The prodigious slugger and former shortstop has reached Double-A quickly for a player who was so raw with the bat when he signed, now playing first base every day for Biloxi as a 22-year-old. Gatewood still has a well-below-average hit tool, and I watched him struggle with spin in both 2016 and 2017 views, though 70-grade raw power makes up for the 30% strikeout rate to some degree. I saw him again this season in mid-June of 2018.
He really looked bad against breaking stuff last year, and the struggles with spin continue. His swing is muscled and long, and he gets started early to compensate and catch up to heat, which he does quite well, taking a high 93 mph fastball from Touki Toussaint (RHP, Braves) out to the opposite field in my view. He’s improved his ability to keep his weight back, and he has better control of the barrel compared to prior years, but the swing and miss in his game simply will not translate to a starting role in the big leagues. The 30-grade hit tool is offset by above-average game pop. On the dirt, Gatewood is above-average at first base with quality hands and above-average lateral movement, still improving his ability to pick it. On the bases, he’s a below-average runner, but runs the bases well with good instincts and jumps.
While lacking the hit tool for an everyday role at first base, I like Gatewood as Role 45 platoon player and a solid late-inning defensive replacement. Facing only lefties, Gatewood’s hit tool jumps a grade where he can pick up spin more easily, and the game power should also tick up to plus. He is defensively an upgrade over many current major league first baseman, providing additional late-inning utility.