Not too far removed from being a relatively valued bat in the Brew Crew farm system, former 4th rounder Mat Gamel seems doomed for another full year of AAA work and is seemingly jogging past the age of prospect desire — being left off many prospect lists and becoming somewhat of a forgotten name.
At 26, Gamel has seemingly been left out of any MLB call-up discussion as Nyjer Morgan is on his way back (again) for what would be/has been a “platoon-able” OF slot along with Carlos Gomez which essentially blocks Mat until a void is left by Prince or a serious demand is created for him by moving parts. Any potential bench spot has been filled by the ping pong backup catcher duties and the mixing and matching of CF/4th OF slot. Not surprising when his defensive positioning still remains a question mark to all.
Given the aforementioned, it’s hardly a case of the blocked prospect blues although Mat has done some serious damage against righties in his 2011 campaign: .345/.408/.584 certainly outweighs his inability to do much more than work the count against lefties, against which he sports a .222/.333/.241 tally.
One who is optimistic could dream that Mat could be a Bautista-Zobrist type waiting in the wings, with potential to break out in his mid-late twenties still. More reasonably, it’s likely that he could provide a Russell Branyan-ish offensive boost in a more platoon type situation given his history of LHP struggles and limited defensive skills.
Either way it’s safe to assume that any position player void (left by Prince or otherwise) in the near future will spell opportunity for the serviceable Gamel, who’s name might be left off most prospect lists, but who’s bat still holds some promise for future MLB production, despite the common tale of baseball quarter-life crisis.
It’s also hopeful that the shallow farm will indeed get a boost from the upcoming draft, in which a premium bat is the target. That being said, the one thing Gamel has provided if nothing else is marginal organizational depth at a time when that has become one of the Brewers’ biggest flaws.