Before I get started on this story, I want to apologize for the delay this week. Some unforeseen circumstances personally, this article on rising Royal’ Gabriel Cancel was pushed back.
Don’t fear, it wasn’t canceled.
Cancel, who was drafted in the seventh round of the MLB Draft in 2015 by Kansas City made his pro debut shortly after in the Arizona League. During his time in the AZL, Cancel slashed .209/.279/.351 with two homers and 14 RBI and also drew 14 walks in 34 games.
In 2016, Cancel was promoted to the rookie-level Burlington Royals. There he posted a slash line of .291/.346/.494 with five homers and 26 RBI in 46 games. He collected 18 doubles and a triple in his second pro season.
It’s easy to see that his production jumped in 2016, but so did his games played along with his plate appearances. Seeing Cancel play in person is a special thing. It’s not very often a player grabs my attention, but Cancel did just that. He also caught the attention of Patrick Brennan, who is the founder of Royals Farm Report.
Back in July of 2017, Brennan wrote that Cancel “intrigued” him. He also wrote that Cancel is “possibly the Royals best second-base prospect.”
“I love a second baseman that can hit. I’m bullish on his defense and think he’ll be able to play up the middle. Always been a fairly advanced bat for his age.”
That’s what Brennan said to me when I asked him what impresses him the most of Cancel.
— Ben Spanier (@b_span2) August 17, 2018
Between Class-A Full Season and High-A, Cancel hit 22 homers with 122 RBI. If Cancel can get his defense where it needs to be, he could be in the big leagues fairly soon. With his current ETA scheduled for just under a year, if Cancel goes into Double-A and possibly even Triple-A this season and rakes it like he has been doing throughout his career, then he leaves the front office with no choice but to promote him to the show.
According toide, open base with deep crouch and high handset. Small frontside trigger, inverting front foot and starting the swing. Quiet but stiff hand-load that takes a slight hitch, causing the barrel to extend early and cause inside holes on the inner-third. Strong uppercut path with plus bat speed.
That evidence is followed up with videos of Cancel’s plate attack.
Game swings from MiLB opening weekend of #Royals INF Gabriel Cancel. Strong and compact build; bat-first infielder who might not stick at 2B; interesting batspeed and lift, though he’s a FB hitter now who could live to use the other field more. Just 21 y/o, has time to adjust. pic.twitter.com/NqpPgq0i3t
— Adam McInturff (@2080adam) April 12, 2018
Here is a look at his wRC+ 30 game average from 2015-2018. The improvement made is incredible.
2015 spray chart: AZL Royals (Rookie)
2016 spray chart: Burlington Royals (Rookie)
2017 spray chart: Lexington Legends (Class-A, Full)
2018 spray chart: Wilmington Blue Rocks (High-A)
The spray charts illustrate Cancel’s improvement throughout his career at the minor league level. With more games played comes more experience both on the field and off. Soon Royals fans will know who Gabriel Cancel is and trust me, they won’t be disappointed.