I wanted to get an idea of who Grant Gambrell was. I know the Royals drafted him 80th overall and in the 3rd round but I wanted to see his stuff and him work in games.
The first game I watched was the June 1 game against Creighton in the Regional. This is an elimination game so you hope to see a pitcher at his best. I didn’t feel this was the case and there were times I was wondering if Gambrell was hurt. He missed two games during the late-season and came back on May 19 at Stanford. Gambrell missed the May 3-5 series against Oklahoma State and the May 10-12 series at Oregon with “arm tenderness”. So this is the only the third game back for Gambrell.
Reading reports and watching highlight videos, Gambrell was supposed to be 91-95. In this game he ranged from 87-92 with the fastball with a lot of 88 and 89s. This is why I’m wondering if he is completely healthy because his diminished velocity, inconsistency with locations and control, and lack of life on some of his pitches gave me mixed reviews. At times, his slider was top notch and you could see why the Royals used a third round pick on him. At times I was like, was that a weak cutter? It was straight, moved just a little gloveside, and was 83. So honestly, I don’t think this start does him justice because I think he was pitching through something for his team.
But there are some positives here. You can absolutely see what the Royals like in him. He has good size, has a smooth delivery, and showed flashes of brilliance with his slider and change. Gambrell struggled to throw downhill consistently, but when he did, there was armside run and hitters had a tough time getting on the pitch. Half the time though, it came out flat and sat belt high. The slider had 11-5 movement from the hitter’s perspective. It flashed really good a few times and rolled a few times. Again, I think he is pitching through discomfort and you could see some great sliders mixed in. The same was true of the change up. It disappeared a few times with hard, armside sink. And then it just floated up there at times with no movement with the words “hit me” written all over it.
Gambrell has a bright future like Alec Marsh. I think both are solid picks and it’s tough to decide which one is currently better or will slot higher in the rankings. There is a future where I can see both of them fighting for big league innings in a rotation somewhere.
Photo Credits: Oregon State Baseball