Scouting Yankees Prospect #49: Ben Gamel

The Yankees selected outfielder Ben Gamel in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Bishop Kenny High School in Florida. He has always been known for his overall solid game, his defensive versatility, and his consistency on the field in previous years, but 2014 was the first time he struggled a bit.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Ben Gamel
Position: Outfield
DOB: May 17, 1992
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 185
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

While the numbers were solid overall in his first full season at Double-A last year, hitting .261 with 31 doubles and a career-high 58 runs scored, he did fade down the stretch for the Thunder.

"I thought I had good first half," he said. "I definitely could have finished stronger [though] numbers-wise. My body kind of broke down a little bit. I got a little bit tired so I'm just working hard now to keep my stamina [better] during the season."

A very solid .286 average, .709 OPS showing in his first 385 at-bats last season gave way to a surprising .201/.501 performance in his final 159 at-bats.

"Everyone's got aches and pains that you play through. There was never really an injury or anything like that, I just got tired. I played more this past year than I ever have in the past by more than 20 games. It just took its toll on me and I definitely could have been more prepared for it."

While it is true that he played more than he ever had before, it wasn't the only reason for his second-half struggles. A little bit lost mechanically in his swing combined with a minor reshuffling of his approach were culprits for the swoon as well.

"Defensively I feel like I got better and offensively I was a little more inconsistent than I would have liked to be this past year," he admitted. "Me and Marcus [Thames] picked up on something I was doing at the plate towards the end of the season so that's basically what I'm working on going into this year.

"My stride was a little messed up. I wasn't really getting my foot down in time. There was more into it than that but that's kind of the gist of it."

Gamel also got away from attacking his pitches, the ones he feels more comfortable driving. Instead he succumbed to swinging at the pitches the opposing pitchers were giving him and in hindsight he now realizes that he simply got away from what was giving him success. He knows what he needs to improve going forward.

"Not letting the pitcher get me off of my game," he said. "I've always felt I've controlled the outer-half of the plate pretty well and they started pitching me in, and I started swinging at it.

"Eventually they're going to back out there again, I just need to get them there. I think that hurt me too. Nothing is really on the plate anymore [at the higher levels] so you just have to control your pitch that you know you can drive no matter what."

Not known as a power hitter and perhaps he will never be confused with one, Gamel does believe that after two straight 30-plus double seasons that his power is beginning to emerge somewhat.

"It's going to come around one of these days. I don't know when it's going to be but it'll show up I'm sure. I'm not too worried about it, I just need to control what I can control."

Not overly concerned with the lack of home runs, Gamel just wants to get back to being the player he had been coming up through the lower levels, a scrappy player who can contribute in many different ways. In one word, he wants to get back to being consistent.

Should he do that, now that he has a good bit of Double-A experience under his belt and a Triple-A candidate for 2015, he believes he could be big league ready relatively soon.

"I hope so, no doubt. I just want to stay more consistent. Consistency is the key to this game. There's always room for improvement. I don't think you can ever really settle.

"It's exciting. Every offseason you're ready for your break but about a week into it you start getting that itch again. I've been working out and getting in the cage, and I'm definitely excited to crank it up again," he concluded.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2014 Trenton .261 544 31 2 51 58 13 36 88 .208 .340
2013 Trenton .239 67 4 1 5 5 1 4 18 .282 .343
2013 Tampa .272 364 28 3 49 50 21 48 77 .352 .396
2012 Charleston .306 444 23 2 61 56 19 23 71 .342 .394
2011 Staten Island .289 190 19 2 30 20 7 24 50 .373 .432
2010 GCL Yankees .280 25 1 0 0 3 1 3 8 .357 .320


Batting and Power. While he isn't a high walks guy yet, when he's going right Gamel shows really good patience at the plate and solid pitch recognition, enough to be a .300 hitting candidate in any given season. Not a power hitter at all though, he is at his best when he's using the entire field, taking outside pitches and going to the opposite field more, and hitting from gap to gap. He shows intriguing power in batting practice, enough to suggest the potential to be a double-digit home run hitter someday, but for now the in-game power does grade out as below average. He is more of a scrappy doubles hitter, one who does relish coming up in clutch situations.

Base Running and Speed. Gamel's scrappy style of play is not just limited to his hitting style. More of a slightly above average runner, one whose athleticism and agility grade out higher than his actual running speed, he is more a 20-stolen base per season kind of runner but one who can have more of an impact running station to station.

Defense. Gamel ranks slightly more than a true 'tweener in the outfield. He shows average to above average defensive abilities in centerfield, enough to man the position in a solid everyday capacity, but his overall range does pale in comparison to some of the elite defenders there so he is better served as a corner outfielder. With average arm strength, his best position is left field where he is a true plus defender.

Projection. Five years into his development, Gamel's projection has not changed much. With the ability to man all three outfield positions in average or better fashion, a scrappy style on the base paths and at the plate, and a propensity to come up big in high pressure situations, he best projects as a big league reserve outfielder. There could be some untapped power potential but it could take even more time to materialize and that will require more playing time. If he could find his niche as a big league reserve outfielder and secure a role like that for a few seasons, there is some Angel Pagan-like potential if things break right.

ETA. 2016. There is a bit of an outfield logjam for the Yankees at the higher levels developing. While Gamel should be in the Triple-A mix to start the season, there is a chance that with his struggles down the stretch in 2014 that he could initially be sent back to Trenton for some more seasoning.


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