If you need directions or a restaurant recommendation in a Southern or Pacific Coast League city, there's a strong chance Sean Halton can help you out.
Since being the Brewers' 13th round pick in the 2009 draft, Halton has spent most of his career in the upper levels of the minors, waiting for an opportunity that seemed unlikely to come. He's a career .290/.351/.450 hitter on the farm but played almost exclusively at first base, making him a tough fit on an MLB roster.
The Brewers' first base woes in 2013 were well documented, though, as the likes of Alex Gonzalez, Yuniesky Betancourt and Blake Lalli all started games there. Really, it's pretty amazing the Brewers waited until the end of June to give Halton, who was hitting .288/.338/.492 for Nashville, his first MLB opportunity.
Halton collected a hit as a pinch hitter in his MLB debut on June 27 but struggled to find his power stroke in the big leagues, hitting .237/.308/.322 in his first 28 games. His power came back down the stretch but was replaced with an all-or-nothing streak in September. He wrapped up the season with a .238/.267/.500 stretch in his last 14 games, connecting for three home runs and driving in eleven but also striking out 16 times in 42 at bats.
Halton is playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic this offseason and hitting pretty well, posting a .327/.410/.538 batting line in 15 games for Licey. He'll likely need to carry that hot performance over into the spring if he's going to hit his way onto the 2014 roster.
Halton only had one hit against the Reds on September 15 but it was a big one. The Brewers had rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game at 5 in the eighth, and in the ninth Halton untied it with this walkoff blast:
Halton's 2013 stint in the majors was his first MLB tenure, so he has less than a year of service time. If he makes the major league team out of spring training and never returns to the minors he'll be eligible for arbitration following the 2016 season and free agency following 2019.
2013 was also Halton's first season on the 40-man roster, so he has two options remaining.
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