Blake Lalli C/1B
Profile: Lalli came up through the Chicago Cubs system after signing as a non-drafted free agent in 2006. He played three games with Boise in 2006 before moving to Low-A Peoria for 22 games. He returned to Peoria in 2007 where he hit .295 with four home runs.
Lalli spent the 2008 season between three levels, playing for Peoria, High-A Daytona, and AA Tennessee. He spent the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons all at Tennessee despite being named to the Southern League All-Star team in each of those three seasons.
Lalli finally earned a bump up to AAA Iowa in 2012 and hit .259 with 7 home runs in 93 games. He also had a brief cup of coffee with the Cubs in May, where he recorded two hits in six Major League games. In August of 2012 he was dealt to the Oakland A’s. He saw action in just four games for Oakland’s AAA squad and signed on with the Brewers as a free agent this winter.
A solid spring had Lalli on the bubble to make the Brewers roster out of Spring Training, but he was one of the teams last cuts and began the season at AAA Nashville, until Milwaukee needed another bench bat and gave him the call.
Strengths: Lalli has some pop for a catcher and has always hit for a high average. He has a Minor League career batting average of .296, and hit .286 with seven RBI for the Brewers this spring.
Weaknesses: Lalli has split his time between first base and catcher throughout his career. His defense is still a work in progress and his liabilities behind the plate make him better suited for first base. Given that fact, while he has enough power for a catcher, he doesn’t have the home run totals of your average first baseman.
The Future: Milwaukee needs some help off the bench right now and someone who can hold down first base until Corey Hart gets back. With Yuniesky Betancourt currently handling first base duties, it would stand to reason that Lalli should get a good shot at some playing time. Though he likely won’t start any games behind the plate, his presence on the roster gives Ron Roenicke more flexibility to use Jonathan Lucroy or Martin Maldonado off the bench, without having to worry about Logan Schafer putting on the catchers gear in an emergency situation.