Roughly, three dozen games into the 2017 Major League Baseball regular season, and injuries, or failed expectations, may have produced some holes in your fantasy MLB lineup. If one of your problem areas is in the outfield, or you’d just like to see more production, there’s a rookie in the Seattle Mariner organization who may be just the right player to take a gamble on.
Ben Gamel has actually gotten his opportunity because of an injury to an oft mentioned Rookie of the Year candidate Mitch Haniger. Since Haniger hit the DL back in late April, Gamel has been raking MLB pitching to the tune of top-20 fantasy outfield production. Gamel came to Seattle by the way of a trade for a couple minor league pitchers. So, what’s been so interesting about Gamel, and is he worth a pickup in your league?
The New York Yankees used a 10th round pick on Gamel, fresh out of Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Like many kids straight off the prep diamond, no one could have guessed at how Gamel would mature physically. He’s not a massive physical specimen, but he’s pretty well put together at around six feet tall and 190 pounds.
What’s even more impressive is Gamel seems to have developed that unteachable tenacity that a few major leaguers are mysteriously gifted with. He put that new-found tenacity on display last season at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League and won the league Most Valuable Player Award.
Another thing that happens to young players as they progress into the major leagues are tweaks to their swing. After his first three seasons in class A spanning 2010 to 2012, Gamel’s batting average fell slightly until it returned to around .300 during his time with RailRiders. His exit velocity and trajectory of the pitches he makes contact with has improved.
Gamel is driving the ball as well as he has at any point in his young career. When you consider he smacked close to, or more than 30 doubles each year out of the last 4, he’s already displayed some pop in his bat. That pop seems to be increasing every year. While he may not be able to sustain the current .328 average he has thus far in 2017, the physical analysis indicates he has the tools to hit .300 on a consistent basis in pro ball. That makes him well worth a gamble on a roster spot.
Well, from all indications early in his major league experience, Gamel has not put up statistical numbers in the stolen base category. Odd thing is, for all his improvements in hitting, a guy who has swiped nearly 100 bases at the minor league level, has yet to even attempt to swipe a base on the big league scene. If Gamel continues to get on pace at the clip he currently has, expect him to add a few of the very fantasy valuable stolen base numbers to his already intriguing arsenal.
If your fantasy outfield has been weakened by injury, or you’ve become sickened by some lackluster performance, it might be worth a gamble on Gamel. Better make your move soon while he’s still owned in less than 20 percent of most leagues, before some other lucky team owner takes the gamble on Gamel