Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #54 Caleb Gindl

After a two day break because of coach Joe Crawford and bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel, Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers is back as we sit 54 days away from Opening Day 2012!

The owner of jersey 54 is none other than recent 40-man roster addition and outfield prospect:

Caleb Gindl.

Caleb Charles Gindl was drafted by the Brewers out of high school in the 5th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He has risen steadily through the minor-league system.

After signing in 2007, Gindl spent the balance of the year in the Pioneer League with the rookie ball Helena Brewers. Gindl started 2008 in Low-A ball with the West Virgina Power and played the entire season there. 2009 was spent entirely in High-A as a Brevard County Manatee. Double-A was Gindl’s home for all of 2010. In keeping with tradition, Gindl spent one full season with only one club and at a level higher than he player the previous year. In other words, Gindl’s 2011 season was as a member of the Nashville Sounds.

Chances are that 2012 will break Gindl’s streak. Even if there happens to be an open spot in the outfield at Miller Park for a while to begin the season, and even if Gindl wins the 5th outfielder spot on the 25-man roster, there will be five outfielders on the roster for the majority of the season which means that Gindl will assuredly see time in Nashville this year. (I personally believe that any opening in the outfield will be filled by Logan Schafer, but that’s neither here nor there for the purposes of this article.)

Gindl stands 5’9″, a height that has many scouts questioning the chances for his game to translate to a big league level. Then again, that same stature had people questioning his ability to succeed at Triple-A, and at Double-A. Gindl has proven the doubters wrong at every step, even to the point where national baseball writers are taking notice and saying that he stands a good chance to win the top backup outfielder spot, whether that’s with Milwaukee or not, to begin the season.

The major thing working against Gindl is that he doesn’t really have a fit right now in a major league outfield. His offense profiles as a center fielder but his defense will probably restrict him to playing the corners. His professional career batting average rounds up to .300 and he sports an .845 OPS. Gindl hasn’t been very consistent over his minor league career year-over-year, but some of that is to be expected since he’s spent each year in a different league and against different pitchers.

Gindl has been said be without good stolen-base speed but is a fair base runner that can stretch some long singles into doubles. He has been improving his contact and walk rates and I’ve read plenty about how he possesses enough arm to play right field at the big league level.

If Gindl does break camp with the Brewers, it’ll be interesting to see how he is utilized off the bench. He bats left-handed so there’s no real platoon advantage to be had should they shift Corey Hart to first base against a tough left-handed pitcher later in the season.

The bottom line for Gindl is that barring something catastrophic, he’ll break his advancement streak this year. Another round of seasoning at Nashville can only benefit the Florida native and, like Logan Schafer before him, even if nothing opens up all season in Milwaukee a strong effort could definitely earn him a September call up for his first taste of the show.

Without question is that Caleb Gindl is a name to keep an eye out for when you’re reading through Spring Training reports over the next few weeks.

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