Originally hailed as the second-coming of ‘Derek Jeter’ by the Director of the Italian Baseball Academy, Bill Holmberg. That was back when he played shortstop, now he’s strictly an outfielder. According to MLB.com, the 20-year-old is the Royals 19th ranked prospect and at the Royals Farm Report, we have him ranked 47th.
Coming off the international market, Gasparini was touted for his loud defensive tools. With a 60 speed rating, 60 arm rating, and 55 fielding rating; he was the prototypical shortstop the Kansas City Royals love. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t prove to be able to stick at that position and the Royals moved him to the outfield where he split time in left and center field.
After taking a bad route to the ball, Gasparini makes a nice catch in the gif above. He made a quick readjustment and made an over-the-shoulder-sliding-catch. He then got up and threw to his teammate on a straight line for the double play. It is his first year in the outfield but the defensive skills seem to translate well. Reminds me a little of Alex Gordon, when they moved him off of third base to left field, that worked out pretty well last I remembered.
This was one of the bright spots from Gasparini this year, unfortunately his bat lagged behind. He batted .227 as a switch-hitter this year. His move to the outfield helped his batting average a little, but not enough for the premium price the Royals purchased him for, which equated to $1.3 million. In our Royals top 100 index, we agreed that Gasparini should probably give up switchhitting altogether, due to his numbers when batting from the left side (.180) and focus directly on batting from the right side (.244) from now on.
After repeating at low A Lexington, a lot of pressure will be placed on the 20-year-old (21 in May) when the season starts. We expect him to start out the year at High A Wilmington and I personally am rooting for him. He will need it with the likes of Michael Gigliotti at the same level as he is (presuming Gigliotti or Gasparini start the year at Wilmington). Hopefully this kind of competition and him focusing directly on batting from one side of the plate, he shows he can play excellent defense so now Kansas City is just waiting on the bat to catch up. Overall, the kid is a true Royals type of player. He shows great character and love for the game; I am sure it does not go unnoticed in the organization.
Photo Credits: Mary Lay—Lexington Legends