I was lucky enough to get a phone interview with Ben Gamel. Ben is the brother of major leaguer Mat Gamel. He had a solid 2012 season, batting .306/.342/.394/.737 on the season with two home runs, 19 stolen bases, and 61 RBI. This is his fourth season since signing with the Yankees, and he has increased his batting average every season since signing.
Based on the interview with Gamel he seems like the kind of guy who knows what it takes to get to the major leagues, and is willing to do it. He comes off as a pretty hard working, no nonsense kind of guy. It’s also clear he really cares about his teammates and values being a great teammate. Just the kind of guy the Yankees have been trying to draft and sign for the past few seasons. Without further adieu, here is the interview.
BBD: What song will you be coming out to this season?
BG: Curtains by Lil Wayne.
BBD: What specifically did you work on this off season?
BG: I hit a lot, threw, mainly just trying to put on weight and get stronger. I put on 15-20 pounds.
BBD: I read that you gained 15-pounds of muscle this off season, do you feel any different at the plate? Are you hitting the ball harder and further in BP?
BG: Yes, I’m not changing my approach or anything like that but I’m definitely impacting the ball more I feel like.
BBD: Favorite athlete growing up?
BG: My favorite baseball player was always Chipper Jones and football player was Warrick Dunn.
BBD: Has your brother imparted any advice on you over the years? What is the most useful piece of advice you have received from him?
BG: He has given me advice but mainly I just learn from watching him. I just really pay attention to the way he carries himself and the way he acts. Mainly it’s just stuff like that. Definitely with the grind and keeping my body in shape he’s helped me out a ton.
BBD: What goals have you set for yourself this season?
BG: Improve on last season. Just try and get better every day and things like that.
BBD: What was your reaction when you found out the Yankees drafted you in the 10th round?
BG: It was awesome, you know its America’s team so it doesn’t get much better than that.
BBD: What is the first thing you bought with your signing bonus?
BG: Went out and bought a truck.
BBD: What’s your biggest strength as a player?
BG: Going out to the game, playing hard, and try to be a good teammate, I feel like I’m a pretty good teammate.
BBD: Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
BG: Fish or surf or hunt.
BBD: Best moment as an athlete?
BG: Probably winning in Staten Island.
BBD: You grew up in Florida. Nervous about moving North when the time comes? Thoughts about it while in Staten Island?
BG: I liked the field (laughs). I’m not nervous per say, I get butterflies before every game and stuff like that and I feel like if you’re not getting those you’re probably not in the right profession.
BBD: Best player you’ve played with so far in your career?
BG: It’s hard to limit it to one. So I’m just going to say our Charleston group as a whole was a great group to play with.
Ben has good speed and defensive tools, and is already off to a hot start this season. So far he is batting .393 on the season and already has five doubles in just seven games. The five doubles are a good sign that the extra 15-20 pounds he put on went a long way towards improving his power output. As he gets older and develops his man strength, this 5-foot-11 lefty hitting and throwing outfielder could end up being one of the top prospects in the organization.
He seems to get better every year, and he is the type of player who does everything well. He was one of my breakout candidates for the 2013 season and so far he has not disappointed.
Thanks to Ben Gamel for granting me the interview and best of luck to you and the rest of the Tampa Yankees this season.