Milwaukee Brewers: Prospects from the Yelich trade?

Matthew Dewoskin
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a home run in the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Miller Park on September 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a home run in the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Miller Park on September 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers acquired outfielder Christian Yelich in exchange for four prospects on January 25th, 2017. How does the deal look almost eight months later?

Christian Yelich will end the 2018 season with a WAR over 5.0. He’ll probably hit over 30 homers and finish the year with an OPS over .900. Yelich could also win a Gold Glove in the off season, and has an outside shot the National League MVP award. But what about the guys he was traded for?

How is Lewis Brinson?

Lewis Brinson was a consensus top-30 prospect in all of baseball before he was traded. He was clearly viewed as the most important piece heading back to Miami in the deal. His first full year in the Majors hasn’t gone well.

Brinson struggled in his short stint with the Milwaukee Brewers, but those struggles have been magnified this year. Brinson owns a .206/.247/.361 slash line in 337 plate appearances so far. He has 11 homers and only one stolen base. His walk rate is only at 4.2%, and his strikeout rate is almost 30%. Brinson clearly needs to make a few adjustments if he wants to stay in the Majors.

What about Monte Harrison?

An impressive showing in 2017 combined with a solid effort in the Arizona Fall League had Monte Harrison rocketing up top prospect rankings. He’s spent all of 2018 at Double-A, and he’s also struggling.

In 136 games with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Harrison has a .240/.316/.399 slash line. He has blasted 19 homers and stolen 28 bases, but other areas of his game haven’t developed. He has a 36.9% strikeout rate in Double-A.

And Isan Diaz?

Isan Diaz earned a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A after posting a .245/.365/.418 slash line in 83 games with the Jumbo Shrimp. In Triple-A, Diaz has struggled. He has a .204/.281/.358 slash line in 36 games with three homers and four steals.

He’s striking out 29.0% of the time in Triple-A, but he’s also walking at 9.7% rate.

How is Jordan Yamamoto?

Jordan Yamamoto started the year on the DL for Miami’s High-A affiliate and didn’t pitch until May 27th. Since then? He’s been fantastic. Yamamoto posted a 1.55 ERA in seven starts in High-A. He struck out 47 and only walked eight in 40 2/3 innings of work.

Yamamoto was promoted to Double-A, and he’ continued to dominate. He’s only made three starts for the Jumbo Shrimp, but he has a 2.12 ERA. In 17 innings in Double-A, Yamamoto has struck out 23 and only walked four.

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It’s clear that the Milwaukee Brewers lost a lot of talent in the trade for Yelich, but they also picked up a franchise cornerstone. They got the guy they thought Harrison or Brinson would become. The trade is a clear win for the Brewers, but it’s not yet a loss for the Miami Marlins. If Yamamoto continues to develop, and Harrison can improve his strike zone judgement, this could end up as a ‘W’ for both teams.

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