Don’t You Forget About Me (*ReReDeux): Mat Gamel

This video is simply silly bad.  Just silly.

Baseball is as guilty as any sport or form of entertainment when it comes to out-of-control hype machines.  It is nearly impossible to predict with complete accuracy how a young player will handle the jump to the big leagues or how they will pan out in the long run.  We as baseball fans, and more importantly fantasy baseball fans, have impossibly short memories.  Prospects are here today, gone tomorrow.  We overdraft a hyped young’n only to have him flounder in the big show, then we forget about him.  The process is very frustrating.  However, it also leads to the delightful subset of players known as the post-hype sleeper.  Post-hype sleepers are a greatly valuable fantasy commodity.  They’re the change found in the couch.  The beer in the very back of the fridge.  You know they’re there, but they’ve been pushed to the back of your mind, only to be stumbled upon later when you least expect it- and probably need it.  But not for you, clever fantasy baseball-person, you.  You’re getting ahead of the curve.  You haven’t forgotten.  You lie in wait, mock drafting, plotting, scheming.  You know there is value to be had with these gently used former shiny prospects.  Where these players were reached for last year, they’ll slide to the later rounds in 2012.  So dust off your 2011 2009 Baseball America preview, get your notepads ready, I’m going to squeeze some knowledge juice from my mind grapes.

Don’t you forget about: Mat Gamel

um... yikes?

Wait… Mat Gamel?!  Doesn’t it seem as though he’s been a prospect forever? Does he know he’s missing a ‘ T? ‘  Yes and No.  I must admit, when I was considering writing about post-hype guys, I almost pushed Gamel to the backburner because it felt like he had already been up and down so many times over.  But I didn’t realize just how little chance he’s had to prove himself in the bigs.  He only has 194 plate appearances for Milwaukee!  Over 4 partial seasons!  Every time he’s been up, it’s been for insurance or for interleague, as a semi-DH.  With that small a sample size, the presence of Prince Fielder, and the stubbornly inconsistent Casey McGehee, it’s a wonder Gamel is still in the organization.  It seems now is the time for him to get his shot.  And oh, what timing…

Ah, the age-27 season.  Don’t listen to Tristan Cockcroft circa 2008, or do, whatever.  I get it.  He has a fancy ‘real’ blog.  If you love him so much, why don’t you marry him?  There is ample evidence (great fangraphs look here) and common sense on my side here.  That article explains that players’ progressions do peak between ages 26 and 29 – for some aspects of the game.  This makes perfect sense.  A batter should be in excellent physical shape around that time AND should be mastering their grasp on the strike zone and pitchers in their leagues.  Given a few years (anywhere from 2-5 or whatever) in the game, a player should be committed to routine, have professionals helping them with their fitness and nutrition, etc. etc.  This is not science, but it makes a whole lot of sense.

This larger discussion is merely a digression, however.  It’s great fun to look at the guys who have taken off in their age-27 years.  However Gamel’s age is more of a concern at this point, as most of his seasoning has come at the AAA level.  That is not to say he’s performed poorly.  Quite the opposite.  Everything points to him being a very solid corner infielder in the bigs.  He hit an extra base hit every 8.784 at-bats and hit .301 with an OPS of .886 over 4 AAA seasons.  He had an overall almost 1:2 BB:K ratio in AAA, very solid for a power hitter.  He seems primed to take over, ready to break over and displays the proper hitting technique to succeed at the higher level.  He projects to be the starter (Prince isn’t walking through that door, BrewCrew) and projects to put up, as I said, solid (if unspectacular) numbers.  Bill James has him hitting 19 homers with 72 RBI (and a .282 BA), in reduced at bats (443).  This is a conservative AB assessment, but clearly serviceable numbers.  Given a fuller season, couldn’t Gamel give a 20+ – homer, 85 RBI, .280  BA?  This seems like a reasonable, likely expectation.  And at an ADP of  242.99 (as of posting, via MDC), I beg of you…


Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns.

…. don’t you forget about Mat Gamel.



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Filed under Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, first base, MLB, Posted, Put Up or Shut Up, Sleepers

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