Profile: Following their game on Sunday, Milwaukee promoted utility infielder Irving Falu from Triple-A Nashville to fill the spot that opened when they outrighted Jeff Bianchi to Triple-A on Saturday.
The 30-year-old Falu hails from Hato Rey, Puerto Rico and was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 21st round of the 2003 draft out of Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.
Falu went on to spend 11 seasons in the Royals organization, playing in 1151 minor league games for Kansas City. In 2012, he hit a career high .329 with seven home runs and 50 runs batted in in 88 games at Triple-A Omaha. That earned Falu his first call-up to the majors.
He made his Major League debut on May 6th, 2012 and saw action in 24 games with the Royals that season. In 85 big league at bats, Falu hit .341 with six doubles, one triple and scored 14 runs.
Falu returned to Omaha in 2013 and spent the entire season there, batting .256 with two home runs in 135 games. He earned a September call-up once again with the Royals, but saw action in just one game, late in September, going 1-for-4.
In December of 2013, Falu signed as a free agent with Milwaukee. He enjoyed a successful Spring Training with the Brewers in which he hit .361 in 24 games before being one of the final players optioned to Triple-A Nashville before the season began. Through 38 games with the Sounds this season, Falu was batting .288 with a home run and 14 runs scored.
Strengths: Versatility is a key for Falu who has seen time at second base, shortstop and third base for Nashville this season. He also has experience at all three outfield positions with the Royals. In addition, Falu is a switch-hitter, who has hit right-handed and left-handed pitching fairly evenly throughout his career. He also has decent speed and shows a good eye at the plate, not striking out a lot throughout his minor league career.
Weaknesses: A bit on the small side, Falu doesn’t have a ton of pop in his bat, though he will muscle up and hit one out from time to time. Despite his speed, Falu’s base running is not a strength either, as he’s been thrown out about once per every three stolen base attempts throughout his career.
Future: In the short-term, the Brewers will use Falu in a utility/pinch-hitter role, providing depth around the infield. His patience at the plate should be a benefit on a team loaded with free swingers and his ability to play multiple positions and hit from both sides of the plate will provide Ron Roenicke with some much needed flexibility off his bench. Already 30-years-old, Falu’s big league future is likely that of a bench player, but his skill-set could allow him to remain in the major leagues for a few seasons as a jack-of-all-trades reserve for a team in need of versatility on their bench.