Thursday, May 14, 2009

One Step Forward...

Mat Gamel has been called up!

The Brewers summoned Gamel, their top offensive prospect, to the majors Wednesday night in anticipation of using the third baseman as their designated hitter in interleague play.

To make room on the roster for Gamel, the Brewers sent reserve outfielder Brad Nelson outright to Class AAA Nashville. Nelson, who was hitless in 21 at-bats this season, including 14 pinch-hit appearances, has the right to decline the assignment and become a free agent.

In the coming weeks, the Brewers have three interleague series on the road, where the designated hitter will be used. The first of those series is May 22-24 in Minnesota.

Rather than wait for those series, the Brewers opted to summon Gamel and let him get his feet get wet with some at-bats off the bench and perhaps an occasional start.

“He’ll probably get some pinch-hits, get acclimated a little bit to the big leagues,” said manager Ken Macha. “He may get a start. We’ll see how that all plays out.

“This kid is probably our best prospect. I don’t think the plan is to have him sitting on the bench.”

General manager Doug Melvin said the decision was made for a two-fold reason: Gamel’s strong offensive showing at Nashville and the lack of production from the young hitters on the bench.

But they always have to accompany it with one step back....

Bill Hall, who has started 27 games at third base, has begun to struggle again against right-handed pitching (.215 batting average). But Melvin said the Gamel move doesn’t signal a platoon or the possibility of trading Hall to open the position.

“We’re not talking about a trade at this point,” said Melvin. “That’s not what this is about.”

Yeah, why would you want to do something that makes sense (and worked so well last year).


Silverwolf said...

I think it does signal a platoon, maybe not just yet, but soon. I predict if Gamel starts out well, he will stick and play 3B against RHP. This may not have happened if Nelson wasn't 0-for-the-season, and even though it's obviously a small sample size, Nelson needs to go get regular at-bats and clear his head (he may even leave the Milwaukee system, he does not have to take the assignment).

Have you seen Hall throwing the ball all over the place in the last week? Gamel will probably butcher some plays, but Hall's sub-700 OPS against RHP makes this a good move.

tracker said...

I agree, we'll see at least a soft platoon soon.

I also wonder why you'd want Nelson in Nashville. I think you gotta keep running Koshansky out there until you determine whether or not he was just a product of Colorado air. If he can duplicate Colorado Springs numbers at Nashville, he's a way closer to MLB-ready than Nelson.

E.S.K. said...

My guess is because Koshansky has been a miserable failure in Nashville.

Also, I imagine you'll see Nelson get time in the OF and spot Koshansky at 1B. I doubt this will cost him many AB's.

As far as being MLB ready, where exactly does Koshansky play on this Brewers club? Outfield depth is a much bigger priority right now than first base. If he gets fewer AB's because Nelson needs to gain some confidence, no one loses.

tracker said...

JoKo plays what Nelson played, or was supposed to play. Lh power bench bat. His power numbers are superior to Nelson's, if they were not inflated by altitude. I don't know how the Colorado Springs park plays.

Slow start this year, but last year's .980 ops at AAA is hard to overlook.

OC Lurker said...

I think the writing is on the wall for Bill Hall and RHP. I'm not actually all that concerned with Gamel's defense as the problem seems to be when he has too much time to "think" about a throw. To me that seems like a fixable problem as opposed to something like bad range or lead hands.

On an unrelated note, the wife and I commented last night that if you would have said that the team leader in HR in mid May would be Rickie Weeks I would have thought something very bad happened.

PaulNoonan said...

I am concerned with Gamel's defense, but as long as his bat is there he's worth playing, at least in a platoon.