Minor leagues: Indianapolis infielder Gamache hangs with draft class stars
Dan Gamache leaves the reading of Major League Baseball prospect rankings to others, so he's not sure about where his reputation stands in the minors.
That MLB.com doesn't list Gamache among the top 30 players in the Pirates' farm system likely neither surprises nor bothers the 24-year-old infielder.
Gamache, a sixth-round pick in 2011, transitioned from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indianapolis the same day the Pirates promoted celebrated prospects Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell, both of whom also were drafted in '11.
Though he has no delusions of grandeur, Gamache knows the look and mannerisms of those pegged as future major leaguers. He's hopeful that he, too, can fit that description.
“It's always there in the back of your mind,” said Gamache, who has played third, second and first this season. “You think about how stuff is going to work out, but you can't think about it too much.
“To be successful, you just have to control what you can control.”
He caught the organization's attention with his .335 batting average and .834 on-base plus slugging percentage in 74 games with Altoona.
A year ago, he hit .275 and had an .826 OPS in 39 games with Altoona. But a broken foot — the result of a foul-ball mishap in spring training — kept him out of action until July.
And some of his worst numbers as a minor leaguer came in 2013 when he batted .258/.342/.373 with High-A Bradenton.
He's not entirely surprised he rose through Pirates' minor league ranks without fanfare.
“I've had my setbacks and stuff, as far as injury and struggle, I guess,” Gamache said.
“I just try to stay in my same routine. I get my work in, stay with my approach at the plate and trust that.”
The Pirates changed his routine when they worked third base back into his position responsibilities last season.
He played 11 games there as a rookie in 2011 but didn't occupy the hot corner again until '14, when he started there 14 times.
He has started at third 11 times in Indianapolis and made 27 appearances there for Altoona.
Other than Josh Harrison, who is in Indianapolis on a rehab assignment, Gamache is the lone third baseman on the Indians roster. Alen Hanson and Gift Ngoepe are listed as shortstops and primarily play middle infield, but they have worked at third this year.
Even with 268 games at second base in his minor league career, Gamache likely won't surpass Hanson and Ngoepe as a middle-infield option.
His future is at third or first base, where he made 14 starts this year with Altoona.
“I was more comfortable with (second base) earlier, but I'm getting more comfortable with third now,” he said. “There's not much reaction time now. It's just seeing the ball off the bat.”
To make any headway at first base will require Gamache to upstage Bell, MLB.com's top prospect at the position.
“I think I could do (first base),” Gamache said. “I got a little time over there, picked it up pretty quick. I'll do whatever I need to do.”