Name: Ben Gamel
DOB: May 17, 1992
Batting and Power. Gamel has been [and continues to be] one of the more consistent hitters around and it's primarily due to his above average plate patience, advanced pitch recognition, and ability to fight off good pitches. He simply doesn't give at-bats away. Extremely adept at finding that fine balance between being patient but yet aggressive, he is locked in on the pitches he's looking for and he very rarely gives in to pitchers by going out of the zone. He also uses the whole field when he hits, looking for line drives from gap to gap, and his whole offensive approach and reluctance to swing at less than borderline pitches spells .300 hitting ability. His power potential had always graded out as big league average at best coming up through the minor leagues, perhaps even below average, and now his power is finally starting to show up. More of a high extra-base hitter than a true home run hitter though, as he proved in 2015 he has the potential to be a low double-digit home run hitter.
Base Running and Speed. Just like in his at-bats, Gamel is flat-out scrappy on the base paths. Grading out as perhaps just a tick above average speed-wise, he uses his better than average athleticism, agility, and high baseball acumen to be a real pest running the bases. A true impact runner station to station, one who excels taking the extra base, he isn't an elite base stealling threat but has more than enough ability to chip in with 20 or more stolen bases per year.
Defense. Gamel is an above average defensive player at all three outfield spots due to his all-out hustle style of play and inability to take plays off. He simply wills himself to make every play possible. There are some centerfielders with better natural speed so he does pale in comparison to some in that regard and that can relegate him to being more of a corner outfield spot in some groupings but few can match his tenacity. With just average arm strength he is probably better served in left field where he is a plus defensive player but he has more than enough ability to man centerfield everyday in more than capable fashion if need be.
Projection. Tenacious, determined, relentless, scrappy, and hard-nosed are all very apt descriptions of every phase of Gamel's game but perhaps the one word that describes his entire game the best is 'pesky'. With average or better tools across the board for the most part [perhaps outside of his power potential], he simply does everything well. He's the kind of player opposing teams hate and yet the kind of player every teammate loves because he never takes plays off whether it's at the plate, on the bases, or in the field. He takes that same all-out approach off the field too in the gym and the training room. Much like Brett Gardner coming up, his moderate power potential has always muddied Gamel's big league projection and limited it to more of an eventual big league reserve outfielder type from a pure profile standpoint but with off the charts makeup he is also the type of player that can will himself to be so much more. And like Gardner he's the type of player who is tough to bet against eventually finding a full-time starting role at the big league level someday, even if he begins his big league career coming off of the bench.
ETA. 2016. Gamel's biggest obstacle right now is fighting depth is in his own organization. With the likes of Gardner and Ellsbury already at the big league level right now, and with more tooled-up prospects like Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams already playing at the same level as him, all of whom have similar skillsets profile-wise, Gamel has just a few too many bodies to leapfrog. He'll open up back in Triple-A Scranton in 2016 and with really nothing more to prove at Triple-A he'll just be waiting his turn until a spot opens up for him.