Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Keeping Mat Gamel with the Brew-Crew

Despite the way things went down, the Indians really only wanted 2 players from the Brewers for C.C. Sabathia, and they only walked away with one. While LaPorta was the consensus #1 prospect in the Brewers system, Indian fans should keep the name of Mat Gamel in the back of their minds, if only to watch his path through his major league career and wonder "what if?"

I'm not saying that Mat Gamel is destined for stardom, or that the other 3 players dealt to Cleveland are basic scrubs. But Gamel is a bit of a wild card, one worth having in case he turns into something more than your average third baseman. He doesn't have a lot of power, but neither did Chase Utley until recently, and Gamel's career minor league batting average consistently floated around .300 until rocketing to .372 in 2008, suggesting that in peak years he could be a very productive #2 or #3 hitter. His defense needs work, but the same thing can be said for most minor league players.

In a best case scenario, Gamel could project as another Jeff Bagwell, or even Carlos Lee, but I think his minor league stats previous to 2008 points towards a more consistent Corey Hart. That places Gamel somewhere in the .300-.310/23-30 home run range, with an OPS in the high .800's to mid-.900's in his prime. He doesn't have the same ceiling as LaPorta, but he'll provide depth and consistent production for the Brewers over the next 5-8 years, and plenty of "what ifs" for the Indians.

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