Brewer Food For Thought: Does Hunter Morris’ rise affect Mat Gamel?
By Benjamin Orr
With the push that the Milwaukee Brewers made last year with rookies such as Taylor Green and Jeff Bianchi, it wouldn’t be totally out of the question to see Hunter Morris in 2013 would it?
If so, where does that place Mat Gamel or even Corey Hart? The Brewers don’t have a lot of unsecured spots left, especially when first base is in the equation. Hart had been the center of attention when trade talk came about, but anymore, I’m not so sure he’s still on the block. For Gamel however, things may play out different, especially if Morris earns the right to be on the 25, or even 40-man roster. Who knows what’ll happen for sure, but right now, Morris’ fate of being up with the Brew Crew in 2013 is entirely in his hands.
What does Hunter Morris’ emergence say for Mat Gamel’s (pictured) future with the team? Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
What we saw out of Morris in 2012 were stats that will easily have him in Triple-A this season, if not the majors. For starter’s, Morris’ .303/.357/.563 slash line is absolutely through the roof and especially that being his second taste of Double-A ball only strengthens his case to be in Triple-A in 2013. Not to mention, he had a pretty outstanding ISO or Isolated Power of .261, which for those of you who are unfamiliar with the stat, it’s a hitter’s raw power. In addition to that, Morris hit 28 homers, drove in 113 RBIs and scored 77 runs. Yeah, I think he’s ready to move on.
Even looking at his time just this past fall in the Arizona League with the Phoenix Desert Dogs, Morris did well. In the little time displayed, only 21 games, Morris was able to carry over some more of that power, but less contact as his batting average was only .256. Despite that though, Morris did have an OBP of .305 and SLG of .360 so he was definitely a threat otherwise.
The potential Morris has is absolutely amazing. At 24-years-old, he definitely has his whole career right in front of him. He hasn’t been as outstanding as per se Scooter Gennett or Bianchi were in the minors, but he’s the next best thing. For a Brewers’ team that needs some form of consistency in a back-up player, Morris can present just that. He’s been getting better as he goes along and in seasons in the minors where’s he played in over 100 games, he’s been an absolute monster.
Where exactly does Morris fit on the team? Well, currently nowhere yet. Morris isn’t even on the 40-man roster and he’ll definitely try to earn that spot come Spring Training. Morris’ future is unsure at this point, but if guys like Gamel and Green don’t pan out for long-term options at first base, then Morris is the guy. After 2014, Hart will be a free-agent and with the money he makes now, I doubt the Brewers will sign him, especially considering they aren’t even giving a thought to extending his contract.
Gamel in particular is in the hot seat with Morris on the rise. Ever since really being in Prince Fielder‘s shadow, Gamel hasn’t had his fair share at first base. He played a month in 2012 before tearing his ACL and missing the entire season. That said, what we have seen out of Gamel hasn’t been eye-popping and at 27, he’s entering the prime of his career, so maybe it will change, but it’s doubtful with Hart at first. Morris is younger and maybe the Brewers feel the need to go with an overall younger team, but Morris’ rise makes Gamel’s future as a Brewer cloudy.