Milwaukee Brewers: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Spotlight – Mitch Ghelfi
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers first baseman/catcher is sitting on an 11 game hit streak and has a dozen multi-hit games in July.
A lot of minor league players go through hot streaks, but Mitch Ghelfi has exceeded a simple streak. He has now been red-hot for over a month, and he shows no signs of cooling off. In fact, he seems to be getting better as his streak continues:
Since June 15, Ghelfi is slashing .447/.481/.626 with three homers and 11 doubles.
Since July 1, he is slashing .487/.512/.692 with two homers and eight doubles.
Since July 8, the start of his current hit streak, Ghelfi is slashing .560/.577/.780 with eight extra-base hits in 11 games. Or, as the Timber Rattlers’ radio announcer puts it:
That brings his current line to .330/.389/.442 with five homers and 14 doubles in 301 plate appearances. And Ghelfi has a history as a doubles hitter, knocking 33 two-baggers in 498 at-bats at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and another ten in 209 at-bats in the summer Northwoods League.
According to one source, written when Ghelfi was a junior in college, he also displays quality defense and has power upside.
Ghelfi has also shown a tendency to take walks (.377 career OBP), but those numbers have decreased noticeably during the 23-year old’s hot streak. And that makes some sense, given that players who are feeling good at the plate may be inclined to begin swinging more freely.
On the defensive end, Ghelfi has played in 33 games at first base in 2016 and 27 at catcher, throwing out 30% of would-be base stealers. He appears to be seeing less time behind the plate in deference to Max McDowell, who has played each of his 67 games at catcher this year, with a 46% caught stealing rate.
The hope is that the earlier source is correct, and Ghelfi is a true backstop, as the defensive value for a catcher is worlds higher than that of a first baseman. Ghelfi also spent some time at second base in his college career but hasn’t seen time there since.
Born in Indiana, Ghelfi was raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and certainly, has the pedigree of a hometown hero in the making after graduating from a college in the same city that his Big League club calls home.
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Mitch was also the fourth Ghelfi to be drafted (28th round) by a Major League organization, after his uncle, Tony (1st round, 1980), his father, Andy (2nd round, 1985), and his brother, Drew, (Brewers, 25th round, 2013). Mitch is the first position player of the bunch, as the rest were pitchers.
Ghelfi’s extended hot streak has put him at sixth on the Brewers minor league system’s hit list with 90, despite the Wisconsinite being 20th in at-bats, at 273. He is also first in the entire system in batting average and second in on-base percentage (min. 250 plate appearances).
Of course, what scouts think of Ghelfi will have a large impact on his ranking as a Brewers prospect going forward, but being one of the organization’s top hitters in 2016 will certainly garner him attention as well.