The New York Yankees came calling for Sky Sox slugger Garrett Cooper, who was an All-Star in Triple-A.
Milwaukee on Thursday sent the 26-year-old Colorado Springs first baseman to New York for left-handed reliever Tyler Webb.
Webb, who has appeared in seven big league games with a 4.50 ERA this season, will be assigned to Colorado Springs and provide bullpen depth for first-place Milwaukee. Cooper will be initially assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but the Yankees present him with a more obvious path to promotion than playing behind Eric Thames with the Brewers.
And Cooper’s season all-but demands someone gives him that shot, in 75 games he has hit 17 home runs, drove in 82 runs and posted a slash line of .366/.428/.652.
“I think he has a chance to be an everyday first baseman in the major leagues who drives in a lot of runs,” Sky Sox manager Rick Sweet said of Cooper on more than one occasion.
The Yankees released veteran Chris Carter for the second time this season on July 10, leaving sparse options at first base. There’s South Korean Ji-Man Choi, who holds a career .171 batting average over 142 plate appearances. There’s the injury prone Greg Bird, who is currently on the disabled list. Other than that, the choices would be giving moving 37-year-old Matt Holiday to a spot he’s played just 15 times in a 14-year career, sticking with youngster Rob Refsnyder, whose career line of .241/.312/.332 won’t play at a corner infield position, or moving someone line Chase Headley, Gary Sanchez or Aaron Judge and then backfilling their spots.
Clearly something has to be done, as through last week New York first basemen had combined for a line of .200/.292/.377.
If nothing else, Cooper’s departure during a breakout season ends his quest to shatter some single-season Sky Sox records.
Here are some of the marks he might have challenged based on his pace:
RBI: on pace for 131 (record is 121, set by Joe Koshansky in 2008)
Hits: on pace for 162 (record is 180, set by Neifi Perez in 1996)
Batting Avg.*: on pace for .366 (record is .366, set by Garrett Atkins in 2004)
Slugging Pct.*: on pace for .652 (record is .652, set by Brad Hawpe in 2004)
On-base Pct.*: on pace for .428 (record is .449, set by Carlos Mendoza in 2000)
*-Percentage records require a player to appear in 90 or more games, Cooper appeared in 75.