Photo: Jim Prisching/AP
Yesterday, we briefly explained the Arizona Fall League and profiled the Brewers who will be pitching in it. Today, we’re going to look at the hitters:
(Advance warning: Most of these guys are probably going to put up huge numbers in the AFL because everybody puts up huge numbers in the AFL. Last year, the league average line was .286/.362/.454.)
Davis isn’t a top prospect by any means, but he’s a very interesting player nonetheless. Going into the season, Davis was something of a power-only guy, winning the Midwest League home run derby in 2010 but never showing much in the way of on-base skills or defense. However, his entire offensive game has taken a step forward this year, to the tune of a .342/.449/.576 line between AA and AAA. He probably won’t be able to put up anything close to that kind of line against big-league pitching, but he could do some major damage in the thin air of Arizona.
Gamel isn’t a lock to be on an AFL roster, as he will need special permission from the league to play (he has more big-league service time than is typically allowed) and would need to be sufficiently recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in April. Gamel was the Brewers’ everyday first-baseman before getting injured, but probably won’t have his job back next year if the club is able to re-sign Corey Hart. There will probably be a lot of eyes on Gamel this fall (assuming he is able to play), but whether he will be auditioning for a starting job, a bench role, or a potential trade is unclear at this point.
A big (6’5, 235), Canadian outfielder, Kjeldgaard used to be a big, Canadian pitcher before being moved in 2007. His conversion has yielded mixed results, as he delivered plenty of home runs and walks, but never hit for much of an average and struck out a lot – a scaled-down, minor-league version of Russell Branyan, if you will. Kjeldgaard has struggled mightily this season, but some of that can be ascribed to the broken finger he suffered in April. Hopefully, he’ll be able to get back on track this fall, because as a 26 year-old who hasn’t yet reached AAA, he’s running out of chances.
In a year where many Brewer prospects have failed to impress, Morris is the rare breakout player. The first-baseman has always had great raw power, but his overly aggressive approach at the plate prevented him from harnessing it in the minors. Entering the season as the Brewers #14 prospect, Morris has spent 2012 in his hometown of Huntsville and raked like never before, currently standing at .294/.348/.542 in a league that is hitting .252/.333/.375 as a whole. According to his manager, Morris’ once-clunky defense has improved as well. Whether Morris will hit enough to be a major-league first baseman is yet to be seen, but this year constituted a big step in the right direction.