In last week’s edition of Top Hitters in Milwaukee Brewers Minor League History, Mat Gamel was listed as having the 25th best campaign for players in the Brewers minor league chain. Three years later and one level higher, Gamel claimed the 24th best year for Milwaukee farm hands.
#24 Mat Gamel, 2011 Nashville (AAA)
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Again, the numbers might not jump off the page, but Gamel gets bonus points for being two years younger than league average (25 vs. 27) that year but loses half that amount for playing in a park (Herschel Greer Stadium) that was slightly conducive to better batting stats.
Gamel was in his seventh and final minor league season in 2011 at Nashville, having played 162 games in parts of the three previous season for the Tennessee-based ball club.
The 2011 season was fairly consistent, as Gamel had solid months except for July (.264/.354/.402), but he still managed to get on base a lot as the temperature heated up. His 11 walks in July were a season high for monthly totals.
Gamel earned a two week call-up to Milwaukee in late June/early July, but stunk up the joint, slashing .115/.148/.154 in 27 plate appearances.
Back in Nashville however, ‘Mat the Bat’ did well with a five-hit game against Albuquerque in late April, and a trio of four-hit games later in the season.
Season totals showed Gamel hitting better at home (.322 home/.282 away) and hitting righties at a good clip (.337/.397/.581) while struggling against southpaws (.204/.269/.359) for the second straight year. Gamel hit lefties well in AA and lower, but had trouble figuring out the top lefties and veteran hurlers at the level just below the bigs.
That is a big reason Gamel never made his mark in the majors.
Gamel’s season included 29 doubles and 28 home runs (a career high), but his 16 GIDP was a career high as well. His 90 runs scored placed fifth in the Pacific Coast League and his home run total ranked second. (Odd how only four of the teams in the 16 team PCL were actually located in states that border the Pacific Coast…)
The big (6-1, 220) left-handed hitter was beginning to fall from the top tier of Brewer prospects, as he was getting a little older (25) and seeing his hitting against left-handers fall off. He was not ranked in Baseball America’s PCL Top 20 Prospects and he failed to make the PCL All-Star team.
In an effort to regain some ground that he had lost, he played in the Dominican Winter League but struggled to a slash line of .172/.260/.281 in just 73 plate appearances.
Mat Gamel performed well in the minors, but just couldn’t bring that ‘A game’ to the big leagues.
TOP 25 (thus far)
#25 Mat Gamel