Two years ago today, Milwaukee and Houston completed a 6 player deal which sent star outfielder Carlos Gomez and starting pitcher Mike Fiers to the Astros in exchange for four prospects. Two pitching prospects, RHP Adrian Houser and LHP Josh Hader were sent to Milwaukee in the deal along with outfielders Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana.
Fiers went on to be a very solid add for Houston, tossing a no hitter in late August that season. He did slip a tad in 2016 posting a 4.48 ERA and his strikeout numbers were way down. He has had a solid season for Houston as he has brought his ERA down to 3.71 and has bolstered his strikeout numbers which he is known for. Gomez struggled batting .242 in only 41 games. He was a big contributor in the Wild Card game leading them to a victory over the Yankees. Gomez was eventually cut by the Astros after a terrible first half where he posted a .210 average. He was picked up by the Rangers and began to find his stroke again. He has not been excellent this season either by any means as he is hitting below the .250 mark in 73 games on a struggling Ranger team.
Adrian Houser has not looked excellent in the minors in his young career. Given he hasn’t pitched at all yet this year due to injury, there isn’t an exact assessment you can place on the guy. He was a 2nd round pick of the Astros in 2011 and has potential to bounce back from his struggles however. Josh Hader has been a revelation to the Brewers bullpen this year. He has a sub-1 ERA in 20 innings of work to go along with 24 strikeouts. The walks are the only point of concern as he has walked 12 guys in his 20 innings as well, but has only given up 8 hits and 1 homer. That homer was to Aaron Judge. The best part about Hader is that he is only 23 years old and has plenty of time to grow and master the command of all of his pitches.
Brett Phillips is already a fan favorite in Milwaukee even as much as he has bounced up and down between the major and minor leagues. We all know about his hilarious laugh, or dreadful laugh, whichever way you want to look at it. You also hear many stories about how he is always signing autographs for the fans and interacting with them on social media. It is a great look for him, the Brewers, and the sport. His second stint with the club was much better than the first as he began to find his stroke hitting two homers and boosting his average up. He also displayed excellent range in centerfield. He has shown massive power in the minor leauges hitting 17 homers in AAA Colorado Springs this year. He also has improved his batting average based on past seasons as he is hovering close to .300. He does strikeout quite a bit however as he has whiffed 94 times in 287 at bats.
The real steal of this trade to me for Milwaukee was outfielder Domingo Santana. We all knew about his power especially to the opposite field. What has been most surprising this year has been his consistency at the plate. He has brought his average from the .250 range to hovering around the .290 range for a majority of the season. He has been Milwaukees second best run producer this season bringing in 55 RBI’s. He is a very reliable outfielder too only making 5 errors in 100 games this season. He is an excellent guy to anchor your outfield around for years to come.