Thursday, December 17, 2015

Trade Analysis: Rogers for Broxton/Supak

The Bucs dipped into the minor league depth tonight and pulled off a trade of players around the fringes, reeling in corner player Jason Rogers from the Brewers for OF Keon Broxton and RHP Trey Supak.

Rogers is not a gifted (or for that matter, even good) defensive player, but he can line up at first, third or a corner OF spot. He was brought in as an offensive piece of the bench, and could serve as a hot corner insurance policy if Jung Ho Kang isn't up to speed early in the season. His MLB slash in 191 PAs is .286/.358/.429, with acceptable K and BB numbers. He also has shown a reverse split in the show, making him useful as a pinch hitter and a possible platoon partner for Michael Morse in a quickly shrinking first base market. (We'll have his bio/report up later).

Jason Rogers (photo Scott Kane/USA Today)
In exchange, the Brewers brought in Broxton and Supak. The deal suits both clubs. The Pirates were looking for a productive bench bat and the Brewers are looking for young guys as they rebuild.

Broxton, approaching his age 26 season, is a raw but athletic outfielder with speed to burn.  He had good credentials, being a third round pick of Arizona in 2009 and making appearances in their Top 30 Prospect list. During 2015, Keon had a decent minor league slash of .273/.357/.438 with 39 stolen bases between Altoona and Indy, earning a late September call up, mainly as a pinch runner.

He struggles at the plate, but his outfield defense is major league and he's a plus runner. The Brewers put him on their 40-man roster and said he has a shot at breaking camp with them as a fourth outfielder, which seems to be his projection as a big leaguer. The Bucco system is awash in outfield prospects, and so it's no surprise that one of them was finally dealt; he won't be the last. Broxton is a work in progress; reading major league pitchers on the bases and handling off speed stuff at the plate are two weaknesses that were apparent in his brief Bucco stint.

Keon Broxton (photo via
Supak, 19, was drafted out of high school in the 2014 sandwich round and signed to a $1M bonus. rated him as the Pirates #15 prospect, and his development is probably the key to the deal. He's a big kid - 6'5" - with a flat low 90s heater, a curve that's sometimes on, sometimes off and a changeup that lags behind the other two pitches.

In two seasons at Bradenton in the GCL, he went 2-5/6.02, not a very promising jump out of the gate with time missed last year. But the Pirate MO is to pound the fastball first with their developing pitchers, so it may be that focusing a downhill angle for his heater explains his struggles with the breaking stuff. The teen has just 52-1/3 MiLB frames under his belt, and he has to be considered raw rather than a wash out at this point of his career. The Brewers are betting on a little patience and a lot of growth from Supak, who still projects as an eventual MLB starter.

Trey Supak (photo Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)
So the deal works for both sides. The Pirates deepened their bench with a bat that can handle, in a small sample, pitching from either side. He can also allow Josh to play second in April (caveat emptor: Rogers played one NL game at third last year, tho he has extensive MiLB work there) and then slide over to give Morse a blow until Josh Bell figures out how to work his 1B mitt. It's a short term move to try to keep them competitive in a dog-eat-dog division. For Milwaukee, which like the Reds are in full-blown rebuild mode, it adds a couple of guys that could pan out in the future as they stock up on youth.

It also fits into farm philosophies. The Pirates don't seem to be terribly patient with guys like Supak (or Rob Grossman, JaCoby Jones, etc.), preferring some production attached to potential, while the Brewers are willing to roll the dice on young guys growing up eventually. Last year, if you recall, they swapped A-Ram for Yhonathan Barrios, 23, and after a terrible campaign at Indy, he made the show at Milwaukee and put up 6-2/3 scoreless frames in his September cup of coffee with seven whiffs. Small sample again, but the Brewers are looking for potential. The Pirates are looking for pennants.

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