(Hunter Morris; Jordan Megenhardt/MLB.com)
In January I posted about Corey Hart’s injury and what it meant for the Brewers. I wrote a lot about how Mat Gamel would once again take the role as the starting first-baseman with the absence of Hart. Even though I really wasn’t a huge fan of Gamel because he really didn’t prove much with his short stints in Milwaukee, I was still optimistic about his future with the team. That optimism went out the window early Monday morning when Tom Haudricourt reported that Mat Gamel would miss the entire season with a torn ACL.
It really shouldn’t surprise anybody that Gamel is again sidelined with an injury because he’s had a worse injury history than Ben Sheets, but this is probably the worst possible time for him. He had that second opportunity to prove that he can be counted on as the future first-baseman of the team. However, after this injury it’s doubtful we’ll ever see him back as a starter after two straight ACL injuries.
With Gamel on the mend, the Brewers have a few options when it comes to first base. The sexy pick has to be minor-league prospect Hunter Morris, who has been a part of the Brewers’ farm system since the team drafted him in 2010. Morris has been solid in his first two seasons but really shined last year with AA Huntsville when hit 28 home runs with 113 RBI. Now, it is extremely concerning that he had 117 strikeouts and a below average .357 OBP but he’s the best in-house first-base option that the team currently has.
While Morris is a viable and attractive option for that first-base position, the Brewers are still looking at some outside options. One of those options is now former Seattle Mariner Mike Carp. Carp had an up-and-down stint with the Mariners; he showed that he could be a good power hitter but also struck out more than you’d really like to see, yet he wasn’t as bad as a guy like Mark Reynolds. While his power is useful, what stands out to me are his above-average defense and a solid .654 OPS in 2012, which is about the same as Gamel’s career average.
I like Carp as a player and think he would be a solid fill-in for Hart. I will have to give the edge to Morris because he’s a homegrown talent that is deserving of that opportunity. Starting him for those first two months could backfire in the face of the Brewers organization but he should at least get that chance.