Drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals, Gabriel Cancel had an underwhelming season for Double-A NW Arkansas.
Gabriel Cancel was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft and the Kansas City Royals’ 29th best prospect spent the entire season with Double-A NW Arkansas. Before we dive into his 2019 season, let’s give some perspective.
Cancel slashed 0.277/0.324/0.466 with 30 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs, and 49 RBI’s in 103 games for Single-A Lexington during the 2017 season. His problem has primarily been struggling with strikeouts. He had 99 of them that season.
Fast forward to 2018, and he struck out 91 times in 120 games, an improvement but still not great as his OPS continued to fall at each level since he put up an 0.840 OPS with the Burlington Royals in 2016. Looking at his 2019 season, he massively struggled with whiffs.
He played in 123 games for the Naturals this year and struck out 144 times, which was 8th worst in the Texas League. Cancel slashed 0.246/0.308/0.427 with 30 doubles, 18 home runs, and 69 RBI’s. The 22-year old saw the most time at second base this year and committed 7 errors in 706.0 innings, good for a 0.980 fielding percentage.
Cancel actually put together a solid first half of the season, slashing 0.254/0.324/0.491 with 17 doubles, 12 home runs, and 49 RBI’s in 60 games. In the first half, he struck out 65 times, which is respectable but he had an underwhelming second half of the season to say the least.
In 63 games, Cancel slashed just 0.238/0.292/0.367 with 13 doubles, 6 home runs, and 20 RBI’s but struck out 79 times. He was set to participate in the Arizona Fall League but backed out at the last minute. I’m not entirely sure why he decided to not partake in the AFL, but it would have been a great opportunity for him to work on his plate discipline.
It will be interesting to see if he starts next season at Double-A until he starts to cut down on the strikeouts. Also, a position change might be good for him to the outfield. With a less than desirable fielding percentage, he might be thinking too much both in the field and at the plate. To simplify things, he can move to a less demanding spot in the outfield where there is more potential to make it on the big league roster.