Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Deal Kelly, Prime to Milwaukee Milkmen for Correa
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier breaks down the big deal between the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and the Milwaukee Milkmen.
RedHawks Acquire Correa, Trade Kelly, Prime to Milkmen
The American Association saw its first blockbuster deal of the off-season on Thursday when the Milwaukee Milkmen dealt catcher Christian Correa to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for catcher Dylan Kelly and 1B/OF Correlle Prime. The deal includes two players who hit above .300 last season and two of the best all-around catchers in the league.
How This Impacts the Milwaukee Milkmen
The acquisition of Dylan Kelly and Correlle Prime from Fargo is huge for the Milwaukee offense. The Milkmen need an infusion of talent in their batting order, as they finished tied for eighth in the league in hitting (.266) and finished seventh in runs scored (538) despite having the league’s top homerun hitter.
Prime has been an outstanding talent since joining the American Association back in 2018. He had spent seven seasons in affiliate ball, reaching AA-Frisco in 2018, but was released after just 41 games. Prime signed with the now defunct Texas AirHogs, where he appeared in 79 games, hitting .279 with seven home runs and 42 RBI.
The next season he joined the RedHawks, where he was a star for this club, hitting .312 in 97 games with 18 home runs and 77 runs driven in. He also scored 78 runs. In the Covid-shortened 2020 season, Prime led the league in hitting with a .335 batting average, scoring 37 runs and driving in 31 in 60 games. This last season, he continued his torrid pace at the plate, hitting .304 with 75 runs scored, 18 home runs, and 60 RBI. In his four seasons in independent baseball, Prime has hit .307 with 47 homeruns and 210 RBI in 328 games.
The loss of Correa would seem to be a big one, as he is considered one of the best at calling games in the league. However, the addition of Kelly clearly mitigates any concern. Kelly had just a brief stint in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, appearing in 16 games in 2015. Otherwise, he has spent almost all his last eight seasons in independent baseball, including the last five in the American Association.
Kelly began his career in the league in Sioux City, where he hit .294 in 50 games in 2017. Kelly followed that up in 2018 with a .287 batting average in 97 games, establishing himself as one of the best all-around catchers in the league.
In 2020, Kelly joined Fargo-Moorhead, hitting .336 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 40 games. This last season he had another impressive campaign, hitting .313 with 40 runs scored, six homeruns, and 56 RBI in 79 games.
Prime will likely find himself hitting directly in front of slugger Adam Brett Walker II, who set an American Association record for homeruns in a season this last year with 33. Walker finished second with 101 RBI. This may spell the end of David Washington’s time in Milwaukee, as it would be expected that Primal will take over the first base duties.
Kelly becomes the primary catcher in Milwaukee. With his skills with the bat, Kelly could very easily hit in the No. 2 position, but expect him to bat sixth or seventh to add additional protection for Walker.
How The Trade Impacts the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
The loss of both Prime and Kelly would seem to be a big blow to the RedHawks, but this is a team that has plenty of pop in the lineup. They led the American Association in hitting with a .304 batting average, finishing second in total runs (649). So, the loss should not be an overwhelming one.
Meanwhile, Correa took a giant leap forward with his performance at the plate last season. He began his career in the Houston Astros organization, moving to High-A Lancaster in 2016. In 2017, he moved to the Colorado Rockies organization, where he appeared in 20 total games between the two teams before being released.
Correa joined the then Kansas City T-Bones where he appeared in eight games, hitting .214. The following season he joined Sussex County (Can-Am League), appearing in 50 games, hitting .292 with 22 runs and 26 RBI.
The following season, Correa returned to Kansas City, appearing in 57 games where he hit .249 with 19 runs and 33 RBI. In 2020, Correa was signed by Milwaukee as part of the dispersal draft. He appeared in 49 games, hitting .211 with 20 RBI. This last season, Correa proved that he could put up some outstanding power numbers as well, hitting 13 homeruns in 83 games. The batting average improved as well, as the catcher hit .282 with 42 runs and 51 RBI.
Correa is outstanding behind the plate, recognized as one of the best game callers in the American Association. He also threw out 36% (13-36) of would-be based dealers.
By Robert Pannier