Like many among the Milwaukee Brewers, outfielder Caleb Gindl saw limited action in 2013. Transferring back and forth between Triple-A Nashville and Milwaukee, Gindl played only 57 games (132 at-bats) with the Brewers. If not for Ryan Braun‘s suspension, I doubt Gindl would have been promoted. So, Caleb, make sure you send Braun a thank you note.
The Florida native made his major league debut on Jun. 8 and posted a .242 batting average along with with five home runs and 14 runs batted in for the season. That’s actually not too bad for a player who is at best a backup major league outfielder.
Gindl’s was most successful a month after he arrived in the bigs. In July, he crushed the ball and rarely missed (two strikeouts in 37 AB’s) on the way to hitting .378. But after that, Gindl’s bat fell silent. He failed to hit over .200 during the last two months of the season.
Despite the drop-off in production, Gindl had the seventh-highest slugging percentage (.439) on the team. And he still found a way to get on base, mainly because of his great eye at the plate. Among the Brewers, he had the highest walk percentage (12.9%) and swung at just 27.7% of pitches outside of the strike zone – only Norichika Aoki and Rickie Weeks swung at a lower percentage.
Gindl’s biggest attribute is his ability to bat left-handed. Having a reliable left-handed bat to use off the bench in crunch time is an undervalued asset, and it’s even more important when your fourth outfielder, in this case Logan Schafer, isn’t getting the job done. Over the course of the season, Gindl became more reliable off the bench than Schafer, before it finally got to the point when he was favored over Schafer by not only the fans, but manager Ron Roenicke as well.
Next season looks murky for Gindl. Braun is returning to action and with the powerful emergence of Khris Davis, finding a spot on the bench may be tough (unless the Brewers have completely given up on Schafer).