Well, that was fast. With a move late Friday afternoon, David Stearns acquired the player who could quite possibly be Milwaukee’s catcher of the future in Jacob Nottingham.
The Brewers gave away Khris Davis in the deal and also received right-handed pitcher Bubba Derby in exchange.
Considered the centerpiece of this deal, Nottingham is ranked as high as the no. three prospect in Oakland (Baseball Prospectus). Nottingham spent three seasons in the Houston Astros’ farm system before he was traded to Oakland in the Scott Kazmir deal.
2015 was a strong year in which Nottingham showed an increase in all areas across the plate. His totals at the multiple minor league teams he played for (Low-A Quad Cities, High-A Lancaster and High-A Stockton). Throughout the season, he developed quicker bat speed which transferred all the way down to generating more contact at the plate. His stat line across the offensive board was .316/.372/.505.
Nottingham produces a consistent and powerful transfer of weight, giving him the label of a power catcher. One struggle of his is that he can have a tendency to expand the zone, as his plate discipline will need to be worked on as he develops through Milwaukee’s farm system. Scouts say even if he can become a .250 hitter, he will be able to make up for it with his raw power, which could end up making him a top-five catcher in baseball.
There are still some doubts about Nottingham’s future behind home plate. His pop time could use some work but that’s due to lack of natural athletic ability. His above-average arm strength may be enough to help resurrect lost time, but it will still be something for him to improve upon, along with his receiving skills. However, despite those worries, he is now the Brewers’ no. 1 catching prospect and will surely be the heir to Lucroy. He will be developed as their catcher of the future and the Brewers will treat him as so as he works his way through the farm system. This deal is the symbol in the sky that Jonathan Lucroy’s days in Milwaukee are numbered. Both the Brewers and Lucroy have mutually expressed that its time to move on and this deal all but finalizes a trade. It seems to be not a matter of if, but when the trade will go down.
Bubba Derby, the other player Milwaukee received in the deal, is a right handed pitcher out of San Diego State. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 Draft by the A’s, he has spent a short time in the minor leagues but has shown strong consistencies. In his 2015 season, he played for two teams, beginning with the Vermont Lake Monsters in Short-A ball. He spent the majority of the year there as he pitched 34.2 innings and limited batters to a low .161 average. He also posted strong numbers in both strikeout and WHIP categories at 45 and 0.84 respectively. He was then promoted to the AZL Athletics late in the year but only appeared in 2.2 innings.
With Davis gone, this likely paves the road for Domingo Santana to receive significant action in left field.
GM David Stearns continues to make moves in this rebuilding process. The Brewers are fully submerged in the rebuild process. Since July, the Brewers have dealt their starting LF, CF, 3B, SS, and 1B, along with a SP (Fiers) and CP (Rodriguez) (via Brewers beat reporter Tom Haudricourt). As we learned in the rapid culmination of events tonight, you never know when a trade is going to unfold. Make sure to keep your eyes pealed as we inch closer and closer to pitchers and catchers reporting.