Ben Gamel's Launch Angle
kewl Statcast grab courtesy Marc W at USSM


1)  Excellent article by USSM on Ben Gamel's launch angle.  They give his 2016 launch angle as 4 degrees, and this year's as 12 degrees.


2) This meets the eye test.  The Mainframe signs off on the wonderful 2017 launch angles.  Well, those are a matter of record.  What we mean is, we sign off on the fact that Gamel's batted balls have been dangerous for enemy pitchers' BABIP's.  

It's true that his batting line is based on a .450 BABIP, but it's also true that if he keeps hitting this good, 8+ of his next 20 batted balls are going to land him on base somewhere.  (Check out his soft hit rate, LrKrBoi29.  Don't be standing on anything unstable when you click the link.)

Also, G-Money signs off on the veracity of the previously lousy launch angles, which is good enough for us. 

The first week, Dr. D fretted that the line drives were in the air mainly because --- > Gamel had gotten half-a-dozen Back Leg Specials down into the RF corner.  (When you have lots of time to do what you want to do, you pull the ball hard in the air.)  But!  We've all seen Gamel rip 15-degree fly balls to RIGHT center and to Center, including a screaming meemie Sunday with Kevin Pillar, of all people, couldn't get back to straight over his head.


3) The Mariners, as you know, spend a lot more time analyzing "launch angles" than we do.  Yet Scott Servais, asked about Gamel two days ago, gave a different opinion.  He said that Gamel is probably one of those players who is a better MAJOR league player than minor league player.  One of the first guys for whom we noticed this syndrome was Rusty Greer - remember him?  4 homers a year in the PCL and then 20 a year in Texas.

Dr. D preaches the existence of this kind of player -- maybe 2%, 4% of the ML population.  Servais referred to the better lighting, better umping, more predictable pitching ... "PROVIDED you've got the right swing to start with."

It doesn't work that way in track and field.  Or in swimming.  There's no such thing as a track guy whose "style" suits the Olympics better than it does NCAA.  But I'm here to tell you that Dominique Wilkins leaped two plateaus the moment he stepped on an NBA court :- )  Or in Euro soccer it is taken for granted that one player's skill set will match one league's style better than his skill set will match another league's style.


4) If Ben Gamel is one of these players, we are in Tallll Cotton, kiddies.  As was the case with Best Bet Mitch Haniger, you've got a player who doesn't even NEED to rake to collect 3, even 4 WAR.  In case you were wondering, Gamel has 1.0 WAR so far this season, in 16 games, a tenth of a season.  ... one of yer all-time great 17-and-20 teams, ain't it ...


5) Gamel has walked 12 times (!!) in that 10% of a season.  His fish rate is a miniscule 17% and dropping by the day.  His OBP is .446.  Even if he were hitting into outs you would expect a line like .270/.400/.475.

He absolutely refuses to swing at anything outside the zone, and once it's in the zone, he COVERS it.  I do NOT know what he is GOING to be, but what he HAS been for 16 games is one of the best hitters I've seen.


6)  For me (at this point, having peeked at the answer key!) it's not hard to visualize Gamel as a .280 hitter with 60+ walks (.360 OBP or even more) and lots of pop.  IFF he did that he would clock 4 WAR routinely.  I dunno about Johnny Damon comps or not, because Damon was a light, fast player (with no arm, e.g.) and Gamel is more an MMA type.  But I can certainly jibe with the Caveman persona.  Damon wasn't the friendly kind of Caveman who wove reeds together to make baskets to help the clan; Damon was the kind of Caveman who wandered the tundra with a sharp club, seeking to do others harm.  I approve of Gamel's on-field persona.

Right now we're going with Bamel, not Gamer.  He needs to quit missing leadoff men and stuff like that to get the Gamer rolling.


7)  I'd be interested to know Moe Dawg's opinion of this front-arm swing he uses.  Gamel seems to let go with his top hand even earlier than Frank Thomas. ... Gordon do you know if he was using a Charlie Lau (Manny, ARod, Pujols) swing in previous seasons?



Dr D




...from a team whose playoffs are circling the drain COMPLETELY unjustly due to the worst collection of injuries I've ever seen happen to any team in this game since I started watching baseball in 1992...

Is that the jabber-heads are clearly wrong about the Mariners' future prospects beyond this season. All the nonsense about the Mariners being built to win now and having this tiny window to contend is just not true. Did they conjure an entire all-star outfield out of nothing...young, club-controlled for six years, athletic, offensively gifted, all good batting eye is that even a thing that can happen?  And beyond that, we have Moore, Povse, Paxton to form the nucleus of a rotation, Diaz to close games, and Seager and Cano locked up long term. Explain in small words why this team can't contend for years to come?

I mean other than the wrath of a vengeful God.


1.  Thanks for the question.  That double he hit yesterday (saw it on highlights only) set off all the tripwires in my brain:  "My goodness, that looks just like somebody I should know!" says I.  But I couldn't figure it out.  Jennifer and I had gone to a wonderful Mother's Day dinner last night.  Had 1.5 glasses of Pinot Gris at dinner (was driving) and 2 of a nice Reisling when we got home.  3.5 glasses of tasty grape may have addled my baseball memory for a bit, but I resumed my contemplation this morning, coffee-supercharged.  Damon isn't a bad comp, when thinking about that one-armed rocket.  But his better comp is overall.  Ditto the one of the good variety of Ellsbury.  But finally, it kind of popped into my head.  I've seen that swing and that rope to dead CF or right CF, the one-armed rocket,  time and again by a guy who will be in the HoF.  The Big Papi, David Ortiz.  A lightbulb moment!  Youtubed up a bunch of highlights and there it is.  Doc, you Jeff and G, among others, will remember when The Big Papi was the Svelte Papi, back when he came up with the Twinkies.  He looked, sort of, more like Gamel and less like that Machi jellyroll we just released. But that's what Gamel sort of looks like, on that particular type of shot.  In no way am I comparing our guy to Ortiz, not at all.  But he's firing the hips, keeping the bat back and still covering the ball (thus the one-armed thing), a bit like The Papi did.  At least right now.  The Big Hurt did it, too.  But I didn't think of that until I read your post. Good get.

You know who else did it to the opposite field?  Edgar, did. Look it up.  He was more of a one-armed follow-through guy to all fields, but it was accentuated going the other way.  Hmmmmm......?????

Doing some quick and approximate MLE math in my head, Gamel's .303-.365-.443 AAA numbers (almost all in the pitching heavy IL), works out to something like .275-.345-.410, or thereabouts. So, minus a plateau leap, he's a 105-115 OPS, + glove/arm COF who can go play CF.  Add the Edgar Effect (or maturation/growth/lightbulb going on) and then you have something worth holding onto for 6 or 7 years.

Decades ago, back in the day when he was first publishing his Baseball Digest (soft cover, but typed and stapled), James wrote that some hitters are simply better when they get to the majors.  Maybe Gamel?

And I'll return to Ellsbury:  In his one AAA season (minus rehab stuff), '07, he was a .298-.360-.380 hitter.  That was in the IL, just like Gamel.

If we discount Ellsbury's phenominal '11 and look at more representative seasons in '13 & '14 (Red Sox/Yankees), you find he was a .285-.342-.422 hitter, w/30 2B's and 11 HR's.  

That's pretty much in the ballpark you and I have suggested, Doc.  

I love the phrase "Tall Cotton," btw. Always reminds me of the song "Summertime,"  the Ella version. Turns out Norah Jones has a great cover, too.  Always like Ray Charles and Cleo Layne.    It may describe Gamel really well.  "Bumper Crop" or "Windfall," might as well. When we picked up Gamel last season, we tossed about names like Ellsbury (-lite), Damon (-lite) and Gardner (-lite), as sort of the upside, with a glovey 90 OPS player being the downside.  It is looking like he's shifted one deviation to the right. Maybe.

But if you are a + glove, LHB, who can deposit a few into the short porch in RF, rattle a few more off of the wall in left-center AND remain picky about the strike zone, well then you can't help but be pretty valuable.

That's what Dustin Ackley was as a rookie.  And he was .273-.348-.417 (120 OPS).  We gave the Yankees Ackley when he didn't turn out to be Ackley.  It's looking like the Yankees gave us the real one, not the imposter.

2. Get Cano and Haniger back, and this is a team that could rattle off a 15-5 streak. 


I don't care how well you hit, if your starting rotation is two #5s and three ??????s, you're not going on any long winning streaks.

Call me when they get Paxton, Felix, and Smyly back.


I'm not confident that we see an effective Smyly this season. But I am confident that we will have a decent to better staff before the dog days set in.


The Mariners seem to WANT to protect Andrew Moore...I get it. But they can want in one hand and sit on the other and see which one fills up first. If they don't get Smyly back by the AS break, their ONLY way to put together a decent rotation runs through Andrew Moore. Either by trading him for an established big leaguer or by using him.  I don't think O'Neill by himself gets us the MOTR arm we need...the rest of baseball knows how good we are offensively and defensively and how utterly desperate we are for pitching. They'll demand Moore and Povse and O'Neill or somesuch nonsense to give up a big arm. I would, in their place.

Which means...Andrew Moore had better be in a Mariner uniform before the end of June.


...with that. It just seems like the Bergmans and Hestons are plug and pray options.  De Jong had some AA/AAA numbers, but he's he's been bombed in 2 of 3 starts up here.  Do you keep rolling the dice on him?  He did have a decent outing in Texas and that nice bullpen stint of 4 innings.  How long do ou hold on to 4 innings in relief?

We might for a while, I suppose, although I wouldn't understand keeping Moore down until the Super Two threshhold, whenever that is.  It is right now that we need reliable starter innings.

 De Jong is giving up homers and BB'ing more guys than he K's, impressinve bullpen outing or no. 

Weber went on the 10-Day a couple of hours ago and we called up Altavilla. He's BB'ing 6 guys per.

Whalen was beat up in Tacoma last night.  Cloyd pitched 3.2 of shutout ball in the night cap, but he's recnetly of the Upper Mongolian League and isn't getting a call.

Moore is up today.  If he's decent to better, I don't know how you don't bring him up.

Actually, I would have about 3 weeks ago. You're either good enough or not good enough, 3 to 4 AAA starts isn't changing that.


Want in one hand and put the rotation in the other?  Or is it the season in the other hand?

Totally agree the rotation is what's holding them back but Moore at his best only provides so much.  There should be something more coming from the depth.  The backups for the starting outfield and SS could have provided so little and we'd be in an entirely different position.  Backup hitters are hitting, backup pitchers the other hand, it seems.  The question of coaching has been raised and I still question it. 


Dae-ho Lee:  .378-477-613 w/8 HR in 31 Korean games

Stefen Romero: .281-.339-.579 w/5 HR in 15 Japanese games

Pat Venditte:  In 17.2 AAA innings, he's allowed 0 ER's and only 2 hits.  However, he has BB'ed 11 guys and HBP 2 more.  I wish we had kept that guy.  I love the idea of him.

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