit more about based on his meteoric rise during the 2013 season. The Brewers originally drafted Kevin as a catcher, but quickly realized he had an exceptional sinker and made him a pitcher. This was his first full season in the minor leagues as a pitcher and he was nothing but dominant. He finished the season as the closer for Double-A Huntsville and was lights out. Shackelford seems to be on the fast track to the big leagues, considering how weak the bullpen has been over the past two seasons. Then when you consider the loses of John Axford(trade), Mike Gonzalez (free-agency), and Burke Badenhop (trade) it makes sense to keep a guy like this safe.
This leads me to one of the more well known players who will be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft in two weeks, who I fully expect to be snatched up and removed from the Brewers organization…Kentrail Davis. First I am going to share what I think about him, and then I am going to crawl inside the mind of Uncle Mark (Attanasio) and Aunt Doug (Melvin) and try to imagine what they see.
Lou on Kentrail:
Aside from being our first round draft pick in the 2009 draft, Davis has been one of our most consistent players in the minors over the past few seasons. I love that he bats Left and throws Right, he is compact (fancy baseball talk for short and stocky), and has impressive speed on defense and around the base paths. Over the course of his minor league career he has maintained a .359 on-base percentage, and has 490 hits over 4 seasons. His defense is very strong and appears to be getting better at each level. That is something you don’t often see. There is a lot to like about the guy.
The Brewers on Kentrail:
Good kid with a lot of hustle. Davis is never going to evolve into a star player; he is more of a 4th outfielder/pinch runner/ pinch hitter type. There is already a crowded outfield with Braun, Gomez, Aoki, Davis, Schafer, and Gindl. We will most likely have to send one or two of those guys back to Triple-A, which will limit Kentrail’s playing time at that level even more. Love his raw talent, attitude, and work ethic…but we also loved all of those things in Mark Rogers and Eric Arnett. We also have Victor Roache and Mitch Haniger coming down the pipe soon. No reason to save him when we value 1st baseman and pitchers more than outfielders.
So, to answer the question I posed as the title of this article…yes, I believe the Brewers made the right call. However, the reason has very little to do with any of the things I mentioned above.
Khris Davis made this the right call.
At the start of the 2013 season, I believed that of the two K. Davis’, Kentrail would be the first to crack the major league roster. Both guys were drafted in 2009, after being drafted previously by other teams but choosing to go back to college. Khris had superior offensive stats over the past 4 years, but was a much weaker defensive player than Kentrail. Once Braun was suspended and Gomez got hurt, I was surprised to see Khris and not Kentrail called up. But, 11 home runs and 27 RBI’s later I realized that maybe the Brewers knew what they were doing. The fact that Khris Davis is causing the Brewers to shop a player like Nori Aoki, is reason enough for the Brewers to let Kentrail face the open market. The potential ages of our starting outfield, going into 2014, could be 25, 30, and 27. Braun has another half decade and some change on his contract, as does Gomez, and if Khris Davis can continue to develop…this outfield might be locked down until the 2018 season.
There are plenty of teams who could use a player like Kentrail Davis, but with the depth our organization has in the outfield…the guy is expendable.
While I am sad to see him go (probably), hopefully he will catch on somewhere outside of the NL Central. I wish him nothing but the best of luck in all of his future endeavors…except for when (if) he plays the Brewers. Then I wish him nothing but strikeouts and errors.
Kentrail Davis, we hardly knew ye.