Brett Carroll will get his first at-bat in a Brewers uniform today. The Brewers’ most recent call-up gets the start in center field for the injured Carlos Gomez against lefthander Madison Bumgarner. Carroll has appeared in one game since the Brewers purchased his contract from AAA Nashville, that being yesterday when he was announced as a pinch hitter but pulled in favor of Mark Kotsay after a pitching change.
Carroll was acquired by the Brewers from the Royals in March 2011 for cash. I noted here that Carroll was unlikely to see the big leagues before rosters expand, though Gomez’s injury changed things quite a bit. Carroll’s play has certainly justified the call-up. In 93 games with the Sounds, Carroll is batting .281, with on base and slugging percentages of .356 and .469, respectively. He’s shown some pop (15 hr), but that number likely won’t transfer over to the much more difficult major league environment. In addition, Carroll hasn’t always been a good hitter, and had an unimpressive 2009 campaign with the Marlins in which he found playing time based entirely on his plus defense, mostly in right field. It was that defense (13.1 UZR) that Jack Moore of Fangraphs deemed “excellent.”
While Carroll’s defense shines, he isn’t quite as good as Gomez and has the potential to be just the liability at the dish that Gomez was. No doubt, losing Gomez was a blow to the Brewers; but if Carroll can keep up his excellent defense and continue to produce at the kind of level that he has in AAA this year, the drop-off should be subtle.