Monday, June 16, 2008

Tony Gwynn Jr., 'Chip Off Old Rock,' Leading Team

Brewers prospect Tony Gwynn Jr. -- 26-year-old son of the Hall of Fame former Padres singles hitter -- is starting to show why Milwaukee General Manager Doug Melvin selected him as the 29th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Gwynn's .310 average leads the Triple A Nashville Sounds among players with 75 or more at-bats, staging Gwynn's rendezvous with a major front office decision on whether the Brewers should promote or trade him.

Ordinarily, trading Gwynn might be considered unthinkable. But the possibility becomes closer to reality as Melvin must determine whether the team has a realistic shot at competing for a wild card berth this year, thus creating a need to deal Gwynn or other young players to acquire pitching for the playoff run.

Further complicating the issue is that Gwynn is blocked in Milwaukee by left fielder Ryan Braun, center fielder Mike Cameron and right fielder Corey Hart. If Gwynn continues to be held as a deep reserve, the team risks losing him altogether as he will soon be out of options and must be exposed to other teams should he be called up then sent down again next season.