As part of our roster profile for Spring Training, I will be following outfielder Caleb Gindl. Since being drafted in the fifth round in 2007, Gindl has moved steadily up the organizational ladder. Now at 23, Gindl has shown he’s ready for a big league role, even if he won’t get one right away this season.
At 5’9″ and 205 pounds, Gindl is called “the human bowling ball” by his teammates. He plays all three outfield positions, though his modest speed leaves him best suited for a corner spot. Baseball America ranks him as the Brewers’ number 7 prospect.
I chose to focus on Gindl, because he has some qualities the Brewers could really use. First of all, he bats left-handed. The Brewers’ lineup is right-handed heavy once again this season. More importantly, Gindl has good on-base skills. His career minor league line is .300/.378/.466. Last year, his first year at AAA, he checked in with his best season yet, posting a .390 on-base percentage.
He has moderate power (15 home runs last year), but combined with his solid batting average and OBP, he makes for a solid overall offensive player. His combination of size, stature and skills make me think of a poor man’s Brian Giles.
Gindl should have a future in Milwaukee, although it’s not exactly clear what role that is yet. He’s very much part of an outfield logjam (see my post on trading Nyjer Morgan). Not only are Ryan Braun and Corey Hart are entrenched and signed for multiple years, but Gindl is behind Norichika Aoki, Carlos Gomez, Morgan, and possibly Logan Schafer in the pecking order as well.
Long-term, he should be able to handle at least a platoon role as a semi-regular corner outfielder. As far as this year is concerned, I could see him filling the role Taylor Green filled last year as a solid left-handed bat to come up in September. Otherwise, he’s nice insurance should one of those outfielders get injured.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see how things go for Gindl if he has a nice spring and starts out hot in AAA. If both Gindl and Schafer are playing well, it might motivate the Brewers to trade an outfielder.