When the Yankees drafted Angelo Gumbs in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft, he was one of the youngest players in the entire draft and was an extremely raw though promising prospect. Two years later and he’s still a young, raw, and promising prospect, but we are beginning to see some of that talent.
Mike Newman of FanGraphs recently got a chance to watch Gumbs play in a couple of Low-A Charleston RiverDogs games and came away impressed even though he gives the impression that he still has a long way to go.
Here is an excerpt of Newman’s scouting report:
In seeing Gumbs play twice against the Rome Braves including a batting practice session earlier in the season, it quickly became obvious the right-handed hitter would become a polarizing prospect in scouting circles. To his credit, the bat speed is elite and amongst the best I’ve seen at the minor league level. Having seen both Bryce Harper and Mike Stanton as minor leaguers, Gumbs holds his own with either of them in terms of his sheer ability to get his bat head through the strike zone. However, a swing is much more than bat speed alone which is where Gumbs will lose believers.
Prior to his swing, Gumbs’ load and timing mechanism features excess waggle and a moderately high leg kick which makes pitches awfully difficult to time correctly. Over the course of ten plate appearances, he failed to barrel a single baseball and had a tendency to flail wildly at breaking pitches low-and-away. This, combined with a general lack of plate discipline led to a number of swings which were truly cringe worthy. The combination of elite bat speed, lack of polish and impressive stat line forces one to really consider whether the dots between the Single-A version of Gumbs and future major leaguer connect. Due to having to rely on so much projection with Gumbs, the possible outcomes include everything from Double-A wash out to above average major league hitter from an offensive standpoint.
On defense, Gumbs is even more of a work in progress. In game action, he made the routine plays, but Gumbs’ actions were stiff and slightly delayed. Additionally, his hands were hard and fielding ground balls appeared unnatural. However, Gumbs is a converted outfielder still learning second base. Plus, his athleticism fits the perceived requirements of the position so he’ll be given a long leash. The Yankees are smart for challenging Gumbs defensively and it has the potential to really pay off for the organization. But once again, quite a bit of projection is needed to envision Gumbs as a middle infielder at the major league level.
As an athlete, Gumbs is more above average than plus with an excellent frame to add additional size and strength at full physical maturity. However, his present size and development through the lower half and shoulders does leave him with the appearance of being a bit stiff in his baseball movements. For me, the sign of truly plus athleticism is the ability to combine agility and explosion, so Gumbs falls a little short. Still, every organization would love to have an Angelo Gumbs in its system to develop and take a chance on the end result.
In terms of speed, the only home-to-first time pulled from video was a 4.35 which is a 45 on the 20/80 scouting scale. In fairness to Gumbs, he had a bit of a slow start out of the batter’s box as he watched to see if the ball had eyes instead of simply putting his head down and running through the bag. On a routine 6-3, I’d expect Gumbs’ speed to grade out a touch higher.
Newman goes on to compare Gumbs to Rickie Weeks and notes that while the comparrison may not be obvious now, Gumbs is still just 19, extremely young for his level, and thinks that by the time he’s 21 that the two players will be at the same point in their development. Good to hear about a young second base prospect.
Gumbs, ranked as the Yankees No. 18 prospect by BBD, Is currently hitting .274/.322/.444 with 22 stolen bases in 25 attempts in 62 games a Low-A this season.