Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/8/14
Mets_vs_brewers_a1bb
Brewers first baseman Corey Hart will miss the next three to four months — or about six weeks of the regular season — as the former outfielder requires surgery to repair a meniscal tear on his right knee. Hart thrived through a transition from right field to first base after Mat Gamel suffered a torn ACL attempting to run down a foul ball last year. Now, presumably, Gamel will get to take a turn as the injury replacement at first base in Milwaukee. The 27-year-old Gamel has had a rough road on his way to the majors. Prince Fielder blocked him throughout his early and mid-20s. Although Gamel was a third baseman for some time, it was only in name — his .886 fielding percentage fully describes that quixotic venture. Trade offers big enough to pry him away never came around — potentially because of the failures of similar prospect Matt LaPorta (how I dreamed of a LaPorta-Fielder-Gamel core six years ago), but more likely because he suffered from major contact issues. Once he hit Triple-A, Gamel routinely posted Ryan Howard-esque strikeout rates — 27.8 percent in 2009 and 28.1 percent in 2010. These contact issues characterized Gamel’s one extended stint in the majors. Gamel took 148 plate appearances over 61 games and struck out 54 times (36.5 percent). Although he showed solid power — he slugged five home runs, six doubles and a triple — such contact issues would be a severe limiting factor over a full season. If there’s reason for hope for Milwaukee, it’s his performance since returning to the minor leagues. Gamel lowered his strikeout rate to 17.8 percent in Triple-A for the rest of 2010 and posted a sharp 15.4 percent strikeout rate in 545 plate appearances in 2011 at the same level. Although his power remains underwhelming given the PCL envirnoment — his .229 ISO in 2011 was his best in three 75-game or longer stints there — developing contact skills should pay extra dividends with a swing that was always built more for line drives than lofty power anyway. Still, even the most optimistic projections shouldn’t expect Gamel to be useful against left-handed pitching, something he’s always struggled a bit with. The Brewers don’t have an obvious platoon partner in the system — they shouldn’t pull Hunter Morris off the development track for six weeks of a short-side platoon role. The free agent list is pretty much barren, so Gamel may just have to try his best to handle lefties until Hart returns. Four years ago, Gamel looked poised to join the Brewers’ bevy of home-grown big-time bats — Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks and J.J. Hardy, all drafted by Jack Zduriencik, powered the Brewers to their first playoff berth in 2008, just one year before Gamel took the 34th spot on Baseball America’s top-100 prospects list. But Gamel has shown just how tough it can be to develop and find a spot for prospects who don’t have a true home. His one chance — seemingly his last chance — evaporated as his ACL tore up just 21 games into 2012. Now, thanks to Hart’s knee injury, he gets one final shot to prove he belongs in the major leagues.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: No NFL team is moving to Los Angeles in 2015

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

Report: Jim Harbaugh being encouraged to take Michigan job

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Grizzlies players buy new car for team intern

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.