David Stearns has been making quite a splash in the MLB since becoming the youngest GM, at age 30, for the Milwaukee Brewers in order to help them rebuild. Other than the splashy Segura move, Stearns has made some under-the-radar moves that could positively impact Milwaukee baseball. A team like the Brewers is not rebuilding from a dominant, star studded team. They are rebuilding from the ground up. It’s important for a rebuilding team to acquire young, cheap, and controllable talent. David Stearns has been quietly acquiring some low budget, former top prospects under our noses. However, all that’s heard in the media is the Segura trade and Lucroy rumors. These players below are low-risk, high-reward for the Brew Crew. I do believe Stearns could be up to something, uncovering some cheap valuable talent that could turn out to be hidden gems. Meet Garin Cecchini and Rymer Liriano.
Garin Cecchini 3rd/1st and LF
In 2014, at Triple-A, Cecchini had a very average year, but 2015 is what really made the Red Sox want to move on from the once top prospect with the awful slash of .213/.286/.296 and a OPS of .583. The Milwaukee Brewers decided to scoop him up acquiring him for cash considerations. 3rd base couldn’t be any more shallow for the Brewers and adding Garin seems more like a depth and competition move. I feel David Stearns could be uncovering a very solid player in here in Cecchini.
Look past his dreadful year to see his potential.
Garin Cecchini was once one of the Red Sox’s top prospects before 2014, ranked #51 by Baseball Prospectus. He plays third base, first, and some outfield. Cecchini’s slash was .322/.443/.471 with an OPS of .915 split between A/AA. These are very good numbers that prove he can handle the bat well. This shows where the top prospect status comes from. Cecchini also possesses some speed as he stole 51 bases at the Single A level. He is a not a complete burner with his speed, but runs well. Getting on base has always been the strongest aspect of his game. Pure hitting and his on base expertise has always been praised in scouting reports. Cecchini is average defensively, not great. Garin has good size at 6’ 3” but his size doesn’t translate into power. In fact, he has never hit more than 7 home runs at any level in professional baseball. His lack of power may not be a huge factor for the Brewers at this point regarding the 3rd base position for them since it is so shallow. Scouts have always raved about him and Stearns sees something worthwhile in him.
Keith Law scouted Cecchini saying, “He showed he could really hit, projecting as a consistent .300-plus hitter whose future hit grade is a 65 or a 70.”
Baseball Prospectus describes him, “Excellent hand/eye coordination; natural bat-to-ball skills; hit tool could end up well above average.”
A change of scenery could rejuvenate his career. Let’s say he bounces back, makes the Brewers and slashes around .285/.390/.425. That would result in quality player for the Brewers to have. Maybe as he figures things out in a few years, he could be up around .300, This could all very well be wishful thinking, but Cecchini has had scouts raving about him for reasons. There is definitely a reason to keep an eye on this young man. It sometimes takes players a little while longer to figure it all out and David Stearns is hoping Garin finds his mojo with the Brew Crew. Third base is his to win and hopefully that inner top prospect talent comes back for him. This was literally a no risk, high reward move for Milwaukee, and that reward could be a quality 3rd baseman. If he still struggles, then nothing is lost.
Rymer Liriano OF
Rymer Liriano, a toolsy outfielder the Brewers acquired from the San Diego Padres for left-hander Trevor Seidenberger. Liriano is a very intriguing player to look into.
Bernie Pleskoff wrote in 2014, “That fall, what I saw daily from Liriano was a rare mix of power and speed tools for a player his size. Along with his potent bat and better-than-average speed for his 6-foot, 230-pound frame, Liriano flashed a much-better-than-average arm from right field. In fact, he threw so hard, his mechanics and velocity may have even contributed to the need for his career-interrupting elbow surgery last year. At the time of his operation, Liriano was ranked the No. 3 prospect in the Padres’ organization. He is currently ranked No. 6 on San Diego’s Top 20 Prospect list.”
In 2014 he slashed .291/.361/.473 with 14 home runs and an OPS of .836 between AA/AAA. In the 14 games he played at AAA, he hit a whopping .452 which led his Major League call-up that year. Then, in 36 games with the Padres, Liriano struggled mightily hitting, .220/.289/.266 with an OPS of .555. This poor play resulted in his demotion back to AAA for the 2015 season. Last year, he had similar numbers to those of 2014, even slightly better, .292/.383/.460 with an OPS of .843 and 14 bombs as well. To show his speed, in 2011, Liriano had 66 stolen bases.
Liriano has a very unique skill set and could be a special player. His numbers at Triple-A were great in 2015 and for the position the Padres are in, it is baffling they would trade him right now. He is a player with an immediate chance to positively impact a team with many tools. It is unclear where he would fit in with the Brewers in the outfield right now, but could definitely compete for time in center field. Liriano showed his talent last year and could translate it to the Major League level with the Brewers. With his track record of minor league success and various tools, Rymer Liriano could end up being a gem for Milwaukee.
These two moves are both low risk, high reward. It seems that these transactions could be great for the Brew Crew. Let’s hope these two players pan out and David Stearns could look like a genius to us all. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
All stats from: Baseball-Reference.com
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