It is no secret that I believe Mat Gamel is on a short leash. I have made that clear multiple times over the past few months, but things change…
Maty goes out and has a monster Spring Training. Defensively he was above average and offensively, he could not be stopped. You could not capture, only hope to contain his power. This took him off my “Jeff Suppan List” and put him on my “Darryl Hamilton List”. It also peaked my interest in Mat as a player.
In the past I sort of thought of Gamel as, “The Guy we should have traded instead of Matt LaPorta“. Kind of a dick move, I admit. But true none the less. That is what was magical about his play this Spring, it made me a fan.
So, with this new found interest, comes a new found appreciation and acknowledgement of his work. What better way to hash out the good and the bad? The thorn in most of our adolescent sides, report cards.
(**Side Note: Since this is my report card, it might get weird. Just warning you…)
Mat Gamel 2012, 10 Game Report Card:
Offensive Presence: – B – I believe that in order to be a big league slugger, you have to give off a certain aura at the plate. You need to go out there and strike some fear/doubt into the opposing pitcher. It is often referred to as; game-face, mojo, ice water in the veins, quiet-confidence, ninja, musk, and of course Janet Reno (this joke might be dated, but it is relevant). Gamel does have that special swagger, but he has to be able to back it up and so far he has not been able to put that piece together. The best hitters in baseball consume the plate with their voodoo magic. And it is a scientific fact, that the best way to acquire gypsy tears of power is to hit the ball. This could be an A very soon, but right now…meh.
Fear Factor: – B+ – This class is not taught by Joe Rogan. It is taught through years of playing baseball. Taking shots off of every part of your body at least once. Once that has happened, you no longer have fear. Upon the death of your fear, you will dive for every ball and make amazing plays for many years to come. Maty G is almost there. I have no hang-ups about this next comment, “Mat Gamel is a better defensive first baseman than Prince Fielder.” In my mind that is a true statement. Now he just needs to take a few more bad hops and dig out a few balls thrown in the dirt. There is Gold Glove talent there, it just needs a little more time in the oven…people say that right? “A little more time in the oven”….no?
Speed 2: Cruise Control: – C+ – Although I could probably write you a novel on how amazing that movie was, this is a class geared towards quickness on the base path. Brewers radio announcer Joe Block said this about Mat Gamel on the base paths:
"He’s not speedy, but he’s not slow…. -April 13th Game, after Gamel steals base against Atlanta Braves"
That pretty much sums that up. Nothing says mediocrity in a positive way, like the C+.
Sa-wing and a miss: – B+ – This class is weird, it is like golf…the lower your grade, the better. All the best players in baseball are flunking this class. Adam Dunn is the star pupil of this class. Richie Sexson is the professor. Unfortunately, Mat seems to have a pretty firm grasp on this subject. Going into Sunday’s game, Mat already had 8 K’s on the season (9 games). Not terrible, but he has a history of whiffery. This something that Professor Sexson said that he wanted Mat to keep working on, so I punched Richie Sexson in the face…Mat is considering dropping the class. Ok, I did not punch Richie Sexson…my fist would not even reach his head. That guy was freakishly tall. And may have a class pet before the season is over.
Promotabillity: – C – This is a class that teaches players how to get their ideal spot in the lineup. So far this season, Mat has bounced around in the 6-7-8 region. With the talent he continuosly shoed in the minor leagues, he should be batting in the 3-4-5 neighborhood. In order to get promoted, you need two key things to be happening: 1) you need to be thriving where you are 2) you need someone above you to stumble. Mat could have a career advancement opportunity, if Aramis Ramirez continues to struggle in the clean-up spot. Unfortunately for Mat, his performance has been little more than adequate. At this point, Gamel is not “Management material”.
It is still very early, but he needs to get himself in gear. There is a reason that them team decided to keep Travis Ishikawa and send down Brooks Conrad. I’m rooting for him, but if he doesn’t perform…someone else will. I will give him another report card at the end of April, it will be easier with a larger body of work.
You may have seen this in our HUB, but I was a featured guest on BBA Baseball Talk featuring Dave Mitchell show this past Thursday. If you would like to listen, here is the link. I come in around the 28:50 mark. Go over and check it out if you want something to listen to.