1 Mets minor league free agent signing whose bat is already begging for a call-up

Some big early numbers should have this Mets free agent signing in the mix for a promotion.
Aug 19, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Ben Gamel (16) hits a single
Aug 19, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Ben Gamel (16) hits a single / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Trayce Thompson was the spring training hero early on for the New York Mets. Through 35 plate appearances with the Syracuse Mets, he has been anything but heroic. Just 2 for 30 with 10 strikeouts, it hasn’t been a thrilling start to the year for the veteran outfielder.

The complete opposite could be said for a different Mets minor league signing. Ben Gamel, who played only 6 games for the San Diego Padres last season after appearing in 115 for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022, has not only a better MLB pedigree but also a much more productive bat. A lifetime .252/.332/.384 hitter in the majors albeit less so in recent seasons, his start in Syracuse has been noteworthy.

Mets minor league free agent addition Ben Gamel is red hot

The 32-year-old Gamel is 9 for 22 with 5 walks. It’s good enough for an early .409/.519/.773 slash line with a pair of doubles and home runs added to it. Gamel hasn’t spent a whole lot of time in recent seasons playing in the minors. Although well-traveled, last season was his longest year in Triple-A in quite some time.

Gamel showed off a .286/.402/.498 slash line in 332 Triple-A appearances as a member of the Padres and Tampa Bay Rays’ affiliate. He had 17 doubles and 13 home runs in those 77 games.

When could the Mets call up Gamel? It’s a bit tricky. He’s not a great base stealer, a power hitter, or even much of a defender. The Mets can conceivably survive without a fifth outfielder on the roster thanks to Jeff McNeil’s ability to play the corner. Almost working against Gamel is a career of actually hitting pretty evenly against righties as he does lefties. The lefty-swinger slashed .253/.335/.389 against righties in his MLB career versus only a tad worse at .252/.322/.365 against southpaws.

Gamel excelling in Triple-A should have him as one of the first to get called up if the need for an outfielder arises. A corner outfielder more than a guy we’d like to see in center field, it’s a good thing the Mets’ starting left fielder is someone who can handle center just fine. This might not lead to Gamel starting regularly for the Mets in any capacity.

‘Tis a long season where a lot can go right and even more can go wrong. Gamel is one of the few Syracuse players hitting well. Keep a close eye on him throughout the year. The Mets shouldn’t be shy about choosing him over DJ Stewart in the future at any point if Gamel continues to rake.