Arquimedes Gamboa was one of those guys who came with widely ranging reports from scouts who saw him in Venezuela. If you throw out the highs and the lows, what you're left with is a young player with plenty of skills, but hadn't shown any evidence that those skills would translate easily to professional ball. Of course, keep in mind that Gamboa didn't have the seasoning that many young players get in the Venezuelan Summer League and he is still just 19 years old. It's also worth noting that Gamboa missed part of last season with an injury.
After his first two seasons, it's clear to see that the process of finding those skills in Gamboa's current game is going slowly. Defense and speed were the calling cards that most scouts agreed upon with Gamboa, but last season, his 16 errors were the second most in the New York-Penn League among shortstops and his .904 fielding percentage was the second lowest among NYPL shortstops with at least 20 games played at the position.
Speed-wise, Gamboa has been handcuffed - or would it be shackled - by his inability to get on-base. With just over a 6% walk percentage last season and a .200 batting average, for a resulting .254 on-base percentage, Gamboa simply didn't have a lot of opportunities to showcase any of his speed.
In his two minor league seasons, Gamboa has hit a combined .194 in the Gulf Coast League and NYPL, where he is likely to spend the 2017 season. The other option would be to challenge Gamboa, who the Phillies think very highly of, with a spot on the Lakewood roster to open the season, giving him until mid-June and the opening of the NYPL season to show he can stick at the Low-A level. There were some baby-steps worth of progress by Gamboa last season as he sought to improve on plate discipline and to make better contact. In his 35 games, he hit two home runs for the Crosscutters, but nobody is expecting too much from Gamboa in terms of power. If he reaches a point where he can hit eight or 10 home runs a season, that will be reaching the top of where it was thought he would be as a power-hitter.
After posting nearly equal numbers against right-handed and left-handed pitching last season, Gamboa seemed to struggle much more against lefties last season. Against southpaws, Gamboa managed to hit just .136 in 27 plate appearances last season, while batting .213 against righties. The lack of opportunities is likely responsible for at least some of the struggle, but it will be interesting to see if that continues in 2017.
The bottom line is that we're still in somewhat of a wait-and-see situation with Gamboa. He's not unlike Carlos Tocci who was on everybody's radar at a very early age and has endured a lot of growing pains in working his way through the system. Gamboa has the advantage of not getting quite as much hype as Tocci did at an early age, so the pressure isn't quite as high on him. If all goes well, Gamboa will stay healthy in 2017 and put up nice enough numbers to get to Lakewood one way or another. At this point, he doesn't have to put on a huge show - although that would be ideal - he just has to show that there is progress and that he's starting to put all of the skills together.
|All Levels (2 Seasons)||85||353||320||38||62||13||3||2||31||13||3||24||78||.194||.253||.272|