Scouting Yankees Prospect #49: Ben Gamel

Gamel does a lot of things really well

The Yankees selected outfielder Ben Gamel in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Bishop Kenny High School in Florida. A versatile offensive and defensive player, he has quickly become one of the most consistent hitters in the entire Yankee farm system.

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

He followed up his .289 season with the Staten Island Yankees in 2011 with an even better showing in his first taste of the long-season leagues this year, hitting .306 with the Charleston RiverDogs.

"I felt like the year went well," Gamel said. "It's nice when you have all of the guys in the lineup that we have in the organization so you can't really pick out one person not to pitch to. With all of those guys everyone is protected and when everyone sees pitches it's really nice.

"Individually I felt like I had a decent year. There's always room for improvement though, I need to improve on a lot of areas in my game to be a more complete player."

Never one to bathe in his accomplishments, Gamel is the type of player who is constantly looking to improve and he's done that so far in his career. He's not only seen his average go from .280 in 2010 to .289 last year before topping out at .306 this past year, but he finished his South Atlantic League season hitting .320 after the All Star break.

"I will say this for myself -- the first half of the year I got hurt," he said of his hamstring injury. "I was out for about a month and that's right about when I started to swing the bat well.

"I was pressing towards the beginning of the year. A lot of us were pressing, we were trying to do too much. I just have to trust what got me here, listen to my coaches, and just go out and play instead of trying to do too much."

Allowing himself to just play the game and not over-think things has been one of his ongoing adjustments and it's no more evident than on the base paths. While he stole 19 bases for Charleston this year, he was caught ten times and he has the ability to be a whole lot better in the running game.

"Steal more bases; have better reads, have more faith in myself and not show when I'm stealing and when I'm not stealing," he said of one area he'd like to improve.

"It's a little bit of everything. I kind of second guess myself a little bit and try to be too perfect with everything rather than just go or don't go. I need to simplify it."

Still, a gifted defensive and versatile outfielder, and one who has proven he can hit well and steal bases, he realizes the biggest area of focus going forward is improving on his power game, especially after hitting just two home runs all season.

"For sure, 100 percent," he concurred. "I feel like I'm a pretty good player, not necessarily numbers-wise but the way I play the game. It's been instilled in me from when I was younger until now, to play hard.

"The [better] power numbers are going to help. You've got to hit home runs to get to the big leagues pretty much. I'm not saying I need to start swinging for the fences or anything like that, but I definitely need to get bigger and stronger, not only for myself but for my team more than anything.

"I've got to put on weight and get stronger for sure, that's what the plan is for the offseason. I've just been grinding it out working out three or four times a week, eating a lot, and eating right. I'm just doing my protein religiously and trying not to slack."

He approaches his development the same way he plays the game, with an all-out style. While his development continues to track uphill over the past couple of years, he knows that while he has had some success he still has room to grow.

"I'm a way better player now. I can be a lot better. You have to improve everyday. It's the offseason so it's about getting bigger, stronger, faster. You just have to try and get better everyday."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

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. Gamel can flat-out hit. He shows an advanced blend of patience at the plate, pitch recognition, an ability to barrel the baseball, and use the entire field. A bit too patient at times in previous seasons, he's learning to be selectively more aggressive now and that has his walk ratios down a tad but few scouts believe that will be a long-term issue because of his command of the strike zone. He is also at his best in the big spots, proving to be a better clutch hitter than most. He shows average big league power during batting practice but it has yet to materialize in game situations. He's an excellent gap hitter right now who could see the home runs begin to spike as he matures and gets stronger.

Base Running and Speed. Gamel is more athletic and agile than he is a true speedster. An average to above average runner, he can steal 20 or so bases with relative ease because of his better than average catch-up speed, but he needs to learn to let himself go more in the stealing department and not over-think things. As a station to station runner, however, he is very good and his aggressive nature is a big reason why.

Defense. In just about any other farm system Gamel would be a centerfielder but does pale in comparison range-wise to the likes of Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott right now -- but that's the case with nearly everyone. He is a plus defensive corner outfielder and plays an above average centerfield when called upon. About the only thing lagging defensively is his arm strength but even that is big league average. He is a very, very good defensive outfielder across the board.

Projection. Gamel's projection really hasn't changed since his selection back in 2010 -- with an advanced feel for hitting, a good approach at the plate, average to above average speed, an intense style of play, and difference-making defensive abilities, he safely projects to be a big league reserve outfielder at minimum. There's some untapped power there, however, and should he begin to transfer his impressive batting practice power into actual in-game home run production as he matures, he could develop into a big league starting outfielder. Think of a left-handed hitting version of Melky Cabrera as the type of player whose power could take some time to materialize but whose rest of overall game is already in place.

ETA. 2015. How quickly he advances will depend on his power breaking out at some point, but for now he's advanced enough to be on a one level per year track and should open up the 2013 season in high-A Tampa.

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