Brewers DFA Rule 5 pick Walsh

Brewers DFA Rule 5 pick Walsh

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' experiment with Rule 5 Draft pick Colin Walsh is over, as the infielder was designated for assignment before Tuesday's game against the Cardinals.

Despite posting a .317 on-base percentage, Walsh had only four base hits in 63 plate appearances and batted a league-worst .087. Due to Rule 5 regulations, Walsh will go on waivers before the A's, the team from which he was drafted, have a chance to take him back into their organization.

"Anytime you start with Rule 5 picks, it's a tough spot to begin with," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "In the end, the way our roster shook out and playing time shook out, we weren't really able to give him consistent at-bats.

Walsh did display a keen eye at the plate in accumulating 15 walks.

The 26-year-old infielder's plate discipline was what initially made him an intriguing prospect to Milwaukee when they selected him from Oakland in December. In 2015 with the A's Double-A affiliate Midland Rockhounds, Walsh walked 124 times.

"What I think Colin demonstrated to us is that he has an elite skill that can play at the Major League level, and that's strike zone recognition," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "He's a very disciplined hitter. He understands the strike zone. That's what attracted us to him in the first place when we took him in the Rule 5 Draft."

Walsh earned a free pass in 23.8 percent of his plate appearances, which is tops in the Majors (minimum 60 plate appearances). Those walks alone, however, were not enough for Milwaukee to warrant keeping him, as he struck out in 34.9 percent of his trips to the plate.

"He didn't swing the bat well," Counsell said. "I think he does possess a skill that is probably the most difficult skill in the game, and that's ball-strike recognition. I think he possesses that skill, but we just weren't able to get the other stuff going fast enough."

Counsell and Stearns both noted that the play of Milwaukee's infielders -- specifically Jonathan Villar, Aaron Hill and Hernan Perez -- kept Walsh from accruing the consistent at-bats necessary to adjust. That, along with the jump in pitching talent from Double A to the Majors, led to Walsh's struggles.

"I think it's a combination of jump in quality of pitching and the lack of comfort he was able to develop due to being in and out of the lineup, and that's natural for any Rule 5 player," Stearns said.

The last start for Walsh came on May 9 in Miami, when he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. He made nine pinch-hit appearances since then, striking out five times and walking three.

Walsh's lack of hits with the Brewers was historically notable. He is the only position player since 1910 to have fewer than five hits in 63 or more plate appearances.

"I spoke with him," Counsell said. "I think he's disappointed. I think he felt he didn't hit like he's capable of. Again, was it the perfect opportunity? Probably not, but you don't get the perfect opportunity sometimes."

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.