Brewers minor league trade chip #1: SS Brice Turang
The Brewers had gone 31 years since they last drafted a shortstop in the first round of the MLB Draft. They broke that drought when they selected Brice Turang 21st overall in 2018.
Since then, Turang was seen as Milwaukee’s shortstop of the future. He was a high school hitter, but a pretty advanced one, with a strong hit tool, and the defensive chops to stick at shortstop. Turang has met or exceeded expectations every step of the way.
Turang made it up to Triple-A in 2021 as a 21 year old, and was incredibly young for the level. His stats dipped a little from his production in Double-A earlier in the year, but he held his own. He showed great plate discipline, drawing walks, not striking out much, and playing a very strong shortstop. When he was drafted, some evaluators had concerns he might not be able to stay at short. But he has clearly proven he can.
The problem with all of this, is that the starting shortstop job in Milwaukee isn’t really open to new applicants. While Turang was lighting it up in the minors, David Stearns swung a trade for Willy Adames to fix the Brewers big league shortstop problem. Adames is under team control for the next three seasons. Turang is going to be ready for the big leagues at some point in 2022.
Secondary positions, such as second base and third base aren’t really available as Kolten Wong is under contract for another year, possibly two, and Luis Urias is coming into his own at the hot corner. Turang isn’t going to be called up to ride the bench or be a utility guy. He’s capable and deserving of being a starter, but will it be with Milwaukee?
Turang staying at shortstop is immensely more valuable to both him and the Brewers. Teams will pay much more for a shortstop than they will for a second baseman.
If the Brewers are going to make a blockbuster trade, if they’re going to trade for anyone big, a true impact player, Turang is likely to be in that return package.
Of the top tier of Brewers prospects, Turang is the most expendable based on his position and how the big league roster is currently constructed. The outfield prospects they’ll keep as that group will be in flux in each of the next two years and jobs will be open. The pitching prospects the Brewers will hoard because they know how good they can make them. But Turang is blocked, and the Brewers love Adames.
Barring something happening to Adames, a trade of Turang may be in the near future, whether it be once the lockout ends and the Brewers make a big trade to kick off the season, or even at the trade deadline as Stearns pushes the roster all-in once again in July.
Turang has a bright future and will be deserving of a big league shortstop job soon. It’s just not looking like the Brewers will have that opportunity for him.
For nearly all of the players on this list, they appear to be blocked one way or another. They’re good prospects and good players, but their brightest futures may not be in Milwaukee, and the Brewers can get good value for them to improve other areas of the roster.