July 7, 2016 at 8:04 PM
Aaron Wilkerson (pictured) and second baseman Wendell Rijo to the Milwaukee Brewers for infielder Aaron Hill, the team announced Thursday. The move nets the Red Sox a right-handed hitting infielder, a wish list item of manager John Farrell, but costs them two prospects in the top 50 on the SoxProspects.com rankings.
Wilkerson, ranked as the team’s 30th prospect by SoxProspects.com, has emerged this season as one of the most successful pitchers in the organization. The 27-year-old was pitching in independent ball as recently as 2013, before signing with Boston. Splitting time between Portland and Pawtucket, Wilkerson has pitched to a 2.14 ERA in 16 starts this year. He owes much of his success to his ability to stay around the plate, boasting 4.08 K/BB ratio. Director of Scouting Ian Cundall recently wrote up a Scouting Scratch after seeing him in Pawtucket, and Managing Editor Matt Huegel also talked to him about his journey.
A rough 2016 campaign has cooled Rijo’s stock after he started the year as one of the youngest players in Double-A. He slashed just .186/.245/.266 through 51 games with the Sea Dogs before receiving a demotion to Salem last month. His struggles have led to a plummet from 22 to start the year to 49 in the most recent SoxProspects.com rankings. Rijo remains young — the youngest player in the High-A Carolina League — with a good hit tool and above-average speed. He posted an OPS over .700 at each level prior to this season. However, he has had struggles defensively throughout his career. But as a second base-only prospect, he is blocked by a host of highly-touted middle infielders in the Red Sox system, including top prospect Yoan Moncada.
Hill is a 10-year veteran of the major leagues, spending much of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks before heading to the Brewers this season. Playing primarily third base with Milwaukee this season, Hill has posted a .283/.359/.421 line in 78 games. He owns a career .762 OPS against left-handed pitching and is likely to platoon with Travis Shaw, who has a .620 OPS against lefties in 2016. Fenway Park has been kind to Hill, where he has posted a line of .308/.349/.490 in 52 career games.
Photo Credit: Aaron Wilkerson by Kelly O’Connor