Last May, just a handful of games into the 2012 season, Brewers infielder Mat Gamel tore the ACL in his right knee, an injury that would put him out of action for the rest of the year. Now, less than a week into spring training, Gamel has once again torn those same ligaments and will miss the entire 2013 season.
It’s a desperately tough break for Gamel who, at 27, is still looking to establish himself as a major league player. An injury to Corey Hart meant he came into spring training with a near open run at the starting first baseman job and now he will once again have to take an extended period of time out of the game.
Gamel really established himself as a hitter worth paying attention to in 2008 when he hit .329/.395/.537 at Double-A. He continued to hit at Triple-A but a lack of defensive prowess seemed to hinder his progress to the big leagues. Unfortunately for Gamel his major league performances haven’t really lived up to his past prospect status with a career line of .229/.305/.367. Now with two lost years in a row, it’s hard to see what sort of production he would be able to offer in the future.
Gamel’s clear path to a starting job this year, despite a lack of historic performance, is indicative of the lack of depth the Brewers have at the position with both Gamel and Hart out of action. Short of bringing back Frank Catalanotto, their best internal option looks to be Hunter Morris who put up some impressive numbers in the minors last year but hasn’t yet played above Double-A. Aside from being a reminder of how often prospects don’t work out, Gamel’s last two years just to show the fragility of many athlete’s careers.