OAKLAND- Billy Beane does not know what it means to “rebuild”.
Once more the man behind Moneyball has surprised baseball once more, this time by trading prospects Jacob Nottingham and Bubba Derby for power-hitting outfielder Khris Davis.
This deal is quite risky for Brew Crew, as Nottingham and Derby are both 6th rounders who were never regarded as top prospects, though both had strong years in the minors in 2015. Derby, a starter who can come out of the pen, had a 1.21 ERA and a .911 WHIP in 12 games (10 starts) in Rookie and Low A ball for the Athletics. Nottingham, a 20 year old catcher, had a stellar season between Houston’s single-A and A+ teams and Oakland’s A+ team. Overall he slashed .316/.372/.505 and hit 17 dingers in just 119 games. The one problem for the young catcher is that he can’t catch. In his 89 games behind the plate, Nottingham gave up 5 errors and 19 passed balls. He was a bit better at first base, where he had only 2 errors in 18 games (a .986 fielding %), so that might become his primary position in the future.
Khris Davis, a former 7th rounder, goes to Oakland as one of the most underrated players in baseball. In his three years with the Brewers, he has proved that he has the potential to be a really solid starter in the majors for a long time. Last year he slashed .247/.323/.505 and hit 27 home runs in just 121 games. Davis has the potential to hit 30 or more home runs just as long as he stays healthy. Davis is entering his age 28 season and has displayed flashes of becoming a star.
Billy Beane’s Athletics may be (or at least should be) in rebuilding mode, but this move is hard not to take no matter what the state of your team is. To be able to get a guy who was 3rd in the NL with 14.5 at-bats per home run last season for two unproven 6th rounders is a great deal, and it is very likely that this deal will come back to bite Milwaukee in the coming years as Davis enters his prime.