Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ben Gamel has been solid in the first month and change of the 2019 season. Should he work his way into the lineup more often?
Ben Gamel is a huge upgrade over the two-headed fourth outfielder monster the Milwaukee Brewers deployed in 2018. Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton spent most of the 2018 season as the Brewers’ extra outfielder. They were both awful. Santana ended the year with a .265/.328/.412 slash line that was much, much better than how he started. Broxton slashed .179/.281/.410 in 51 games for the Brewers.
Both were dealt during the off season, and Gamel was added. He currently owns a .298/.385/.405 slash line in 84 at-bats. Should he get more chances to start every day?
What’s the case for Gamel?
Gamel has played solid defense, gotten on-base, and generally been solid when covering for a recovering Christian Yelich and a resting Ryan Braun. He’s already matched his 2018 home run output with one homer, so it’s clear that power isn’t his game. However, the Milwaukee Brewers have thump to spare.
Gamel does come with a platoon split against lefties. It’s rare for left-handers to struggle against southpaws on the mound, so Gamel can’t play every day, but he can fill in against tough righties when Braun or Lorenzo Cain needs a day off…mostly Braun. He can also pinch hit or serve as a late inning defensive replacement for Braun.
Can Gamel play the infield?
Well, he’s played two innings at first base in the past three years, so, not really? Also, the Milwaukee Brewers already have a pair of first basemen who need to play every day. First base isn’t an option for Gamel.
Where can Gamel pick up at bats?
The Brewers do have to head to Minneapolis for a pair of games against the Twins at the end of the month. Gamel should start in the outfield in both of them, unless lefty Martin Perez is on the mound.
Gamel certainly deserves to play more often, but it’s going to have to come off the bench unless there’s another injury to any of the every day outfielders. The Milwaukee Brewers have three starting outfielders who need to play more often than not, and don’t have an obvious weakness against one side of the plate. Gamel will need to be ready to fill in again for a regular, but there isn’t a clear path to consistent playing time for him…yet.