Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers – #15 Caleb Gindl

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Two more Sundays until Major League Baseball celebrates Opening Night and annoys the rest of us by making far too big of a deal of one game instead of simply letting everyone open the season together on April 1st.

Well, the Brewers open on April 1st and we’re 15 days away from that oh so glorious Monday.

Today we profile a player who was added to the 40-man roster before last season but ended up spending all of 2012 in the minor leagues.

CalebGindl

He is…

Caleb Gindl.

Caleb Charles Gindl was a 5th round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers back in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He was drafted out of Pace High School in Pace, Florida and signed almost immediately. He reported to the rookie-level Helena Brewers for almost three months in 2007, getting a jump on those that waited until the last days to sign.

Gindl has been a steady riser in the Brewers organization, playing one full season at each stop along the organization ladder. 2008 was with the West Virgina Power (this was back before the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers were the Class-A affiliate), 2009 was at Class-A Advance Brevard County, 2010 with Class-AA Huntsville, 2011 with Class-AAA Nashville. When 2011 ended with Gindl being added to the 40-man, 2012 should have been his chance.

The problem with that was how the Brewers had a full outfield contingent entering the 2012 season. Gindl would repeat 2012 as a result.

He started the season slowly, as did many of the Nashville Sounds players. Gindl was only hitting .208/.252/.347 at the end of April. May wasn’t much better. Gindl was .232/.318/.351 in May, but at least his on-base was starting to rebound. That was a good sign. In 107 plate appearances in April, Gindl only walked five times. In 220 PA in May, Gindl walked 25 times. July ended up at Gindl’s best month at .337/.396/.532 though his August and September numbers were very good and June wasn’t bad at all.

Despite average corner outfield defense, much of Gindl’s value comes from his bat. At the big league level, he’s a bit of a man without a position. His bat isn’t quite what you want out of a corner outfielder and he doesn’t play center well enough from a range standpoint where his bat would play better.

Still, Gindl should eventually offer plenty of value as a backup outfielder and pinch-hitter. He’s hit for a good average all along the way and should continue to provide the same once he adjusts to the pitching at the highest level of the sport.

The problems for Gindl this year though are three-fold. First, the team doesn’t need to carry five outfielders because of the versatility of some of the options. Secondly, Logan Schafer is clearly the better option as fourth outfielder as he plays superior defense. Third, despite solid numbers so far this spring, another outfield prospect has been on fire this spring in Khris Davis.

Still, Gindl is only 24 years old and has two options remaining so even if the organization decides to start him at Nashville again this year, Gindl has time to still contribute as a Brewer down the road.

Gindl’s stature also works against him in the eyes of several scouts as he is only 5’9″ but the skills have proven themselves to be contained in the frame he has. He can hit, and if you can hit, you tend to find work.

There are a couple of decisions which the Brewers need to make in the next two weeks. Will they carry a fifth outfielder and, if so, who will it be?

I think Gindl is in the conversation for sure. Where he ends up though is anyone’s guess at this point. His change to number 15 this year though speaks well to his potential at some big league service time in the near future.

Then again, and more importantly, so does his bat.

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:

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