Tag: Mat Gamel

Milwaukee Brewers: Mat Gamel’s Torrid Spring a Good Sign

Prince who?

Just kidding. Prince Fielder will be missed by the Milwaukee Brewers no matter which way you slice it; from his elite offensive production to his clubhouse charisma and leadership qualities, Prince is an irreplaceable talent. But if you’re a Brewers fan, the loss is starting to look less and less painful the further we get into spring.

Ryan Braun is finally starting to find his rhythm, Corey Hart will possibly be able to make it back on the opening day roster, Rickie Weeks is returning to full health, and the Brewers are getting offensive production out of every position.

There are a couple of position battles are that are shaping up to be dead heats, namely for the starting center fielder, backup outfielder and backup infielder. But as interesting as they are, I’m not here to talk about position battles.

I’m here to talk about Mat Gamel.

The polarizing, long-time prospect is putting together the best spring of his career, and the closer we approach to opening day, the quieter the critics are becoming.

Everyone knows Gamel can hit. He’s proven it time and time again in the upper minors and he has even shown glimpses of being a viable major leaguer during his call-ups, but most of his time in the majors has been forgettable. Gamel’s problem has never been ability, it has always been motivation.

By now, everyone has heard about his stints in the majors. His ugly MLB career stat line of .222/.309/.374 is not impressive to anyone.

But what I, and other baseball optimists (yes, we exist), have been saying for years is that Gamel has not been given his fair chance yet.

Sure, he has had call-ups in four separate seasons. He has had 171 major league at-bats over the course of those call-ups, and all he has to show for it is an ugly set of statistics and no real contribution.

But Mat Gamel has not been given the opportunity to start on a consistent basis. His call-ups have been brief, and he has not had the chance to figure out major league pitching on a consistent basis.

Gamel, a third baseman by trade, had his path to the majors blocked by the emergence of Casey McGehee at third, and last year he was sent to Triple-A and switched to first base for the entire season in anticipation of Prince Fielder’s departure.

He put together the best minor league season of his career and convinced the Brewers to give him the shot he’s been waiting for.

And this spring he is making the most of it. He came to camp in the best shape of his life, with a newfound motivation that impressed even the harshest of critics. Gamel knew this was his chance to prove that he has what it takes to shake the “Quad-A” label that has been assigned to him. He knew that if he wanted to be a major leaguer this was it.

So far, Gamel has had arguably the best offensive spring of any Brewer (with the possible exception of Jonathan Lucroy), and he has proven that he can and will be a legitimate power threat in the majors.

At the time of writing this article, Gamel has six spring homers to his name, including a three-game stretch where he hit home runs in back-to-back-to-back games.

He has a two-homer day against the San Diego Padres under his belt, when he cranked a monster grand slam and then in his next at-bat hit another no-doubter to almost the exact same spot in right field. 

Gamel’s swing has major league power hitter written all over it, and his output at the plate has been undeniable so far this spring.

Will it translate to the regular season? Again, as a baseball optimist I’m inclined to say yes. He’s done this against major league pitching, and his attitude off the field leads me to believe that he really wants to be great in the majors. But only time will tell.

The Brewers knew that replacing Prince Fielder would be impossible, but with Mat Gamel playing as well as he has so far, it’s hard to believe that his departure will hurt as much as many believed.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball 2011: Top Not-Obvious Sleepers By Position

If you are a fantasy baseball avid, over the next few weeks leading up to your draft, you will likely read more “Top Ten Sleepers for 2011” or “Under the Radar Players to Watch Out For This Year” articles than ‘Useful Financial Advice’ or ‘Finance for Dummies’ articles Brian Cashman or Al Davis will read. Although, on that note, everyone in America would be well-served to read some of those articles. Anyway…sleepers. What are they? What does the term sleeper mean? How young or inexperienced does a player have to be to be considered a sleeper? Well, let me answer those questions:


My unofficial, purely opinionated, but still useful definition of sleeper eligibility: If 30 percent or fewer of your league has this player on their sleeper radar, he can be considered a sleeper. If any more have him on their lists, he’s immediately ineligible.


To sum it up, Matt LaPorta is not a sleeper this year…neither is Andrew McCutchen…If LaPorta is on your list of sleepers, you probably don’t look deep enough into rosters to find real sleepers. If Miguel Cabrera is on your list of sleepers, this would be a good time for you to save yourself some frustration in 2011 by quitting your league.


Some people will contend that anyone can be a sleeper. For example, let’s take Dustin Pedroia. Everyone knows him and everyone knows he will be good. However, you think he’ll be the top hitter overall in 2011. (This is a hypothetical situation, but if you are reading this paragraph and thinking to yourself: “Oh hey, here’s someone else who thinks Pedroia will be the best hitter in 2011”, see my advice above for people with Miguel Cabrera on their sleeper lists.) Some people will say that this makes Pedroia a sleeper in your mind. In other words, they believe a sleeper to be someone who they think will exceed the general public’s projection. Well, those players are more accurately called “underrated players.” They are well known, thus they are not players that will slip passed anyone’s radar and fall into your lap.


Now that we have established the definition of sleeper eligibility (If not, that was probably a waste of four paragraphs), let’s examine what flags to look for when choosing your sleepers. First, and most importantly, is potential. You can have all the playing time, surrounding hitters, etc., but if you don’t have potential you’ll just end up like Skip Schumaker. (In fairness to Skip, he was a useful second baseman in many 30 team NL only leagues).

Second flag: playing time. There is nothing more frustrating than a player dripping with potential held back by playing time…on second thought, there are actually a lot of things more frustrating. Regardless, playing time is key. Playing time can come in many ways; through injury, trades, or simply earning a starting spot.

Third flag: surrounding players. You have to feel bad for Rajai Davis; he scored merely 66 runs despite hitting .284 and stealing 50 bases. (He can thank his “power hitters” who were supposed to drive him in. That’s you Jack Cust and Kevin Kouzmanoff. On second thought, blame whoever believed those two would drive anyone in and refused to trade for somebody who could drive in runs). There are other flags to look for, however these are the three major flags to be aware of. Now, let’s move on to the sleepers at last.



(Drum roll, suspenseful music, anything else that would stimulate a dramatic aura)

Begin Slideshow

Milwaukee Brewers’ Young Guns Galore: Getting Acquainted With Mat Gamel

We here at Bleacher Report, every Monday throughout this offseason, will be giving fans the inside edge into the lives and history of the Milwaukee Brewers’ up-and-coming prospects.

As our honorary first edition, we’ll get acquainted with one of Milwaukee’s most promising young stars — none other than third baseman Mat Gamel.

Born on July 26, 1985, Gamel was raised in something of a baseball-type family, with his brother Ben also eventually signing with the New York Yankees in 2010.

Drafted by the Brewers straight out of Chipola College (Mariana, Florida) in the 2005 MLB draft, Gamel was poised to make a name for himself early in his career.

Gamel spent the 2005 season with Milwaukee’s rookie team, the Helena Brewers.  Along with being prompted to Single-A West Virginia Power in 2006, and the High Single-A Brevard County Manatees in 2007.

Securely assuring him future stardom, Gamel was elected to play in the 2008 All-Star Futures Game.

With roster expansion and the need for more power bats, the Brewers finally called Gamel up from Triple-A Nashville on September 1, 2008.

Gamel recorded his first at-bat just two days after being called up, eventually striking out.  On September 7th, Gamel captured his first Major-League hit (a double, at that), against the San Diego Padres.

In the later stages of the 2009 season, Gamel help enormously at third base and at the plate — recording a .242 BA, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 6 2B, along with a .760 OPS.

Where Gamel now stands within Milwaukee’s clubhouse is uncertain, at best.  Talk of Prince Fielder’s departure could spell a starting position somewhere down the road.

As for the 2011 season, Gamel will have to make use of his opportunities.  Casey McGehee is currently the starting third baseman, and that is not likely to change unless injuries ridicule his 2011 season.

Rest assured, the Brewers have a real gem in Gamel.  Rushing his progression isn’t what Milwaukee is looking for in this particular stage of his career.


Make sure to follow Alec Dopp on twitter, all while getting your up-to-date Brewers news, info, and stats at none other than Brewers Daily

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Prince Fielder Is Leaving the Milwaukee Brewers, Who Can Replace Him?

Whether you believe that Prince Fielder will be with the Milwaukee Brewers when the 2011 regular season begins or not, there is one seemingly inevitable truth that is staring the collective known as Brewer Nation in the face…

Prince Fielder will not be a Milwaukee Brewer forever.

This is a certainty. There is no getting around it. There is no point in trying to figure out a way that it might not happen. It’s an effort in futility.

Perhaps you’d like to argue about the money coming off of the payroll after this season. Maybe a look into the pre-arbitration salary situations of some of the younger players on this team complete with a fiscal breakdown of how to fit a mammoth salary into a mid-market-sized budget would make you happy.

Again, the fact must be stated that it simply does not make a bit of a difference. Prince Fielder is leaving the Cream City sooner or later.

So with that non-question put to bed, we can move on to more pressing matters. We need to figure out who can replace Fielder at first base for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The following slides will each name a potential replacement and will breakdown why they could work out and also why they might not.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on the men I named and anybody that you feel I left out.

Begin Slideshow

Brewers Should Sell Now and Contend Next Year

The Milwaukee Brewers find themselves at a pivotal crossroads as a franchise.

Unlike most mid-market franchises, the Brewers woes aren’t the surefire sign of a fire sale and lengthy rebuilding process. Although there are structural issues with this team that point to bolstering their talent pool by trading some major league talent to this year’s contenders. 

However, some selling could mean being a strong contender next season.

The hot rumor, of course, has Prince Fielder available and several teams in hot pursuit of his services. The power hitting Fielder is viewed by many as a middle of the order cornerstone. A view shared by super agent, and mid-market nemesis, Scott Boras.

With his outlandish demands and thirst for the biggest deal, Boras is almost certain to steer Fielder to a bigger market and more lucrative contract than the Brewers could offer.

It appears Fielder’s greater value to the Brewers is the bounty of major league ready prospects he would net for Milwaukee. One potential scenario could have him going to the Chicago White Sox for some combination of second baseman Gordon Beckham, starting pitcher Daniel Hudson, third baseman Dayan Viciendo, and other prospects. It is no secret that White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams always gets his man even if it means overpaying so there is a good chance the Brewers could get the best value from Williams.

Is that the only move?


While this means they would acquire great talent with huge upside, but it would create a log jam in the infield. This means the Brewers could sell high on Rickie Weeks, Casey McGehee, and possibly Mat Gamel. These players could help bulk up on lower level minor league talent, back-of-the-rotation starters, or relievers.

Speaking of selling high, there is the matter of Corey Hart. The outfielder is having the classic trap year for those who think he is going to hit at this pace for the rest of the prime years in his career. His numbers year to year suggest he is far from a sure bet and it behooves the Brewers to sell him to the highest bidder immediately. With the Giants, Rays, and Padres rumored to be interested, there is no doubt Hart could increase depth for the Brewers on the major league level. 

How about Hart for Matt Garza or Ben Zobrist or B.J. Upton? That sounds like something that could happen.

Other veterans like Craig Counsell, Randy Wolf, LaTroy Hawkins, or Jim Edmonds could also bring back players that could provide organizational depth in key areas of need.

After cleaning out some big league talent how does this come together?

Using the current payroll $90 million and project their current obligations, with potential deals being taken on by trades, at about $30 million to spend. That is enough space to add significant talent to reload for a serious run.

It could mean making a free agent splash and signing Adam Dunn. Dunn makes sense for the Brewers and his price tag will be significantly less than Boras’ bonkers asking price for Prince Fielder.

The rest could be used to grab workhorse Javier Vazquez for significantly less than many teams are expected to offer Cliff Lee. They could also invest in some bullpen help like Jon Rauch or Matt Guerrier.

The Brewers moves at the deadline could feel like a rebuilding project, but with proper foresight this could retool this team for a more serious run over the next five years.

So let the rumors run wild, but please don’t stand pat. Milwaukee is ready to see a true contender.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Could Cliff Lee Come to Milwaukee a Year Late?

One year ago today, the Milwaukee Brewers sat in first place of the NL Central with a record of 41-35. They held a one game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, and there was speculation that if the Brewers could add reigning AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, they could make a return trip to the postseason.

Fast forward to today.

The Brewers have a record of 34-42, and sit in third place of the NL Central, eight-and-a-half games behind first place Cincinnati. However, there is still talk that Lee could come to Milwaukee, but not in the same capacity most Brewer fans would like.

The Brewers scuffled their feet on a potential Lee trade last season, and the Phillies quickly acquired him and rode him all the way to the World Series. 

It’s no secret Jack Zduriencik and the Seattle Mariners are shopping Lee, and once a deal tickles Zduriencik’s fancy, Lee will be finding himself right in the middle of a playoff push. While the haul for Lee this year won’t nearly be what it was last year, the Mariners will likely still come out winners by trading the lefty.

Rumors have circulated recently that the Brewers, despite their poor start to this year, could acquire Lee. Two scenarios have been discussed to bring Lee back to the National League.

The first trade proposal has Corey Hart being sent to the Mariners for Lee. Hart has more than twice the home runs (17) of any player that has been on the Mariners roster all year. Recently acquired Russell Branyan has 10, but he only has 24 RBI compared to Hart’s 60.

Hart would fit in very nicely to the middle of the lineup, and he would be under team control through the 2011 season.

The other proposal would also send Lee to Milwaukee, but for Mat Gamel and one or two other prospects.

Gamel has returned from an injury in Spring Training and is hitting .281, with three home runs and 23 RBI in 40 games played this year. He was also coveted by Zduriencik last year for Jarrod Washburn, but Brewers GM Doug Melvin refused that offer.

Both scenarios would be tempting to each team, but neither would see Lee stay in Milwaukee very long. A third team could get involved for Lee’s services, and Milwaukee could immediately deal him for the young pitching Melvin so desperately desires. 

It would be a great coup to keep Lee in Milwaukee with a long-term deal, but that is highly unlikely, especially with Randy Wolf having signed a three-year deal this past winter.

If Melvin could find a taker for Wolf, it could happen, but few if any teams will be willing to take on Wolf’s two-plus years and over $20 million still remaining on his contract.

The best deal for the Brewers would be to trade Hart for Lee. Hart is having a career year, but he has a very streaky past. It would be smart on Melvin’s part to sell high on Hart and get Lee. The hard part is trying to find a team with good young pitching to deal for Lee.

In addition to finding a team with good young pitching, they will also have to be willing to give it up for just two months of service for Lee. The Giants could fit that billing, but they need hitting more than pitching.

The Braves also are in a similar position as the Giants, but they might be willing to make a deal and go for broke in Bobby Cox’s last season.

The Brewers missed their best chance for Lee by not acquiring him last season. Bringing him to Milwaukee now would be for nothing more than a cup of coffee to ship him right back out of town.

The team would be better off just trading Hart and other veterans for young pitching and let the contending teams fight over Lee.


To read more by Jesse Motiff, click here

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress