Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all Minor League Ballers! Here is a quick post before I head out for a run....well, I need one for all the junk I ate last night.
Anyway, both Mat Gamel and Josh Bell are in my third base rankings, but I am not sure what the future holds for each of them. Gamel was once a top third base prospect for the Brewers and seemed to lose his status after a not-so-stellar debut and a few injuries. Back in 2008, he had a breakout campaign that raised his prospect status as he hit .329-.395-.537 with 19 HRs, 96 RBIs and 96 runs scored in AA.
He was promoted to the big league club in 2009, after showing solid power in AAA. He hit .242-.338-.422 with 5 HRs and 20 RBIs with the Brewers, but he struck out 54 times in 128 ABs, for a 42% K rate. In 2010, he hit .309-.387-.509 with 13 HRs and 67 RBis in 359 plate appearances in AAA. He had a cup of coffee with the big league club in 2010, but his K rate rose above 50% in his 17 plate appearances, after lowering his K rate to 21% in AAA.
Gamel is now blocked by Casey McGehee at third base and Prince Fielder at first base in Milwaukee, and I wonder when he will get another opportunity in Milwaukee.
Bell had a solid 2009 campaign in AA where he hit a combined .295-.376-.516 with 20 HRs, 76 RBIs and a solid 98-61 K/BB rate at AA Chattanooga and Bowie. In 2010, at AAA Norfolk, he hit .278-.328-.481 with 13 HRs and 50 RBIs in 316 ABs. He was promoted to Baltimore, where he hit just .214-.224-.302 with 3 HRs and 12 RBIs in 159 at bats. His K rate, which sat in the low to mid 20% rate in the high minors, rose to 33% at the big league level. His walk rate and ISO also dropped dramatically in his 159 at bats in Baltimore.
He is now blocked at third base by the recent acquisition of Mark Reynolds and one has to wonder what Baltimore is thinking with this trade. Is Reynolds any better than Bell at this point? Both have trouble making contact at the plate, but Reynolds has more experience and a bigger contract than Bell.
Which of these two third baseman will eventually reach their potential at the big league level?