The 2020 Milwaukee Brewers will likely have to carry five outfielders for most of the year. Could Tyrone Taylor beat out Ben Gamel for the fifth outfielder spot? It’s possible.
With Avisail Garcia, Christian Yelich, and Lorenzo Cain starting almost every day, and Ryan Braun platooning at first and picking up a few starts in the outfield, the Brewers will need a fifth outfielder. The competition in camp will come down to Ben Gamel and Tyrone Taylor. Could Taylor win the job and force Gamel to Triple-A?
What happened to Taylor in 2019?
Taylor did well enough in his second season at Triple-A that he earned a late season call up. Taylor slashed .269/.334/.461 in 92 games for the San Antonio Missions. He also blasted 14 homers, drove in 59 runs, scored 44 times, and stole five bases in five attempts in Triple-A.
He also appeared in 15 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019, and collected 12 plate appearances. His .400/.500/.600 slash line with the Brewers was oddly symmetrical.
Can Taylor play all three outfield positions?
One of Gamel’s biggest advantage is that he can handle any one of the three outfield spots on defense. Taylor appeared in 43 games in center, 47 games in right, and five games in left for the San Antonio Missions. He also played eight innings in center and 15 2/3 innings in right for the Brewers last year. Taylor can also handle any outfield spot.
Is there any difference in handedness?
Gamel is a lefty, and Taylor is righty. They literally couldn’t be more opposite.
The Brewers have Eric Sogard, a lefty, and Justin Smoak, a switch hitter, as potential bench options. Manny Pina, Luis Urias, and Jedd Gyorko are the only right-handed options the Brewers will likely carry on the bench. There really isn’t a clear advantage here for either player.
How about the minor league options situation?
Gamel still has one minor league option left, and Taylor has two. The Brewers could send Gamel down to Triple-A without losing him one more time.
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Ultimately, the race for the final outfield spot is going to come down to who the team believes will help the most and how the Spring Training games go. If Gamel struggles during the Spring and Taylor puts together a few solid starts, Taylor could work his way into a bench role, and Gamel could end up back in San Antonio. This is one of the more fringe position battles, but it’s worth keeping an eye on…at least until one of these guys gets reassigned to minor league camp.