Projected Bench Players for the Milwaukee Brewers 2013 MLB Season

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Projected Bench Players for the Milwaukee Brewers 2013 MLB Season

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With catchers and pitchers reporting in just three weeks and all non-World Baseball Classic players showing up to spring training in a month, the 2013 MLB season is almost ready to kick off. With that being said, here is a look at the projected bench players for the Milwaukee Brewers this season.

Since the Brewers are cutting their payroll by 20 percent, down from $100 million to $80 million that means there is no room to acquire free agent position players. Milwaukee’s bench hitters will instead consist of top prospects that all appeared on the team at some point last season. Each of these four players proved they have what it takes to succeed in the critical reserve role.

Bench players on every major league roster play a significant role in almost every game in the National League. For a player to be expected to deliver in a crucial pinch hit situation late in the game is asking a lot after sitting on the bench for several hours. The only way for a player to warm up is in the batting cage in the clubhouse and that hardly resembles a real life situation.

It is also very important for reserves to be outstanding defensive players. Take former Brewer Craig Counsell for example. He was not the greatest hitter in the world, especially late in his career, but he was clutch at the plate as two World Series championships are proof of that. More importantly, he was versatile in the field in which he could play several different positions. Just because Counsell could not hit did not mean he was not a valuable member of the Brewers for the mere fact that he could close out games with his glove.

The following four bench players must work hard this off-season so they can perform at a high-level when called upon in 2013.

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Mat Gamel

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First baseman Mat Gamel will begin the 2013 season in a starting role as Corey Hart must undergo knee surgery and will miss at least the first six weeks of the season. However, Gamel will then fall back into a reserve role once Hart returns. The 27-year-old will be manager Ron Roenicke’s top pinch hitter and will be called upon late in games to swing for the fences when Milwaukee needs it most. Gamel has yet to display his power in the majors as he only hit one home run last season in 69 chances. However, he has proven in the minors that he is a top offensive threat.

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Martin Maldonado

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Catcher Martin Maldonado played a critical role for the Brewers last season as he took over the starting duties when Jonathan Lucroy broke his hand. Maldonado has been known as a superior defensive catcher who lacks a bit at the plate, but he proved this to be wrong last year in several instances. The 26-year-old batted .266 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs in 233 plate appearances. The Puerto Rican native, who will be playing in the WBC for his home country, will be a top hitter off the bench and will also be utilized in the starting lineup throughout the season.

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Taylor Green

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Infielder Taylor Green will play a big role on the team in which he will be expected to line up at first, second and third base while also playing shortstop if need be. Green has proven to be an outstanding defensive player and could very well be considered the team’s present day Counsell. The 26-year-old certainly must improve offensively but has shown potential in his 140 big-league at-bats. Hopefully, playing for Team Canada in the WBC will give Green some insight on how to better approach major league pitchers.

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Logan Schafer

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Logan Schafer, who was called up at the end of last season, will be Milwaukee’s lone outfielder on the bench. Considering he is a left-handed hitter, it is unknown if he will platoon center field with Carlos Gomez or play when one of the starters need a break. Since Gomez played so well last season the Brewers might be content letting him play every day. However, if he is unable to deliver early in the season then Schafer will be expected to play whenever there is a right-handed starting pitcher on the mound. The 26-year-old has a .308 batting average with one double, two triples and five RBIs in 26 career plate appearances.

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Hunter Morris

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With Hart on the disabled list, Milwaukee must add one more bench player for the first two months of the season. This player could very well be first baseman prospect Hunter Morris. I have Morris ranked No. 5 on my list of the top 10 Brewers prospects for the 2013 season. The 24-year-old left-handed hitter batted .303 with 28 home runs, 113 RBIs, 40 doubles and six triples in Double-A last season. He was named the 2012 Southern League MVP for his solid performance. I believe Morris would be a solid addition to the team in the first part of the season and could get some much needed major league experience.

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