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Posts tagged ‘Mat Gamel’

2010 Protected List – The Fringe

Today we have the fourth installment in the my series of 2010 Protected List columns – The Fringe. These guys could go either way, with a lot of factors ultimately determining whether they make the cut. Of last year’s Fringe (Blake DeWitt, Jody Gerut, Chris Dickerson), two were protected, while hindsight said that I was 0-for-3 on that score. So, lesson learned, here goes this year’s attempt, in which I try to be more discerning:

John Baker
2 Years – $5
.271 Average, 59 Runs, 9 HR, 50 RBI, and 0 steals
Baker was selected in the 2009 auction, and didn’t seem to have that great a season. In fact, it often seemed that he was slumping and losing playing time to platoon partner Ronny Paulino, but his totals actually made his $5 salary worthwhile. Due to the Roadrunner roster crunch, it’s between Baker and Buster Posey, who is cheaper and has more upside.

Verdict: Release

Matt Diaz
2 Years – $5
.313 Average, 56 Runs, 13 HR, 58 RBI, and 12 steals
Seemingly as usual, Diaz was an early-season pickup and produced some decent numbers in a platoon in the Braves outfield, shared with Garrett Anderson. Normally a .280 hitter, the 2009 average was a surprise, as were the 12 steals. Most projection systems have him earning between $9-14 for 2010, so likely to be protected this year, unless the Braves sign Johnny Damon or Jermaine Dye in the next few days before the deadline.

Verdict: Probable Protection – Game Day Decision

[Update: Protected]

Mat Gamel
2 Years – $5
.242 Average, 11 Runs, 5 HR, 20 RBI, and 1 steal
Gamel was protected as a minor leaguer and was one of Milwaukee’s top prospects coming into 2010. He was called up in May, but languished on the bench, as the hot hand of Casey McGehee manned third base. A defensive liability, he has lost most of his luster as a hitter, his strong 2008 may now be an outlier.

Verdict: Release

Ryan Hanigan
2 Years – $5
.263 Average, 22 Runs, 3 HR, 11 RBI, and 0 steals
Hanigan took over from Ramon Hernandez in July, and at a glance, seemed to do a good job, especially when it came to batting average. However, reviewing his stats, there’s just nothing there. The re-signing of Hernandez by the Reds relegated Hanigan to backup duty again, and most agree that will be his role for the next decade.

Verdict: Release

Chase Headley
1 Year – $5
.262 Average, 62 Runs, 12 HR, 64 RBI, and 10 steals
Headley has been on the RoadRunners since midway through the 2007 season, when he was gunning for the Texas League MVP. Stuck in left field due to the arrival of Kevin Kouzmanoff the past two seasons, Headley should be the starter at the hot corner in 2010 with the Crushin’ Russian’s departure to Oakland. Headley’s numbers should look better at 3B, and those steals are a bit of a surprise.

Verdict: Protect

Angel Pagan
2 Years – $5
.306 Average, 54 Runs, 6 HR, 32 RBI, and 14 steals
Pagan was a great pickup mid-season, as he became a starter due to the injuries to Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church, who was later traded to Atlanta. .300 average and 14 steals should play everyday, but this is the Mets, who brought in Jason Bay this offseason. But then Carlos Beltran underwent knee surgery a few weeks ago, and may miss the first month or two of the season. To counter, the Mets took Lil’ Sarge, Gary Mathews, Jr. off the Angels’ hands, so now Pagan has to compete for the CF job, and eventual 4th OF slot. Too much risk for what would be my 4th OF slot. No thanks.

Verdict: Release

Brendan Ryan
2 Years – $5
.292 Average, 55 Runs, 3 HR, 37 RBI, and 14 steals
Another sneaky fast performer that was picked up mid-season, this time to replace the injured Jose Reyes on the roster. As a starting shortstop, Ryan will have to fend off prospect Travis Greene, as well as middle infield re-tread Julio Lugo, and may find himself batting ninth behind the pitcher due to manager Tony LaRussa’s whims. That said, you pretty much know what you get with him, though the average and steals are probably high-water marks. We’ll look for him as a pick-up or even minor league pick, but the roster spot is too valuable.

Verdict: Release

Edinson Volquez
1 Year – $2
4 Wins, 4.35 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 47 K’s (in 49 innings)
Volquez was the injury-challenge player acquired from Get Off Kong! in June (Jose Reyes went the other way, neither played again in 2009 – a wash). After several false-starts in rehab, Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery in August, and will likely miss most of the 2010 season, though he is targeting a mid-season return. The protected list isn’t a good place for rehab.

Verdict: Release

Sean West
2 Years – $5
8 Wins, 4.79 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, and 70 K’s (in 103 MLB innings)
West was called up from AA to fill in for the injured Andrew Miller in May, and he did alright the first time through the league. He had some great outings, and some rather pedestrian ones as well. He could likely use more seasoning, but would be a decent 5th starter type. But not worth a protected slot.

Verdict: Release

HT’s Waiver Wire Reviews Mat Gamel

Yesterday, the Hardball Times ran its Wavier Wire feature, this time highlighting AaRr 3B Mat Gamel, among others. The article recaps the former top prospects chances with the Brewers (or another team, since he’s now rumored to be on the block).

Brewers fans have been itching for a long look at Gamel, the team’s top hitting prospect, at the major-league level, and they finally got their wishes in 2009. Unfortunately, by the time he got to the bigs, his way was blocked by a guy named Casey McGehee, and hampered by his own performance at the plate.

Gamel was mashing AAA pitching in April, with a .403/.483/.806 line that included 7 HRs and 8 2Bs, and got his first callup in mid-May as interleague play approached and the Crew figured they could use him at DH. Then Rickie Weeks went down for the season, and Milwaukee had the perfect opportunity to give him more PT; Craig Counsell and McGehee could both play 2B or 3B and Gamel could slide into the 3B rotation.

Even though he stayed with the big league club, that’s not how things worked out, which speaks volumes about how Milwaukee regards Gamel. His biggest liability at this point is his glove—he has an .883 career fielding percentage in the minors, with 156 errors in 1334 chances. That he booted 7 balls in 61 chances in the majors (with an .885 fielding percentage) shows those struggles are continuing. Milwaukee really doesn’t think the merits of his bat overcomes the deficits of his glove.

And his bat wasn’t all that meritorious in the majors, either. He started out hot, hitting .308/.438/.692 in his first 13 ABs (mostly as a pinch-hitter) then cooled off dramatically, hitting just .224/.322/.329 over his next 76 ABs through the end of June, with 11 BBs and 30 Ks. After he only started 6 of 14 games through mid-July, the team decided to give him more seasoning in AAA, instead of sporadic PT in the bigs.

Gamel’s funk carried over into the minors, where he hit .118/.225/.147 to close out July, then had OPSes of .751 and .669 in August and September. Despite this, the Brewers brought him back up to the big-league club in September, where he continued to collect splinters on the bench, even after Milwaukee was out of the pennant chase entirely. He collected just one start in 24 team games, though he hit .267/.353/533. Why they didn’t give him a longer look at this point in the season, with the pennant out of reach and both Counsell and McGehee nursing knee injuries, is a mystery.

In the long run, the extra time in AAA should prove beneficial to Gamel, since he’d only had 21 ABs at that level before this season. He did improve his defense there somewhat, booting just 18 balls in 201 chances for a fielding percentage of .901. But even that may not be enough for him to occupy the 3B position the Brewers have been holding open for him, especially with the emergence of Casey McGehee. And before you suggest a platoon between RH McGehee and LH Gamel (or even Counsell, if he’s re-signed), realize that Gamel’s platoon splits have been almost even in his minor-league career, and turning this 23-year-old into half a player at this point in his career would be a waste.

The other possible position for him, 1B, is of course blocked by the formidable presence of Prince Fielder. Barring a trade of either Gamel or McGehee (or, even less likely, Fielder), it looks like his best fit will be as a corner outfielder. But there, too, he’s blocked by Ryan Braun and Corey Hart. So you should expect a trade of Hart, McGehee or Gamel, in that order, before the 2010 season opens to resolve that logjam and to bolster their starting pitching, worst in the NL in 2009.

The Brewers have already indicated that they won’t part with Gamel for anything less than “his equivalent in pitching,” something most teams are unlikely to do at this stage of Gamel’s career. A trade to an AL team would allow Gamel to slide into what might be his best position, DH, but there’s not many teams willing to pay such a steep price for a guy who never wears a glove. So I’d expect to see Gamel in Milwaukee spring training, ready to prove himself at 3B or RF.

How will he perform? No matter where he ends up, he’s going to need to improve his batting eye and contact rate. His .50 minor-league BB/K rate has actually dropped as he ascended each level, as has his .77 contact rate. Scouts say he has the skills, with great batspeed and a good batting eye, so these ratios suggest he’s pressing, adjusting, or both. That’s not quite the trend you want to see from a talent like this, but he’s still only 23, so there’s plenty of time to turn it around, even if progress might be slow.

Keeper owners will want to keep this in mind—don’t expect him to be your 3B of the future, and don’t expect him to reach his full potential in 2010. He’ll be a very good hitter one day, wherever he ends up fitting into the lineup, though he profiles as an excellent #5 hitter behind Braun and Fielder. But moderate your expectations heading into 2010, particularly if he goes into Spring Training still blocked by both Hart and McGehee.

Brewers Unlikely to Trade Gamel

FOXSports.com reports that the despite the Brewers’ logjam in the infield, they are unlikely to make a trade unless they are offered the pitching equivalent of Mat Gamel. According to the report, Gamel garners more interest than Casey McGehee and Rickie Weeks with rival clubs, but as a left-handed hitter, he would help balance the Milwaukee’s righty-heavy lineup. Gamel, 24, batted .242/.338/.422 with five home runs and 20 RBI in 128 at-bats for the Brewers last season. Even though he is a highly-regarded hitter, his defense is still playing catch up. Though general manager Doug Melvin would include him in the right deal, he is more likely to address the starting rotation via the free agent market. (Rotoworld)

Gamel: No Longer Untouchable – No Vacancy at 3B

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that according to GM Doug Melvin and assistant Gord Ash, Casey McGehee “has taken the bull by the horns” with regard to the starting third base job in 2010. Melvin said that moving Mat Gamel to the outfield is not likely, suggesting that Gamel could potentially be dealt for a pitcher this offseason. McGehee hit .301 with 16 homers and 66 RBI in 355 at-bats this season and should be a cheap source of infield production in next year’s drafts. (Rotoworld)

Roster Moves – September 29th – Final Week 26

Up:

  • CM Mat Gamel
  • MI Rusty Ryal
  • DH Oscar Salazar

Down:

  • CM Steve Pearce
  • MI Ian Desmond
  • DH Josh Thole

Notes:

  • This being the final week, only X-Men made any pickups, acquiring OF Tony Gwynn, Jr. to replace Orlando Hudson on the active roster. He also acquired Diamondbacks P Billy Buckner, as a reserve, which won’t really help him in this final week.
  • Final tally of players on the 2009 Atomic RoadRunners: 92  Yikes!
  • Number of players still on the roster from Draft Day 2009: 7 (Chris Iannetta, John Baker, Mat Gamel, Chase Headley, Josh Johnson, Madison Bumgarner, Mike Gonzalez)

Roster Moves – September 15th – Week 24

FAAB Acquisitions:

  • SS Ian Desmond, Nationals ($0, active at MI)

Up:

  • CM Steve Pearce

Down:

  • CM Mat Gamel
  • MI Oscar Salazar

Cut:

  • RP Jon Rauch

Roster Moves – September 8th – Week 23

FAAB Acquisitions:

  • MI Oscar Salazar, Padres ($1 bid, active)
  • OF Willie Harris, Nationals ($2 bid, active)
  • OF Cory Sullivan, Mets ($2 bid, active)

Up:

  • CM Mat Gamel

Down:

  • OF Kyle Blanks
  • CM Steve Pearce
  • MI Rusty Ryal

Cut:

  • 1B Casey Kotchman
  • 1B Jeff Clement

Notes:

  • I had also bid $0 on new Giants starter Brad Penny, but was outbid.  The results: $15 X-Men, $14 Misogynistic Padres, $10 Get Off Kong, $0 Atomic RoadRunners.
  • I outbid Misogynistic Padres for Cory Sullivan – he bid $0.
  • 1B Casey Kotchman has been reduced to a pinch-hitter for Boston, and since he’s not protectable, he’s pretty worthless.
  • 1B Jeff Clement wasn’t called up due to an injury at the end of the AAA season.  Thus he’s even more worthless.
  • OF Kyle Blanks is out for the season due to a broken foot.

Roster Moves – July 16 – Week 15

Trades:

Trade 1:

  • Atomic Roadrunners receives: Reds SP Edinson Volquez (active), Brewers 1B Prince Fielder (active at 1B)
  • Get Off Kong! receives: Giants SP Tim Lincecum, Mets SS Jose Reyes

Trade 2:

  • Atomic Roadrunners receives: Giants AAA C Buster Posey
  • Shoeless Jews receives: Cubs SS Ryan Theriot

FAAB Acquisitions:

  • John Bowker, 1B/OF Giants ($5 bid, active at OF)
  • Mat Latos, SP Padres ($5 bid, reserve)
  • Brooks Conrad, 2B Braves ($0 bid, active at 2B)

Up:

  • OF Chris Duncan

Down:

  • 3B Mat Gamel

Move:

  • CM Emilio Bonifacio (to 3B)
  • 2B Brendan Ryan (to SS)
  • SS Alex Cora (to MI)
  • 1B Casey Kotchman (to CM)

Cut:

  • RP Nick Masset
  • OF Andres Torres
  • OF Alex Romero

Notes:

  • Lost on bidding for Pirates 1B/OFGarrett Jones.  I bid $5, The Pi Train bid $16
  • Minor league starter Mat Latos re-joins the Roadrunners, as he was cut June 30th
  • Giants OF John Bowker re-joins the Roadrunners.  He was on the squad for several months in 2008.

Roster Moves – July 7th – Week 14

FAAB Acquisitions:

  • SS Alex Cora, Mets ($0 bid, active at MI)
  • SP Ryan Sadowski, Giants ($0 bid, active)
  • OF Reed Johnson, Cubs ($0 bid, reserve)

Up:

  • C John Baker (to DH)
  • RP Jon Rauch

Move:

  • 2B Brendan Ryan (from MI)
  • OF Alex Romero (from DH)

Down:

  • RP Nick Masset
  • SP Sean West
  • OF Chris Duncan

Cut:

  • 2B Matt Downs
  • SP Shairon Martis
  • SP Antonio Bastardo

Notes:

  • Misogynistic Padres also bid $0 for Sadowski, but he was awarded to AaRr due to tie-break rules
  • Reed Johnson was originally a 9th-round Minor League selection by X-Men, who then released him May 12th
  • With the release of Shairon Martis, 10 of the 11 AaRr Minor League selections in 2009 have been released.  Only second-round selection Emilio Bonifacio remains (along with protected minor leaguer Mat Gamel).

Roster Moves – June 30th – Week 13

Trades:

Trade 1:

  • Atomic Roadrunners receives:  Reds SP Johnny Cueto
  • Cover Zero receives: Nationals OF Adam Dunn

Trade 2:

  • Atomic Roadrunners receives:
    • Diamondbacks SP Max Scherzer
    • Dodgers SP Clayton Kershaw
    • Cardinals 3B Prospect Brett Wallace
  • Misogynistic Padres receives:
    • Braves 3B Chipper Jones
    • Reds 2B Brandon Phillips
    • Giants Closer Brian Wilson
    • Braves SP Kenshin Kawakami

FAAB Acquisitions:

  • Jon Rauch, RP Diamondbacks ($0 bid, reserve)
  • Alex Romero, OF Diamondbacks ($0 bid, active)

Up:

  • CM Emilio Bonifacio
  • RP Nick Masset
  • OF Andres Torres (to DH)

Down:

  • RP Matt Lindstrom
  • SP Shairon Martis

Move:

  • 2B Matt Downs (from DH – replaces Brandon Phillips)
  • 3B Mat Gamel (from CM – replaces Chipper Jones)

Cut:

  • SP Mat Latos (prospect)

Notes:

  • RP Matt Lindstrom was placed on the 15-Day DL on June 25th with elbow inflammation.  Will be out at least six weeks
  • SP Shairon Martis was optioned to AAA Columbus on June 28th
  • SP Antonio Bastardo was placed on the 15-Day DL on June 30th with a left shoulder strain
  • Jon Rauch was originally protected by Misogynistic Padres for 2009, and was released on May 12th.  He retains his contract and salary – signed through 2010 for $1.
  • Former RoadRunner Chad Gaudin was selected by X-Men for $6.  I had bid $5 to re-acquire Gaudin after two stellar outings.
  • Former RoadRunner Jake Fox was selected by X-Men for $11 due to his strong interleague performance.
  • The first big AL Free Agent joined the NL.  In this case, Mark DeRosa was traded to the Cardinals on Thursday.  Bidding was as follows:
    • $70 Stanimals
    • $46 X-Men
    • $45 Atomic Roadrunners (max bid)
    • $43 Shoeless Jews
    • $33 Get Off Kong!
    • $25 Cover Zero