Judging from past history of the Brewers under General Manager Doug Melvin, expect to see Mat Gamel receive his shot at a starting job with Milwaukee–a chance many believe Gamel should have already received. With the loss of Prince Fielder this off-season, Gamel and Taylor Green are the two primary names being considered for the vacant spot at first base. Gamel is the favorite to get the starting job on Opening Day unless his Spring is staggeringly woeful. As the Brewers have done on repeated occasions with former farmhands, for example, Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva, patience is exercised and each player is given his chance to prove himself. That’s why Gamel is the front runner for the starting first base job.
Enough about Gamel. Time to talk Taylor Green.
Green was a late bloomer in the Brewers’ farm system; drafted in 2006, he did not spend a full season past A ball until 2010. In 2011, Green was too good to be kept down in AAA Nashville all season. He received a late August call-up and batted .270 in 20 games, even making the Postseason roster. Coming into 2012, Green is expected to make the Big League club on Opening Day and play a role off the bench with his left-handed bat.
His style of play is comparable to that of Casey Blake. Green has a quick, efficient stroke at the plate but won’t dazzle anyone with
power. In those 20 games with Milwaukee, Green posted .270/.270/.351 marks, mainly as a pinch hitter. His glove isn’t anything special, but can be considered an upgrade from that of the ancient mariner Gamel. With a locker situated directly next to Ryan Braun’s in Maryvale, Green could receive some tips and display more power from the left handed batter’s box in 2012.
With only a little over a month of Major League service time, much is yet to be known about the Brewers 25-year-old utility infielder out of British Columbia (yes, that’s right. My first two posts of RtB are about Canadians). Following the adage that a player’s value is outlined in his first 200 plate appearances, we should be able to get a good feel for Green by July or August, as he has 37 PA’s currently under his belt.
Green heads a group of utility infielders that tops that of the pre-Jerry Hairston Brewers of 2011. Green is an obvious upgrade from Craig Counsell offensively, but we won’t see him in late-inning roles defensively with which Counsell familiarized himself. If veteran Cesar Izturis makes the team, he will assume that role, though the Brewers upgraded defensively with Alex Gonzalez and Aramis Ramirez on the left side. I’ll take Green and either Izturis/Brooks Conrad/an April Cobb over the combination of Counsell and Josh Wilson. Additionally, if any starting infielder finds himself injured, Green provides a reliable replacement with a swift bat and respectable defense.
2012 RtB Predictions: 300 PA, .266, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 1 SB, some kick a** wristbands
Next Season Outlook: LHP Chris Narveson, 3/3