Keith Law on Williams and Gamel

Open Thread: The Giambino Returns
Banuelos, Mitchell strong in wins

Yesterday we heard Keith Law’s unflattering opinion of Cito Culver, but today he posted something on two other Short Season Staten Island hotshots: Mason Williams and Ben Gamel (Insider req’d). “Mason is loose-bodied and an above-average runner, but needs to get a lot stronger and to work on recognition of offspeed pitches — he struck out twice in ugly fashion on breaking balls,” said KLaw. “He glides forward when he strides, reducing his time to recognize non-fastballs, but there is some bat speed there and it’s a great baseball body.”

As for Gamel, Law said he “at least showed that he recognized the difference between a ball and a strike, but struggled with picking up the changeup, not a huge shock for a teenaged hitter with only ten games of pro experience to that point. He has good hip rotation but tries to get his arms extended on balls on the inner half, which is just going to result in a lot of weak contact or foul balls … The fact that he showed a clue at the plate (on a night when most of the lineup was flailing) is a real positive.” I like Gamel but he’s going to have a hit because his defensive value in the corner outfield figures to be small. Having a decent approach less than a month after your 19th birthday is a pretty good start.

Open Thread: The Giambino Returns
Banuelos, Mitchell strong in wins
  • boogie down

    Really excited about these guys, Culver, and Mr. Gumbs. Hope the latter’s more Buffalo Bill than Billy Rubin or Louis Friend.

  • crawdaddie

    Wow, all that based on watching them play one game.

    • Esteban

      And batting practice, I’m sure. And talking to other scouts. And yes, one game. He is ESPN’s chief scout, how is he supposed to see every system in depth?

      • Steve S.

        Bingo, that’s the same issue with BA/BP. Not that they don’t have something to add for most fans, just that teams get much better, longer looks at these guys.

    • Steve S.

      Yeah, even a trained eye like his can only pick up so much from one game. Especially facing a pitcher that was toying with them.

      Gumbs and Williams were drafted for their tools. I wouldn’t get too worked up about anything said at this stage. When/if it ever kicks in, they can really take off.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      It’s the Keith Law guide to judging prospects :)

  • mattdamonwayans

    Both these guys made the mistake of not being Bryce Harper

    • The Big City of Dreams

      Law is becoming public enemy number 1

  • Steve S.

    Nothing on Gumbs?

    • Mike Axisa

      Nothing on Gumbs.

      • rbizzler

        Well, he kind of craps on Gumbs in the comment section saying that he “wasn’t on him before the draft” and isn’t changing his opinion yet.

  • Jake

    Mike, can you think of any examples (say, from the last five years), when the Yanks made what was a consensus “reach” pick that ultimately proved them right.

    I ask because it seems like a lot of the same things said about the Culver and Bichette picks…the Yanks saw something the others didn’t, they know these guys better than the so-called experts…were also said about guys like Bleich and Pope who have made the skeptics look pretty smart.

    • sleepykarl

      Gardner was a third round pick deemed a reach and is now a stud. Romine was also a reach in the second round and has blossomed nicely.

    • Mike Axisa

      Yeah Gardner’s the best example. Kennedy was considered a reach as well.

      • El Busto

        Curiosity. Why did IPK sign overslot deal if he was a reach?

        • Mike Axisa

          Money just says how much the Yankees liked him, not where he was in the consensus. Heathcott was a reach too, if you go by Baseball America, etc.

  • Uke

    He wasn’t blasting these two guys, just not ringing endorsements, I’m fine with it.

  • El Busto

    Mr. Law is the enemy and we can trust nothing he says. That is, unless he says something good about a Yankee prospect. In that case, he is a wise baseball veteran that got it right.

    • infernoscurse


  • infernoscurse

    reymond nuñez will be the next pujols!

  • IB6 UB9

    Olbrychowski was a 3rd rounder, right? The Savannah fashion college guy? He and the Smith kid from Compton were silly picks at their respective spots.

    • Mike Axisa

      Ryan Pope was the third rounder from Savannah College or Art & Design. Adam O. was a fifth rounder from Pepperdine that year. Chris Smith was laughable, his only plus tool was eating.

  • MikeD

    I like KLaw, like many do here, but he’s been off base on many prospects. Just one expample, he was never a big Gardner fan. He never quite came out and said he didn’t think he was a Major Leaguer, but he was totally in the camp that Gardner was a 4th or 5th OFer, and when some would try to compare him to Ellsbury he considered it a complete joke. He’s gone silent on Gardner over the last year, meaning he’s never come back and said, “yeah, he’s better than I thought.” I have seen him write things of recent (usually in his chats) that can be viewed as slightly positive toward Gardner, such as suggesting the Yankees stick with him when he was struggling earlier this year, but he’s never once adressed his scouting evaluation of Gardner, and how he was off base.

    As said, I do enjoy Klaw and think he’s a sharp guy, and I recognize that rating prospects is a tough business, but I can’t think of a single example when he has taken a hard line against a high-profile player, and then the player does better than expected, where he’s come back and admitted he missed.

    That is a big flaw in Klaw. Not only would I respect him more, but he has an opportunity to provide analysis on players who progress for the better, or the worse, through the minors.

    • Captain

      if every prospect guy spent their time going back and addressing how they were off on a player, their articles would just be filled with that. not every player that makes it at the MLB level is given praise across the board when they’re in the minors. it happens. not a flaw against the writers imo. same how teams routinely miss out on properly evaluating their own talent.