Long rumored to be in possible deals with multiple teams, and almost traded to the Cleveland Indians before a no-trade clause was used, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and closer Jeremy Jeffress have been traded to the Texas Rangers.
In return, the Rangers sent the Brewers their number two and three overall prospects, outfielder Lewis Brinson, pitcher Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named later.
Brinson, who has spent most of the season at the AA level, has hit 11 home runs and has hit for a .237/.280/.431 line. The 22-year old has also stolen 11 bases. With his combo of speed and power, Brinson could turn into a 30-30 hitter once he gets to the majors.
Ortiz has split time between high-A ball and the AA level. Combined, he has a 4-6 record with a 3.48 ERA. He also has totaled 62 strikeouts and only allowed 13 walks and seven homers. The 20-year old was known as the Rangers’ best pitching prospect, not only because of rankings.
Lucroy, who has been enjoying a resurgence after a 2015 that saw numerous injuries, has been one of the best offensive catchers in baseball with a line of .300/.360/.484 that earned him an All-Star appearance. His +2.7 WAR (wins above replacement) is good for third at his position behind fellow All-Stars Wilson Ramos and Buster Posey. He will likely go down as the best catcher ever in franchise history.
Jeffress was having a stellar year from the mound in the closing role. Converting on 27 of his 28 save opportunities, Jeffress has proven to be one of the most reliable closers in baseball this year.
Despite starting the year by welcoming a trade to a contender, which the Brewers were not and still are not as they continue the rebuild process, Lucroy has been a positive leader on this team along with fellow veteran Ryan Braun. With trades sending major pieces off, such as Smith to the Giants and Lucroy/Jeffress to the Rangers, the tight knit Brewers may see a dip in competitiveness in what has been a surprisingly decent year for the rebuilding team.
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