The Tigers third round pick in 2009, Gaynor has sandwiched one good offensive year with two very rough offensive years. In his debut with Oneonta in 2009 Gaynor hit below the Mendoza line while getting on base and slugging below .300.
He rebounded in 2010 at West Michigan to hit .286/.354/.436 with a robust 39 doubles and ten home runs, not to mention 80 RBI.
The 2011 season saw the return of the "bad" Gaynor has he struggled his way to a .213/.287/.338 line. In addition to that raw line his strikeout rate went up, his walk rate went down and some of his power seemingly disappeared in the Florida State League humidity.
That said, he did seem to settle in defensively at third base last year, committing just 18 errors in 128 games at the hot corner, as opposed to 25 in 127 games the year before.
Gaynor remains an impressive athlete. He is big, physical and moves well on the field. He has thickened up some since signing but he has maintained most of his flexibility and agility as well.
Gaynor's strength helps him show plus raw power in batting practice with more of a line drive swing than a classically lofted power swing. The power has yet to fully materialize in game situations as his approach and swing-and-miss tendencies have really hampered him.
Gaynor has tried several things to get his hitting going. The Tigers eliminated a leg kick he had employed at Western Kentucky and after struggling in 2009 he went back to that for the 2010 season. He still has trouble getting his hands to the zone in a consistent manner. He tends to tinker with his swing a lot rather than trying to get used to something and just sticking with it. Personally, I don't think the hit tool will come around for Gaynor given the constant tweaking and inability to recognize secondary pitches.
Gaynor is a solid-average runner with good instincts on the bases though he didn't run as much in 2011. He could steal 10-15 bases annually.
Defensively, Gaynor still maintains a healthy contingent of skeptics. His athleticism allows him to get to plenty of balls to either side, though he is better moving toward shortstop than he is down the line. It doesn't always look pretty as he gets it done but he seems to find a way. Gaynor can generate some arm strength from his short-arm delivery.
With serious questions about his ability to hit and his defense at third base, Gaynor is very much a tweener. He will need to hit more to have any big league future, and even the development of his hitting ability will likely leave his profile as a corner infield/corner outfield utility player.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
Gaynor has been healthy for nearly all his professional career. He works incredibly hard to maintain his body and is routinely in peak physical condition.
Even though he struggled at Lakeland in 2011 the Tigers will look to push Gaynor to Double-A Erie to start the 2012 season. This year will be a make or break campaign for Gaynor as he will need to hit to remain on the prospect radar.
There has been increased noise about trying him at other positions in spring training and he could see some time moving around the diamond throughout next year in an attempt to give him added future value.
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