Is Schafer This Year’s Cain?

The Brewers announced some more non-roster Spring Training invitees today, giving Caleb Gindl, Anderson De La Rosa, Logan Schafer, and Zelous Wheeler tickets to Maryvale.

None of the four are likely to make the roster out of Spring Training, but three of the four are at least interesting players — De La Rosa will probably just be a camp catcher to handle all the extra arms during the first couple weeks.

Gindl, Schafer, and Wheeler are all guys worth keeping an eye on, though, because after an offseason that saw a couple trades deplete the farm system, they might be some of the better prospects the team has left. Brew Crew Ball has a few notes on each of the four.

Gindl is a fan favorite among those who follow the minors closely — at just 5’9″, he has a career minor league line of .298/.375/.464. The little dude can hit, but there’s still some question as to what position he’ll end up playing. He’s dabbled in centerfield, but I don’t know if there is anyone out there that thinks he can stick there long-term.

I’m a bigger fan of Schafer, who was the team’s minor league player of the year in 2009 but missed nearly the entire 2010 season with injuries. He was supposed to be in big league camp last season, but hurt his groin just days before the start of camp. When he was finally able to return, he broke his foot after just seven games with Brevard County. At 24 this year, a strong showing in major league camp could lead to a quick ascension in the system despite missing much of the last year.

Hey, it worked for Lorenzo Cain.

In 2008, Cain hit .279/.356/.448 across three levels (High A to Triple A). In 2009, he was only able to play in 60 games and struggled his way through a .218/.294/.330 year. Last year, he came back with a vengeance, hitting a combined .317/.402/.432 between Huntsville and Nashville…and you all know how that ended. By the end of the year, Cain was starting in the big leagues.

Will we see something similar with Schafer? It’s far too soon to tell, but would it really be out of the question?

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