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  • Justin Topa Traded to Seattle for Minor Leaguer


    Seth Stohs

    On Saturday evening, the Milwaukee Brewers announced that they have traded right-handed reliever Justin Topa to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor-league righty Joseph Hernandez. 

    Image courtesy of Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Brewers Video

     

    It has been widely known that the Mariners were looking to add to their bullpen. One would have to assume that they are still looking for relievers, but they did add 31-year-old Justin Topa from the Brewers on Saturday. 

    Topa made his MLB debut with the Brewers in 2020 and over the past three seasons has worked in a combined 17 games for Milwaukee. 

    Joseph Hernandez is a 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic originally signed back in 2017. In 2022, he went 9-5 with a 3.39 ERA at Low-A Modesto. He made 22 starts (and two relief appearances and tossed a total of 116 2/3 innings. He walked too many (54), but his strikeout total of 143 was quite impressive. 


    While Hernandez was not listed among MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Mariners prospects, the strikeout rate make him an intriguing sleeper prospect. .  

     

     

     

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    “Fangraphs rated him the Mariners No. 13 prospect thanks in large part to his impressive slider.” Per Curt Hogg MJS.

    BTW the link is to the wrong Joseph Hernandez.

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    23 minutes ago, Sixtolezcano said:

    “Fangraphs rated him the Mariners No. 13 prospect thanks in large part to his impressive slider.” Per Curt Hogg MJS.

    BTW the link is to the wrong Joseph Hernandez.

    Yeah, we use the Baseball-Reference linker and it's not perfect.

    Unfortunately, we can't do anything except remove the link, which I will do now.

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    25 minutes ago, Sixtolezcano said:

    “Fangraphs rated him the Mariners No. 13 prospect thanks in large part to his impressive slider.” Per Curt Hogg MJS.

    BTW the link is to the wrong Joseph Hernandez.

    Ha. I hope we didn’t trade for a guy who’s career consists of 11 plate appearances at La Moyne College. 

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    More importantly, perhaps, my good friends:

    Hernandez impressed pretty much everyone in 2022. He won the California League 'Pitcher of the Year' honors. This is a heck of a lottery ticket if they can harness more command:

    Full Write-Up Here 

    **NOTE: There is a clip of above-mentioned deadly slider as a strikeout pitch. One word: nasty.**

    Hernandez Blurb:

    Quote

    Pitcher of the Year: Joseph Hernandez, Modesto (SEA)
    Hernandez not only led the Cal League in ERA, but his 3.39 mark was 89 points lower than the next best hurler. His 143 strikeouts -- compiled over 116 2/3 frames for the Nuts -- also topped the league, as did his 1.14 WHIP and 1.93 average against. He capped the season with a Cal League Pitcher of the Week award on Aug. 28.

     

     

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    50 minutes ago, patrickgpe said:

    To get a pretty decent lottery ticket for a guy who wasn’t going to make the 26 man roster is pretty awesome 

    No doubt. After reading more on him and watching some more video tonight, the Brewers scouting department deserves a ton of credit for this! 

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    1 hour ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    Yeah, we use the Baseball-Reference linker and it's not perfect.

    Unfortunately, we can't do anything except remove the link, which I will do now.

    I put the appropriate BR link in there. Doesn't have the link to the article on Baseball Reference, but at least it links to the right Joseph Hernandez. 

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    11 minutes ago, Seth Stohs said:

    No doubt. After reading more on him and watching some more video tonight, the Brewers scouting department deserves a ton of credit for this! 

    Plus I love sidewinders! Extra bonus 

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    4 minutes ago, Brewcrew82 said:

    Crazy how we got a better prospect for Topa than we did for Renfroe.

    I mean we got 1 40 FV and 2 35+ FV prospects in the Renfroe trade compared to 1 40 FV prospect in the Topa trade. Junk is currently our 13th rated prospect by Pipeline compared to Hernandez at 27th. So I really wouldn’t say we got the better prospect in the Topa trade. 

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    22 minutes ago, Brewcrew82 said:

    Crazy how we got a better prospect for Topa than we did for Renfroe.

    Renfroe cost $10 million more than Topa 

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    19 minutes ago, wiguy94 said:

    I mean we got 1 40 FV and 2 35+ FV prospects in the Renfroe trade compared to 1 40 FV prospect in the Topa trade. Junk is currently our 13th rated prospect by Pipeline compared to Hernandez at 27th. So I really wouldn’t say we got the better prospect in the Topa trade. 

    Yeah. I forgot about Junk. You would have to say he’s a better prospect at this point as he’s simply more advanced. I think Hernandez could have a higher ceiling but a lot of things would have to go right.

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    4 minutes ago, Jopal78 said:

    Renfroe cost $10 million more than Topa 

    Sure, but Topa has had a ton of arm issues and has done virtually zilch at the MLB level. 

     

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    damuelle
  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
  • Posted

    Since the Mariners signed him in July 2017, I believe this will be Hernandez’ final minor league season before free agency. So it looks like a deal of uncertainty on both sides: Will Topa re-gain his old form? Will Hernandez progress enough this year (in High-A AND AA) to merit a strong offer to keep around?

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    5 hours ago, patrickgpe said:

    To get a pretty decent lottery ticket for a guy who wasn’t going to make the 26 man roster is pretty awesome 

    Topa had as good of a chance as anyone for the last 3 or so bullpen slots.

    On a value-for-value basis, it seems OK, though Hernandez definitely won't contribute to the ML team in 2023 (and probably not 2024 either).

     

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    Good return for a fringe reliever. I really liked Topa when he first came up, but has struggled with injuries a lot since. Could still turn out to be a good reliever if he stays healthy, Brewers needed a 40-man spot for Miley, and I feel like this is a productive way to do it. 

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    6 hours ago, damuelle said:

    Since the Mariners signed him in July 2017, I believe this will be Hernandez’ final minor league season before free agency. So it looks like a deal of uncertainty on both sides: Will Topa re-gain his old form? Will Hernandez progress enough this year (in High-A AND AA) to merit a strong offer to keep around?

    Unless there was an injury, it appears as if he did the standard signing a contract that started in 2018, so I think he would have two years left. He would, of course, be rule 5 eligible.

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    It is interesting that they left him in A ball all season. I feel like if he had been in the Brewers system he would have spent a chunk of time in high-A like the Rodriguez, Cruz and Cornielle group.

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    10 hours ago, Brewcrew82 said:

    Sure, but Topa has had a ton of arm issues and has done virtually zilch at the MLB level. 

     

    Still Topa is a pre-arbitration eligible major league relief pitcher.  Frankly, I’ll be surprised if either Topa carves out a significant major league career or Hernandez makes the majors with the Brewers. 
     

    like with Suter, it seems that Topa wasn’t in their plans and instead of simply cutting him loose to fend for himself, they orchestrated a departure where he goes right on to a 40 man roster and doesn’t lose any pay or benefits. 

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    11 hours ago, Brewcrew82 said:

    Crazy how we got a better prospect for Topa than we did for Renfroe.

    LOL  true.

    I didn't realize he was a starter, figured he was a reliever.

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    39 minutes ago, TURBO said:

    LOL  true.

    I didn't realize he was a starter, figured he was a reliever.

    22 years old, walk issues, uses one pitch 55% of the time, and has one super nasty pitch.

    He will be a reliever sooner rather than later.

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