With the 2020 baseball season delayed, it seems unlikely that the Brewers are going to have a trade deadline to worry about this year, if a season even happens.
Normally around this time of year, right after the MLB Draft wraps up and we get into the dog days of summer, the focus for teams like the Brewers turns to the Trade Deadline that’s at the end of July. Contending teams ramp up their scouting of players on selling teams and assess their needs for the upcoming run to the playoffs.
Prospects get exchanged for big leaguers that can help right now and improve the outlook for both organizations involved.
With a season of somewhere between 50-60 games possibly happening this year, and Opening Day likely around mid-late July, a trade deadline on July 31st seems unlikely.
In some ways, this is good news for the Brewers. GM David Stearns has built up plenty of depth on the big league roster, so they should be covered in any situation, plus the Crew’s farm system is ranked as one of the worst in baseball. They won’t have to dip into what’s already a very shallow pool of valuable prospects to compete with teams that have a much deeper pool and can get more talented players.
If deals needed to be made, these players would likely have to have been available to make trades to improve the big league roster and who are now saved for the Brewers farm system without a trade deadline this year. A trade deadline hasn’t been officially called off, but that seems the most likely scenario whenever an agreement for the season is reached.
Brice Turang, SS
Coming into this year, Brice Turang has been the Brewers top prospect, although the addition of Garrett Mitchell is going to push him to No. 2. Turang had a strong 2019 season in Low-A Wisconsin and got off to a slow start with High-A Carolina after a mid-season promotion.
Shortstops are always in demand and Turang has the defensive ability to stick at the position and his hit tool is very strong.
The Brewers currently have Orlando Arcia and Luis Urias as big league shortstops, both of whom are under team control for several seasons. However, neither of them have the job locked down moving forward and the battle for the starting job has yet to play out.
That makes keeping Turang in the organization extremely important.
However, his status as the top prospect in the system coming into this year makes him a likely target for any team in trade talks. If the Brewers were to go after a top player on the trade market, Turang would have to be included. But since the trade deadline is unlikely to happen, there won’t be any pressure to put him on the block.
Aaron Ashby/Ethan Small, LHPs
Left handed pitchers are almost in as much demand as shortstops. Aaron Ashby has built a solid track record in the minor leagues with a 3.53 career ERA over two seasons and 33 starts. Ethan Small posted a miniscule 0.86 ERA in seven starts last season.
Ashby and Ethan Small are the two top pitching prospects in the Brewers farm system. When a team targets a pitcher a the trade deadline, generally there’s at least one pitcher going back in return. If the Brewers were going to look at adding some top pitching in July, teams would be asking about Ashby and Small.
Both of these players are key to the Brewers’ current comfort with their pitching depth. During the shortened 2020 MLB Draft, the Brewers selected all offensive players, forgoing pitching in an extremely deep pitching class. If those two weren’t in the system, the Crew would face a serious shortage of high-end arms in the minors.
Mario Feliciano, C
The Brewers have some strong catching depth throughout the minors. Coming into the 2020 draft, the Crew had more catchers in their Top 30 prospects list than infielders. The best of these catchers is Mario Feliciano.
Feliciano has above average power, solid bat-to-ball skills, and is a strong defender. He’s a very well-rounded catcher and should reach the big leagues relatively soon.
Currently, the Brewers have Omar Narvaez and Manny Pina at the big league level and both are under team control for a few more years. The Brewers appear set in the near future at the catcher position, which could have made Feliciano a very attractive target for other teams in trade talks.
But without a trade deadline this year, that won’t be a concern.
The Brewers need to keep as many of their good prospects as possible and their trades over the past few years at the deadline have thinned the farm system.