The Brewers have been entertaining offers for Adam Lind for quite a long time now. He was clearly going to be traded this offseason as he had no on-field value to the rebuilding Brewers. I think fans might have been overvaluing him a bit though. Don't misunderstand me. He's a good player. But he can't hit lefties and is only on a one year deal. He was never going to get a top prospect in return.
So while I know a lot of people find the fact that not a single prospect was in the Mariners Top 30--according to MLB Pipeline anyway--I think there is something smart about what the Brewers have done here. Since they weren't going to get a top prospect what they did instead was get three young players. It's not necessarily a matter of quantity vs quality. It's spreading a wider net.
By acquiring three young pitchers they're playing the odds in hopes that one of them can have a break out as they develop and reach the upper levels. I think this is a great way of turning 1 year of Adam Lind into future assets. And it's not like these kids don't have talent.
The Mariners signed Carlos Herrera during the 2014-2015 international signing period. At the time of the signing Baseball America had this to say about him:
He has a long, lanky, projectable frame at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds. Once he gets stronger, that should allow him to add to his fastball, which tops out at 90 mph, and he shows ability to spin a 72-74 mph curveball.
So while he's not on a current top prospect list it's at least in part because he's so very young and so very new to baseball. But so were Marcos Diplan and Miguel Diaz. I don't mean to equate Herrera's talent level with theirs. But these young international prospects tend to pop out of nowhere. I absolutely don't mean to suggest this will happen, but it might. And that's a reasonable bet for David Stearns to make.
Daniel Misska represented Brazil in the last World Baseball Classic. At 16 years old he was the youngest player in the entire tournament. He did have Tommy John surgery this year which pushes back his ETA a year. Here's what FanGraphs' had to say about him:
Brazilian teenager signed for a $150,000 bonus and already has advanced feel to pitch despite limited high-level innings; he sits 89-91 mph with life, working in an solid average changeup and curveball that's average at times
FanGraphs had Freddy Peralta outside the Mariners top prospects coming into 2015 but provide some interesting tidbits. They had this to say about him:
only 5'11 and right-handed isn't a good start, but he's up to 94 mph with a clean arm action and delivery with a chance to start
His 2015 season was pretty good. In 57 innings stateside he struck out 28.8% of batters faced and only walked 3.4%. His profile actually does remind me a lot of Miguel Diaz. And that's a very good thing. I found some video of him if you want to check it out.
I can understand if you still feel underwhelmed. I thought the Brewers might be able to get a 50 grade prospect in return. But each of these young kids has talent. By getting three of these kids before their value spikes--if it ever does--he's given himself a chance to get more than one 50 grade prospect. I don't know how likely that is, but I think it's good process.
And I'd like to make a point about prospect lists and grades. The minute a prospect list gets released it becomes obsolete. Prospects are always developing and learning their craft. Or in some cases not developing and not learning. Value fluctuates. Just because a player isn't in a top 30 list right now doesn't mean he won't be in a month or a year. And the opposite holds true. Just because a player is highly rated doesn't mean he's going to hit his ceiling. Need I remind you all of Hunter Morris?
Personally, I'd take this deal over the one the Indians got for Brandon Moss. Rob Kaminsky is close to a 50 grade prospect but I don't think he's more than a back-end starter at best. I'd rather take the chance one of these kids outperforms that projection. And I think that's exactly what David Stearns thinks too.
I'll leave you with this:
While teenagers, in life, are generally the worst, in baseball they are projectable assets & should not be viewed as a negative, even w/risk— Jeff Moore (@jeffmoore_5) December 9, 2015