The New York Yankees traded away International League MVP Ben Gamel but it may not be as bad of a move as fans may think.
Once you hear the phrase: “the New York Yankees just traded the best performer of their Triple-A team,” you might be discouraged by the move.
A gut reaction like that is completely justified.
Ben Gamel, who was just named International League MVP after hitting .308/.365/.420 with six home runs and 19 steals in 116 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, had a terrific year but was traded to the Mariners for right-handed pitching prospects Juan DePaula and Jio Orozco.
DePaula is an 18-year old from the Dominican Republic who was left off of MLB.com’s top-30 Mariners prospects list but has impressed since being signed as a 17-year old amateur free agent.
Last year, in the Dominican Summer league, the kid maintained a 2.32 earned run average through 14 starts with a strikeout rate of 22%.
Despite his increase in ERA to 3.07 this season, his strikeout percentage has shot up to 31% while allowing just two home runs in 41 innings of work.
Baseball America tells us his fastball topped out at 93-MPH but his velocity continues to improve along with a strong ability to mix his fastball, curveball, and changeup.
His partner in crime, Orozco, is also a young kid who is just 19-years old and ranked at no. 19 on the Mariners’ top prospects list.
In rookie ball last season, he maintained a 4.07 ERA but threw up an incredible 11.7 K/9 ratio thanks to a fastball that sits in the 91-94 MPH range supplemented by a stellar 12-to-6 curve which scouts say is above average.
Both of these young hurlers have a chance to develop into something special but that doesn’t answer the question: how could the Yankees deal the International League MVP away especially since he has the chance to make a major league impact next season?
First of all, we are talking about a minor league accolade, not the American League MVP. That isn’t selling his award win short, Gamel’s max value to the big league team was that of a fourth outfielder.
This deal was your typical “sell high” move to get some attractive pitchers in the organization in addition to opening up some space on the 40-man roster, which is what makes this deal a (low-key) good one for Brian Cashman.
For Gamel, it’s unfortunate to let him go. He was a fan-favorite in Scranton, his hair was, and still is, epic, and teammates raved about his friendliness in the clubhouse.
However, the kid who has had an incredible year in the minors will have a chance to go to Seattle and be in the running for a starting position in a much less crowded competition – something he was unable to do here.
As tough as it is to see Gamel go, this move was a positive for all three parties involved.