Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has stated he plans to keep Corey Hart at first base, Norichika Aoki in right field, and Mat Gamel in support off the bench in 2013.
Many fans are not surprised by this decision considering how well Hart played defensively at first base this past season. Also, keeping Aoki out of the lineup is something the Brewers simply cannot do after his breakout year in 2012. Even though Milwaukee made a promise to Gamel that he was the first baseman of the future, things change quickly in MLB and this decision is to make the team better.
Keeping Hart at first base will also help with his lingering knee problem because it means he will not have to run as much. Not to mention, with his size he is an ideal defensive first baseman because of his incredible reach.
The fact Aoki will be playing full time next season is very good news considering how big of an impact he had on offense and defense in 2012. The former Japanese sensation is a finalist for the National League Rookie of the Year. Although there is a good chance he will not win, his phenomenal play is what helped Milwaukee get out of a deep hole and make a run at the second NL Wild Card spot.
Gamel’s season ended earlier this year when he tore his ACL against the San Diego Padres. It is unfortunate that the injury happened because of how much potential he displayed on the field. Gamel will still be an awesome threat off the bench for manager Ron Roenicke, as his big bat will be used in clutch situations. Not to mention, if injuries plagued the Brewers like they did in 2012 than having a solid backup is a good call.
As good as these three men are defensively they are even better on offense, which is good considering Milwaukee is one of the top offensive clubs in all of baseball. Hart finished the season with a .270 batting average, 35 doubles, 30 home runs, 91 runs, and 83 runs batted in. Aoki batted .288 with 37 doubles, 10 home runs, 50 RBIs, 81 runs, and 30 stolen bases.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.