David Washington rounds the bases for the Long Island Ducks
Transaction Analysis

Transaction Analysis: When One Big Swing Isn’t Enough

The Milwaukee Milkmen signed 1B/OF-R David Washington to an unknown contract

Washington is fresh off of a two-year stint with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. In his time with the Ducks Washington was very Washington like. For those unaware Washington is a low contact high power hitter who strikes out a ton. Adding a hitter like Washington to your lineup is fine, unless say your lineup already has the exact same hitter in Adam Walker.

What the Milkmen are hoping to get from Washington is what they already get from Walker, plenty of pop. As a hitter, Washington isn’t going to offer Milwaukee’s second-tier team much more than that. He will walk occasionally, but not enough for it to really make a difference in his production. If you’re going to strike out 152 times in 401 plate appearances then you need an OBP in the .380 to .400 range to truly break even. The former Duck sits more in the .320 to .330 range. That’s not abysmal, but it’s not enough to justify bringing a guy on board with the same giant loopy swing as your incumbent right fielder.

The former 15th-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals does offer a tad more positional flexibility than Walker. He can play either corner outfield spot and is adequate at first. He’s also spent some time in center, but more often than not it will likely be Derek Reddy roaming center at Routine Field. Add in the designated hitter position and there will be plenty of nights where both Washinton and Walker are in the lineup. That’s a lot of strikeouts, Walker struck out 114 times in 391 plate appearances for the Milkmen last year. Contrary to the game played in affiliated ball, the American Association isn’t a three true outcome league quite yet. The AA is still a league where the hit and run is prominent, players steal bases, and there are plenty of base runners in between the home runs.

The Milkmen are attempting to remake their baseball team in 2020. The 2019 season was a fun expansion year but if the team loses this season like they did the year prior it will no doubt start turning people away. The Milkmen have made a handful of offseason moves that do make the team much better than they were last season. I can’t look anyone in the face and say with any confidence that I believe Washington falls into the betterment category. If anything, the Milkmen are blindly hoping that Washington will put up rosier numbers in AA as compared to the slightly higher level ALPB. Blind hope often leads to disaster, much like Washington and Walker’s loopy swings on the same team could lead to disaster for the Milkmen’s offense.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Long Island Ducks

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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