Last week, I highlighted a couple of players that the Brewers need to trade in order to start getting serious about the rebuild they are currently in the midst of. Those players were Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Carter. But who should they keep? What borderline players (in age and ability) should the Brewers hold on to?
The first player that comes to mind, for me, is Jonathan Villar. At 25 years old, Villar has the ability to play most of the infield positions. Currently, he’s slotted in at the shortstop position, but with Orlando Arcia coming to the majors sometime this year, Villar is either going to have to head to the bench or change positions. Lucky for the Brewers, he has the utility to play third or first, but the Crew shouldn’t just keep him for his utility.
Villar’s speed on the bags has proven to be a huge positive. Despite the fact Villar has ran into multiple outs at third base, he is among the league leaders in stolen bases with 14. Improving at the plate, he’s also hit for an average of .286. The best part about Villar’s success so far this season, however, is the fact Villar now allows the Brewers a long term option at first or third base – two positions that the Brewers are lacking in long term options. So once his power begins to come back, Villar will be an even greater asset for this team moving forward.
The next player the Brewers should keep for the long haul is pitcher Chase Anderson. The right-hander started the year with two games of 5+ IP of shutout pitching, but then began to struggle. Last week though, against the red-hot Chicago Cubs, Anderson flirted with a no-hitter. In that game, Anderson showed great control of his fastball, locating it perfectly on the corners. In his last two starts, he’s gone 13.2 innings, only allowed seven hits and has struck out 12. Anderson may be 28, but he’s only been in the league for two years and has never had the opportunity to be a part of the rotation like he will be this year for the Brewers. He is only just starting to flash some of his potential as a solid 3 or 4 man in a future rotation for the Brewers.
This next one is going to sound crazy, but just bear with me for a second. Junior Guerra, the right handed pitcher who didn’t make his MLB debut until the ripe age of 30, is a player the Brewers should not trade. Through four games at the major league level, Guerra is 3-0 with an ERA below four and has already struck out 24. One of those three wins also came over the Cubs, as Guerra showed an ability to handle baseball’s best hitters.
Now, Guerra may not be in the future rotation for the Brewers, but he could prove as a reliable arm in the bullpen working long relief and could spot start if injuries occur. And, perhaps the biggest reason you don’t let either Anderson or Guerra go, is due to the simple fact they are slowly beginning to find their way to becoming reliable, consistent, slightly above average pitchers. Pitchers like Anderson and Guerra have proven harder to find than above average bats and one thing all contending teams have in common are the reliable pitchers they lean on through the bulk of their seasons. Both Guerra and Anderson can become a part of a future Brewers pitching staff that is reliable, unlike the staff dealt to the Brewers this season.
All stats from MLB.com