BEN GAMEL, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: May 17, 1992
Drafted: 10th Round, 325th Overall, 2010 (Yankees)
How Acquired: Waiver claim (from Indians)
High School: Bishop Kennedy HS (Jacksonville, FL)
Agents: Jet Sports Management
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Gamel was drafted due to his hit tool. He’s a gap-to-gap hitter with very modest over-the-fence power. His speed and arm are about average. The Yankees signed Gamel to an above-slot contract after drafting him in the tenth round. He advanced slowly through the minors, finally having something of a breakout season in AAA in 2015. He’s been about an average hitter in the majors and have a modest reverse platoon split. Gamel plays all three outfield positions and is probably around average defensively. The Pirates acquired him on a waiver claim.
Gamel debuted very briefly in the GCL after signing late.
The Yankees sent Gamel to the New York-Penn League, where he played right field. He had a good season, with gap power and reasonably good patience.
Splitting his time between left and center, Gamel had a solid season in low A. He hit for average, but not for power and his walk rate dropped sharply.
Gamel spent most of the season in the Florida State League. Considering the tough environment — the league slugged .370 — he hit fairly well. He more than doubled his walk rate and had surprising success stealing base. The Yankees played him mostly in left.
In AA, Gamel didn’t hit especially well, with everything falling off. He again played mostly left, with a little time in center.
Gamel had something of a breakout season in AAA, showing much more power than previously. He played mainly in center. The Yankees added Gamel to their 40-man roster after the season and Baseball America ranked him the #21 prospect in their system.
Gamel spent most of the season in AAA, where he hit about the same as the previous year, but with less power. He made his debut with the Yankees in May, but at the end of August they traded him to Seattle. He played mostly center in the minors and right in the majors.
Gamel spent most of the season as Seattle’s regular left fielder. His hitting was average for a major leaguer, producing a 100 OPS+.
Gamel was hurt at the start of the season, but moved up to Seattle after a rehab. He hit about the same as the previous year, with less power and more walks. His playing time was reduced and he spent August in AAA. He split his time between the outfield corners. After the season, Seattle traded him to Milwaukee.
Gamel spent nearly all the season with the Brewers, serving as a fourth outfielder. He played all three spots, but mostly left. His hitting fell off a little.
Gamel was the Brewers’ primary right fielder during the pandemic season. He hit for a little more power but didn’t get on base as much. Milwaukee non-tendered him after the season and he became a free agent. Cleveland signed him to a minor league deal.
The Indians added Gamel to their roster at the end of spring training. He played very little and was designated for assignment in early May. The Pirates claimed him off waivers, as their outfield situation had been a continuous fiasco. They’d been alternating between outfielders who struggled to hit .100 and infielders who didn’t hit much more and had fielding mishaps. Gamel played more or less regularly, mostly in left but a fair amount in right and center as well. He had a huge month of July, but otherwise hit at a mediocre level. His monthly OPS, starting with May, was .613 .676 .946 .656 .722. The notion seemed to set in based on his big month in July that he should be a fixture in the middle of the lineup, but he’s mostly hit at a level that’s appropriate maybe for a fourth outfielder. His overall hitting in 2021 was remarkably consistent with the rest of his career; his OPS has been between .710 and .735 in all five of the seasons in which he got significant major league playing time. Another important factor is that Gamel had a big platoon split, with a .777 OPS against RHPs and .623 against LHPs, although he hasn’t had a platoon split over his career. The fielding metrics are split: UZR has him as above average in the corners, Outs Above Average as a little below.
Other than being out from late May to early July with a hamstring injury, Gamel was an everyday player for the Pirates. He played both outfield corners and also started five times at first. Gamel again had one good month, this time May, and otherwise didn’t hit much. It’s a measure of the Pirates’ obsession with veterans that, while they frequently sat out their younger players, Gamel played virtually every day, except when he was hurt, until the last couple weeks of the season, despite the fact that he was due to become a free agent after the season.
There’s no reason for the Pirates to try to bring Gamel back for 2023. In two seasons with them, he had an OPS+ of exactly 100. For a corner outfielder, or even a fourth outfielder, that’s not good.
|2022: $1,800,000 (plus $100,000 in incentives for 450 and 550 PAs each)
|Signing Bonus: $500,000
MiLB Debut: 2010
MLB Debut: 5/6/2016
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2023
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: November 20, 2015
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2016, 2017)
MLB Service Time: 6.027
|June 8, 2010: Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 10th round, 325th overall pick; signed on August 15.
November 20, 2015: Contract purchased by the New York Yankees.
August 31, 2016: Traded by the New York Yankees to the Seattle Mariners for Jio Orozco and Juan De Paula.
December 21, 2018: Traded by the Seattle Mariners with Noah Zavolas to the Milwaukee Brewers for Domingo Santana.
December 2, 2020: Elected free agency.
February 12, 2021: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Cleveland Indians.
March 27, 2021: Called up by the Cleveland Indians.
May 5, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians.
May 9, 2021: Claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Indians by the Pittsburgh Pirates.