While Milwaukee Brewers fans remain perpetually glued to their television sets with the postseason almost ready to take shape, we here at Bleacher Report can't wait for next season to get under way.
Yes, we realize the Brewers just clinched their first division title since 1982, and yes, we realize this will likely be Prince Fielder's final go-around with the club.
However, we just can't seem to get past the fact that 2012 will usher in a whole new era filled with fresh faces in new places. It's an exhilarating feeling, quite frankly.
Let’s take a look at five prospects we can’t wait to see in 2012.
The 27-year-old Gamel has more or less spent his entire career in Milwaukee's minor-league system. He made a solid impression with the club back in 2009, where he batted .242 with 5 HR and 20 RBI in 128 plate appearances.
While this may not be appealing to Brewers fans, seeing as how Prince Fielder's absence will leave a colossal hole in Ron Roenicke's lineup, we should have confidence with what Gamel brings to the table.
His left-handed bat will be an ideal replacement for Fielder next season and into the future. Granted, he'll need to clean up his rather sloppy defensive habits; however, there's no questioning his raw talent and aptitude at the next level.
Since his first full minor-league season in the Brewers' system way back in 2005, Gamel has registered 105 HR, 503 RBI, has a .304 BA while maintaining a .873 OPS.
He won't be anything close to what Fielder has been, but I believe he'll be good enough.
Unlike many top-tier prospects who have emerged from Milwaukee's farm system in years past, Green has taken a more unconventional route to the majors and has remained relatively unheard of by most Brewers fans.
Spending five surprisingly productive seasons in the minors, Green suddenly vaulted himself into a part-time role, with a full-time role potentially waiting for him in 2012.
All Green has managed to do in his six minor league seasons is amass 71 home runs, 402 RBI, and 142 doubles and maintain a .831 OPS.
If he can transition that success into an everyday role with the Brewers, he'll have a chance to become a fan-favorite and All-Star candidate in no time.
If there was one surefire September call-up bound to come to fruition last month, it would certainly have been Peralta.
Finishing 2011 with a combined 3.17 ERA between AA-Hunstville and AAA-Nashville, Peralta, if nothing else, would have made a solid addition to add depth to Milwaukee’s bullpen for the stretch run toward the postseason.
Yet, for whatever reason, that largely anticipated call-up never happened — leaving us all scratching our heads in amazement.
Nevertheless, expect to see the 22-year-old Peralta in a Brewers uniform by the end of 2012. With a number of discouraging contract situations looming, such as LaTroy Hawkins, you could make the case for the young right-hander to be in the bullpen on opening day.
If you haven’t already heard of him, you might want to change that.
The 26-year-old Fiers was recently named Milwaukee’s minor-league pitcher of the year, holding true to a combined 1.86 ERA with AA-Hunstville and AAA-Nashville. In 10 starts with the Sounds, Fiers went 10-0 with a stifling 1.11 ERA and 69 SO in 64.2 innings of work.
His successes in 2011 were enough for the Brewers to bring him up from the minors, making his MLB debut on September 14, where he struck out two while allowing two hits in an inning of relief.
Like Peralta, Fiers will more than likely get his shot at Milwaukee’s bullpen by 2012.
Though you’re probably more likely to recognize him from one of SportsCenter’s most bizarre plays than for his actual on-field productivity, we shouldn't lose sight of what the 25-year-old center fielder brings to the table.
His 6’1″, 180-pound frame enabled him to roam the outfield with great efficiency for three of Milwaukee’s top minor-league affiliates in 2011.
His bat isn’t half bad, either.
Maintaining a .315 BA while accumulating 5 HR, 43 RBI and 16 SB this season, Schaefer was recalled from AAA-Nashville, adding another left-handed bat and some much-needed speed on the bases.
With Nyjer Morgan’s contract situation yet to be handled, Schaefer could potentially be included in Milwaukee’s opening-day depth chart. We’ll have to wait and see.