Scouting Yankees Prospect #45: Angelo Gumbs

The New York Yankees selected then outfielder Angelo Gumbs in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Torrance High School in California before moving him to second base. One of the toolsiest players in the farm system since his selection, he simply hasn't been able to stay healthy over the years and it culminated in surgery this offseason.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Angelo Gumbs
Position: Second Base
DOB: October 13, 1992
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Plagued by injuries over the years, including a torn ligament in his finger, a torn left triceps injury, and a concussion in seasons prior, Gumbs' inability to remain on the field for any sustained period was reflected in his rather lackluster numbers and 2014 was no different in either regard as he hit just a combined .233 over two minor league levels.

"Overall last year was an okay year," he said. "It was better than my previous season so it was a step in the right direction in that regard but it was just okay, [I'm] a little more prone to injury. "

Yes it was a step up statistically from the year before considering he hit just .213 over two levels in 2013 but he failed to amass 100 games played for the fourth consecutive season, a milestone he has yet to accomplish in his career to date.

He had been dealing with shoulder instability in his left shoulder for years, a situation where his shoulder would periodically pop out of joint. It happened more and more frequently in 2014, however, and it was the main reason he was constantly in and out of the Tampa lineup. In fact it got so bad that eventually he tore the labrum in his shoulder and he had surgery to correct it on September 5th.

"Initially in high school they said it sub-luxed," he revealed. "They told me to not do any baseball activity for a month and I'd be fine, and it eventually got worse throughout the year [last season].

"On the backswing at some points when I'm getting ready to impact the ball on inside pitches it would affect it and defensively diving for balls it would affect it. It wouldn't take much movement for the shoulder to pop out a little bit."

It was more of a minor nagging nuisance than anything through his first few professional seasons. In fact, his condition was the exact same one current Yankee farmhand Mason Williams had endured a few years until his reached the point where the labrum tore and subsequently needed surgery.

Williams had his surgery in August of 2012 so Gumbs has known for a while that it was just a matter of time before he would ultimately suffer the same fate. He was just waiting for his condition to get to the point where the doctors could go in and do something about it. He was basically biding his time.

"The trainers didn't want to push it too far," he said of 2014. "Usually when it happened I'd just keep going until my shoulder dislocated and I'd pop it back in a little bit and keep going.

"This [past] year the trainers wanted me to be cautious with it, basically they didn't want me to keep going during a game [if the shoulder popped]. They'd pull me out, have me ice it down, and do some treatments."

He found out in late May that his sub-luxed shoulder, which has begun to experience more pain, finally reached the point where he had torn the labrum and surgery was going to be scheduled for late August or early September. As was the case with previous injuries that had plagued Gumbs, he felt some pressure to perform while he was able to play.

"Yeah I did," he admitted. "I was trying to work through it and my mentality when they pulled me out of the games was I had less time to be better. It was kind of like my days were numbered.

"When it popped out [earlier in the season] I got it examined and they said my labrum was torn. The trainer told me let's plan to have the surgery in August so I felt like my days were numbered a little bit so I was like 'okay, I've got to get going'."

And just like he had with previous setbacks that pressure to perform negatively impacted the desired results. Dealing with an array of injuries over the years would cause anyone to feel a bit snake-bit.

"I think I'll be fine this year," he said optimistically. "I got the shoulder fixed, the triceps fixed, and my finger was just a freak thing. I think I'll be fine this year.

"I'm going to do my part to make sure I stay healthy for as long as I can stay healthy by stretching right and everything. I'm on a permanent arm care program now so I'll be maintaining my arm on a daily basis, my left arm."

For a guy who has never really been healthy since the start of his professional career he just feels a sense of relief that at least one nagging condition is finally over.

"It's a big relief," he exclaimed. "I've been working out now, lifting weights, and doing everything, and it feels like I have a brand new shoulder. I'm not worried about anything when I move a certain way."

He is still in the midst of finishing his rehab program, however, and the current timetable has him most likely returning a week or two into the start of the 2015 season.

"We're pretty close to coming to the end of the rehab program so I'm getting excited for this season. As of now the plan is kind of unclear but I have heard that I will play in some of the last Spring Training games, maybe the last week."

He reported to camp on Monday and has begun taking dry swings and fielding ground balls. He's hoping to finally put his health concerns behind him and finally have that much needed breakout season he's been eagerly anticipating. He realizes this upcoming season is a truly important one.

"Mentally I'm ready. This whole offseason I've been preparing for this [upcoming] year. Going back and looking at video of my at-bats last season, basically going back to the drawing board and seeing what I can improve.

"I'm not trying to make too many drastic changes. I'm not trying to be a head case. I just want to do enough to have a plan, feel comfortable with my plan and stick to it, and make it happen.

"It's a big year for me I feel like. I have to put up the numbers or if don't -- I feel like I'm going to do something good this year," he concluded.














2014 Tampa .224 331 15 5 28 28 7 18 97 .267 .332
2014 Tampa .412 17 3 0 4 3 2 0 2 .444 .706
2013 Tampa .214 159 10 0 11 16 6 8 31 .265 .302
2013 Charleston .213 202 10 4 26 20 10 13 55 .261 .351
2012 Charleston .272 257 14 7 36 40 26 18 60 .320 .432
2011 Staten Island .264 197 11 3 29 32 11 20 57 .332 .406
2010 GCL Yankees .192 26 1 0 0 1 3 1 3 .222 .231

Batting and Power. With exceptionally quick and strong hands, Gumbs has truly explosive bat speed and it allows him to generate average or better power potential despite his smaller frame. That great bat speed also allows him to be pretty adept at waiting on certain pitches and when he uses the whole field he has proven in spurts to be a very consistent hitter. However, as fiery a competitor as there is, he tends to over-swing at times, become a little too pull-happy, and that can cause some real inconsistencies in his swing too. He has the potential to be a very good hitter when he employs a relaxed approach, uses the whole field, and doesn't try to do too much.

Base Running and Speed. Just as is the case with his hitting, Gumbs can be ultra-aggressive on the base paths so despite his above average speed and overall great athleticism he can run himself [and his team] into trouble. That inconsistency doesn't allow him to be a high-percentage base stealer and he will get thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles at times too, but he can also be an impact base runner with his really good speed when he makes the right decisions.

Defense. A pure athlete, Gumbs has the above average to plus range and better than average hands to be one of the elite defensive second baseman at times. Again, however, there will be times where he tries to do too much rather than eat the ball on difficult plays so he can be prone to errors too. The potential is there to be a plus defender if he can smooth out the rough edges and become more consistent in his decision making.

Projection. First and foremost Gumbs simply needs to stay healthy going forward in any hopes of tapping his considerable ceiling. His inability to remain on the field for any extended period has cut into his development time. It has not only caused him to miss out on smoothing the rougher edges of his game but it has caused him to be too pushy in forcing the issue in the field, at the plate, and on the base paths when he has been able to play. With top-shelf bat speed, average to above average power potential, and plus defensive potential, he has some real Brandon Phillips-like qualities. Getting healthy, staying healthy, and employing a calmer and more relaxed overall approach to his development though are absolutely crucial in order to come remotely close to scratching that potential.

ETA. N/A. With his checkered injury history it is unwise to estimate a potential big league arrival time. Approaching do or die time and in almost sink or swim fashion, despite his lackluster numbers thus far he is still a candidate to see significant time in Double-A Trenton in 2015 no matter where he begins the season.

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