The slight rise and minimal fall of Mat Gamel


     Earlier today I talked to my Dad.  I let him know that the Brewers had sent Mat Gamel back down to Triple-A camp.  My Dad was not surprised.

     I am not sure that anyone is surprised.  At this point, do we even have a plan for Gamel?  The only thing that he has proven, each and every season, is his ability to get injured.  Now, my Dad is a pretty smart guy and he called MG not making the team when ST started.  At that time, I felt like Gamel would have a better chance than Luis Cruz or even Erick Almonte.  Yet, here we are talking about another trip to Nashville.  Mat did not even play in a ST game until last week, when he came off the bench as a pinch hitter.  Are we, the Brew Crew Faithful, ready to throw in the towel on Mat Gamel?  Or maybe more importantly, should we be ready to throw in the towel. 

     Mat Gamel is a career .302 hitter in the minor leagues.  In his three seasons of service on the Milwaukee Brewers roster, he only made a contribution in the 2009 season.  In 2008 he had 2 AB’s and last season most fans did not even notice he had been called back up (12 appearances).  To say this is disappointing would be a gross understatement.  Very vividly do I recall the day the Brewers traded for CC Sabathia.  The first thing I thought was, “Please don’t let Mat Gamel be part of the deal”.  In 2008, I was drinking the Mat Gamel brand Kool-Aid.  I was drinking it through a curly straw my friends. 

     Maty G’s 2009 season was promising.  He totalled 5 HR’s and 20 RBI’s in 128 AB’s.  Those numbers look good right?  His strikeout total was 54, which means he struck out 42% of the time.  Not good.  At least he was healthy and got in some good playing time.  For the first time, we were able to see the kind of talent he could be.  Naturally, this lead to all of has having very high hopes for his 2010 season. 

     Then…….he got hurt.  Tore a muscle in his shoulder, which landed him a plane ticket to Nashville.  Deja vu.  Once he was mended, he went bonkers on Triple-A pitching staffs.  In 82 games with the Nashville Sounds, Mat recorded 96 hits.  This lead to yet another late season call up……and another disappointing go ’round.  MtG only had 15 AB’s and struck out 8 times.  What happened?

     Fastforward to now.  Gamel is once again headed to the land of Jack Daniels and country music.  Here are some things that we all need to consider before we pull the plug on this kid. 

  1. He will not be a Free Agent until the 2016 season
  2. Prince Fielder will not be back next year
  3. His arbitration does not kick in until 2013
  4. This was his last season for options anyway, next season we can not send him to Nashville unless he clears waivers (he wouldn’t)
  5. Only 25 years old

 

     This article was not written to suggest that we should totally give up on the guy.  What I want to know is, have any of us lowered our standards for this guy?  Maybe he is not quite as amazing as we once thought.  Then again, he still could be.  Today, as I write this, my gut tells me that next year will be the tell all on Mat.  Right now, the only competition he could have is the aforementioned Erick Almonte.  However, a lot can change between now and then.  Maybe Mat’s window has already closed with this team.  Maybe we all need to come to terms with the fact that he is injury prone and a candidate for the Mike Cameron Award for strikeouts every single season.

       The title of this article says it all.  He has never really peaked, so there is not a lot of space for him to fall.  Too many guys are playing out of their minds in ST, so even if Gamel was healthy there is no guarantee that we would not have had the same ending.  We will have to wait and see how he responds to this demotion. 

Injury Watch 2011 

 

  • Prince Fielder – Sinus infection – He will be fine, just some sniffles

  • Jonathan Lucroy - broken finger – Had the pins removed from the finger on Monday, so there is still a chance he could be ready for opening day.

  • Zack Greinke - ribcage fracture – still an idiot

 

Just so you know…….

      the Brewers entered today’s game with the best ST batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.  They continued that trend by beating the San Diego Father’s 7-0.  Minor League pitcher Marco Estrada threw 4 1/3 innings, with 4 K’s and a walk.  After Wily Peralta’s pathetic performance last Friday (0.1 inning, 5 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, zero K’s), this should catapult Estrada into the lead candidate to fill the 5th rotation spot.  For those of you coming in late, Zack Greinke will be out a couple more weeks with Dennis Rodman-itis.  Estrada has my vote. 

 

Everyone have a beautiful and glorious hump-day tomorrow.  Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

If you want to get a jump start on today’s ST opponent, check out the Halo Hangout.  The Angels got injury problems too, and my pal Kalup Alexander talks about Kendry Morales starting the season on the DL.

 

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