Sunday, November 29, 2015

Meet a Prospect: Ben Gamel

Ben Gamel has seemingly finally put it all together for the New York Yankees. Gamel enjoyed a spectacular season in 2015 spending much of it in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Gamel led off for the eventual playoff bound RailRiders and played center field for the club in a strong season that eventually led to a Minor League Player of the Year Award. Gamel was finally rewarded for his hard work and dedication to the sport and now the Yankees rewarded him with a 40 man roster spot and protection from the Rule 5 Draft, let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: Ben Gamel Edition. 

Gamel fits the Brett Gardner mold. He has a small frame at just 5'11" and 185 lbs. and Gamel lives and dies on his speed and defense. Gamel played center field and led off for much of the 2015 season with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders and is a left-handed hitter, again just like Gardner.

Gamel began adding extra-base hits and stolen bases to his repertoire in 2012 while with the Double-A Trenton Thunder and ended up leading the club to a Eastern League championship that season. Any scout will tell you that the power tool will be the last to develop and that has definitely been the case with Gamel. Gamel can put on an absolute show in batting practice though so and feels like it may finally be translating into the games.

Gamel is a very patient hitter and is never going to be a 30-home run guy, that's not his game. What Gamel will bring you is singles, singles turned into double with his legs and aggressiveness, doubles turned into triples for the same reasons and a constant presence on the base-paths that opposing starting pitchers are forced to pay attention to at all times. Gamel expects to play left field in the Major Leagues due to an average arm although he could survive at center field if needed to. In a lot of ways Gamel compares to Angel Pagan of the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants and comes with an ETA of 2016. One injury and Gamel is there. 

Comparing the Yankees & Blue Jays Lineups As it Stands Today

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to go at it head-to-head all season long again in 2016. As it stands today these are still the top two teams in the American League East, hands down, in my opinion. The Red Sox got a new closer but a closer is useless if you don't have the offense and the pitching staff to get the lead after eight innings. The Orioles lost basically any and all recognizable names not named Adam Jones this offseason (yes I realize they got Matt Wieters back but he wasn't what you would call "great" in 2015) and the Rays are continuing to sell off pieces. The Blue Jays will pound the crap out of opposing pitchers once again in 2016 with much of their offense coming back next season, can the Yankees keep up?


Brian McCann/ Russell Martin

First Base:

Mark Teixeira/Chris Colabello

Second Base:

Robert Refsnyder/Ryan Goins


Didi Gregorius/Troy Tulowitzki

Third Base:

Chase Headley/Josh Donaldson

Left Field:

Brett Gardner/Ben Revere

Center Field: 

Jacoby Ellsbury/Kevin Pillar

Right Field:

Carlos Beltran/Jose Bautista

Designated Hitter:

Alex Rodriguez/Edwin Encarnacion

Bolded player wins.

Arizona Fall League Top 10 Prospects

The Arizona Fall League is in the books for the 2015 season and the Scottsdale Scorpions are the champions, congratulations to them. We saw an absolute ton of talent head down to Arizona this season including eight members of the New York Yankees. One of those Baby Bombers made the list that Baseball America released this week, the Top 10 Prospects from the AFL. That one prospect is Gary Sanchez who was named the 2nd best prospect in the league.

The top prospect distinction went to, and this is a shock to nobody, the St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes who also pitched with Sanchez on the Surprise Saguaros. Here is the Baseball American write up for Sanchez: 

Sanchez proved that he’s ready to make the jump to the big leagues with a very good Fall League season in which he led the AFL in home runs (seven) during a .295/.357/.625 campaign and earned MVP honors in the Fall Stars game. Sanchez consistently showed off his plus-plus power, with scouts believing the bat will play despite some pitch recognition issues. Most importantly, he showed better actions behind the plate than expected, and his arm strength remains a plus tool albeit sometimes lacking in accuracy. Sanchez’s performance in the early weeks of the AFL season perhaps made the Yankees more comfortable in dealing backup catcher John Ryan Murphy to Minnesota in early November.
To finish out the rest of the Top 10 prospects list you have (in order) Texas Rangers outfielder Lewis Brinson, Oakland Athletics LHP Sean Manaea, Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, Milwaukee Brewers LHP Josh Hader, New York Mets 1B Dominic Smith, Cleveland Indians OF Clint Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates OF Clint Meadows and the San Francisco Giants SS prospect Christian Arroyo.

David Price and "GG" to the Division Race

Excuse me as I use lingo my son and his friends are using in the title, first let me explain. My son likes online gaming (at 5-years old.... I'm in trouble) and loves to watch Youtube. After every game the players all say "GG" which means good game but they also use it in the future context as well. For example, "If I get that sword before he does it's GG." Well with that new-found knowledge if the Boston Red Sox and Dave Dombrowski get David Price, and they are supposedly "all in" on the lefty ace, then the AL East Division is GG. It's over. Boston wins.

David Price has had his struggles in the postseason, they are well documented and we all know about it. I didn't suggest we start etching the World Series trophy now but I think that division, barring a big free agent pitching signing by the Toronto Blue Jays or a ton of work by Brian Cashman in the Yankees, would be essentially over. Price is the final missing piece to a young, hungry and exciting Boston Red Sox team.

Boston had two major issues in 2015 that led to another season without the postseason in Bean Town. The lack of an ace starting pitcher and the lack of a shutdown closer/ relief pitcher. The Red Sox have already acquired Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres in an over-pay in my opinion and have now turned their attention to Price, an ace that no one is denying.

Price has a lot of innings on that left arm and he will likely break down eventually much like CC Sabathia has in the latter years of his contract and career but that is unlikely to be for the next three to five seasons, if that soon. Price also allows everyone in that Red Sox rotation to take a step back. Clay Buchholz has all the makings of being a very solid #2 starter while Rick Porcello, stuff wise, may be the best, and most overpaid with an AAV above $20 million, third starter in all of the league.

Dombrowski was the man that traded Price to the Toronto Blue Jays for that substantial haul that was led by Daniel Norris and may want his ace back. Imagine if Dombrowski got Yoenis Cespedes back too? That's GG.

Ivan Nova is Available But Does Anyone Want Him?

The New York Yankees are going to have to get aggressive this offseason if they want to revamp the team and compete in 2016. The Yankees are not likely to enter the deep water of the free agency bin and may be stuck upgrading the team via trade. Brian Cashman has already pulled off a couple trades this offseason and has made it know that he's willing to do at least one more deal, a deal that includes the Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova.

Nova is available but is anyone going to really want him? We all know the Yankees rotation is crowded with possibilities right now and no one, not even Masahiro Tanaka, has their name etched in stone for the rotation in 2016. Nova is under team control through the 2017 season and will be entering his second year removed from Tommy John surgery next season. The second season removed is always the true indicator of how the arm and the UCL reacted from the surgery but will another team bank on that?

Nova struggled with his command in 2015 and was bumped to the rotation during the month of September where he finished the season with a 6-11 record with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 94 innings. That's the bad. The good is that Nova is just 28-years old and prior to the TJS the right-hander had a career 40-22 record with a 4.20 ERA in 537 innings pitched.

So could the Yankees trade him? Absolutely, there will be a team that needs a durable innings eater like Nova at the back end of their rotation. The problem is the Yankees are going to want something useful for Nova but unless it's part of a bigger deal I just can't see that happening. Nova is a #3 starter at best and you have to give something to get something, and the Yankees won't get much for Nova in my opinion.

Meet a Prospect: Rookie Davis

Rookie Davis was one of the three lucky and fortunate Yankees farm hands to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter after New York added the right-hander to their 40 man roster. Davis has a bit of a breakout season in 2015 but hasn’t pitched much above the Double-A level in his career. Davis may have gone right through the Rule 5 Draft untouched but he was the closest to a no-brainer the Yankees had this season so the move made sense on many levels. Now Davis is here so we may as well meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Rookie Davis Edition. 

William "Rookie" Davis is another one of those big-framed right-handed pitchers that the New York Yankees absolutely love. Davis stands at 6'4" and weighs in at 234 lbs. and will be 23-years old for much of the 2016 season, a season that likely begins back in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder. Davis throws a 92-96 MPH fastball with a "tight" and plus power curveball with a changeup and cutter that he used to keep opposing hitters off balance.

Davis is still relatively new to pitching after being a two-way player in High School and after missing the 2011 season, the season where he signed his first professional contract with the Yankees, due to signing too late. Despite it all Davis is expected to hit the big leagues, either as a reliever or as a starting pitcher, in 2016. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/29: Drinks, Prepared to be Stirred

On this day in 1976 the Yankees got their drink stirred when they signed Reggie Jackson to a free agent contract worth five years and $3.5 million. Reggie would help the Yankees win four division titles, three American League pennants, and two World Series championships in his tenure thus becoming Mr. October.

Also on this day in 1966 the Yankees traded third basemen Clete Boyer to the Braves for outfielder Bill Robinson and a player to be named later.

Finally on this day in 1965 the New York Yankees traded Phil Linz to the Phillies for infielder Ruben Amaro. Over the next three seasons Amaro got famous for playing the harmonica on the team bus and playing in only 165 games before retiring after seven major league seasons.