Never content with his 40 man roster, Slingin’ David Stearns reportedly made a new acquisition in advance of last night’s win over the Giants:
The Milwaukee Brewers have yet to announce the transaction as of this morning, but Brooks himself seems to have confirmed that he’ll be on the move:
Brooks, a 27 year old right handed pitcher, began his career back in 2011 as a 9th round pick by the Kansas City Royals. He debuted in the majors with Kansas City back in 2014, and in 2015 was shipped to Oakland as a part of the package for Ben Zobrist. He would join the Cubs the following February, when he was dealt to Chicago for Chris Coghlan shortly after pitchers and catchers reported in 2016.
Brooks has made 15 appearances (10 starts) across parts of two big league seasons from 2014-2015, but he hasn’t fared very well. In 58.0 innings, the righty has coughed up an unsightly 8.38 ERA with 40 strikeouts, 17 walks, and a whopping 10 home runs allowed. Neither FIP (5.19) nor DRA (6.38) view his work at the MLB level very favorably, either. For his minor league career, he owns a 4.59 ERA across 805.1 innings with marks of 6.9 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.
Brooks suffered a hip contusion in Spring Training in 2016 and wound up missing almost the entire season, making only 5 appearances (4 starts) for the Cubs’ AAA affiliate. Fully healthy in 2017, he returned to AAA Iowa and thus far has made 24 starts and pitched 138.0 innings, though with a ugly 6.20 ERA. Home runs have again been a bugaboo, as he’s served up a whopping 27 of them this season. He has produced solid marks of 6.8 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 this year, though, and at least one metric gives reason to believe he’s pitched much better than his run prevention totals suggest. According to Deserved Run Average, his 3.36 tally says he’s been 36% better than league average for the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League this season.
During his brief time in the majors, Brooks has brandished a five-pitch arsenal that consists of a four-seam fastball, sinker, changeup, slider, and curveball. His fastball regularly sits between 91-93 MPH, and he relies most often on his 83 MPH changeup and 86 MPH slider as his secondary offerings. Brooks has only average “stuff” and doesn’t miss many bats, but he rarely issues free passes and when he’s right, will generate a good amount of soft contact. He’s been fly-ball prone during his time in the big leagues, but has generated solid ground ball rates in the minors, including inducing them at a 50% clip so far in 2017. He has a durable starter’s build at 6’4” and 220 lbs, and comes at batters from a high three-quarters arm slot.
Brooks may still have the upside of a #5 starter, but at this point it’s more likely he’s a swingman/rotation depth arm than anything else. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs a few days ago when they claimed Rene Rivera, and Aaron will report to AAA Colorado Springs upon officially joining the organization. Given that he’ll have a spot on the 40 man roster it’s quite possible we’ll see him with the Brewers in September, though. Brooks has a little over a year of big league service time, meaning Milwaukee can control his contract for up to five more seasons if they so choose.
Milwaukee’s 40 man roster was full when the claim of Brooks was reported, so there will need to be a corresponding move announced when the Brewers make the transaction official.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs