Zach Gentile was the Red Sox 49th pick in the 2008 MLB draft. He started out the season in Lowell in 2008, and struggled mightily. He hit .222/.271/.259 in 40 games for the Spinners. He had no home runs, 3 doubles, and a triple.
He improved in 2009, hitting .281/.363/.340 in 88 games for the Greenville Drive. He hit a home run, 11 doubles and 2 triples. He took a step back in 2010, hitting .233/.326/.285/ with 13 doubles, 2 triples and no home runs in 98 games for the Drive.
He got the bump up to Salem in 2011, where he hit .273/.366/.320 with no home runs, 10 doubles, and a triple in 80 games for the Salem Red Sox.
Gentile got promoted to Portland this year, where he got off to a hot start. In May (he only played one game in April), he hit .333/.378/.381 with 2 doubles in 13 games for the Sea Dogs. Unfortunately he couldn’t get anything going in June. He hit .080/.148/.080 with no extra base hits in 7 games for the Sea Dogs. He was demoted to high A Salem.
Zach Gentile is 5-8 165 pound lefty (who throws righty) who usually plays in the infield, but can also play in the outfield. According to SoxProspects, he’s considered a gritty player like Dustin Pedroia.
Andrew Rodriguez: How much of a learning curve has there been for you going from A ball to AA?
Zach Gentile: The biggest difference in AA and A ball is most of the pitchers control the fastball and one or two other pitches. They will throw either pitch in most any count. It makes it tougher on hitters.
Andrew Rodriguez: What would you say is the best aspect of your game?
Zach Gentile: I think my best attribute is knowing the type of player I am and trying to do the things I need to do, like move runners and taking care of the baseball
Andrew Rodriguez: What aspect of your game would you like to improve upon?
Zach Gentile: I think every part of my game needs some work. I think mentally sometimes over thinking things is the toughest aspect in my game. I try to make everything perfect. I always try to find the cause for making a miss hit. It just happens and letting that go is would help me a lot.
Andrew Rodriguez: Describe your approach at the plate.
Zach Gentile: When I come to the to the plate, I analyze the situation and figure out what my goal needs to be. If there is no goal other than to reach base I simplify my approach to see the ball and hit it. The last thought in my head should be to simply be to see the pitch as clear as I can and let my eyes tell my body how to get there. It’s not always that simple but when things are going right that is all you have in your head.
Andrew Rodriguez: You started out really well, though you’ve been struggling recently. Is there something that you’ve changed since last year?
Zach Gentile: I spent a lot of time this off season reconstructing my swing to maximize the potential gap to gap power and consistency in my swing. It took a lot of step by step break downs and baby steps to get to a point where it happens naturally but it has paid off.
Andrew Rodriguez: Are there any players that you compare yourself to?
Zach Gentile: I don’t really compare myself to a lot of guys because I feel like every player is different. Although If I had to imagine being like someone I would
assume someone like David Eckstin or a Dustin Pedroia. They are smaller players who go out and play the game because they love playing baseball.
Andrew Rodriguez: What teams did you grow up rooting for?
Zach Gentile: I grew up idolizing Derek Jeter so I followed the Yankees. Being from Michigan I think it’s natural to follow the Tigers.
Andrew Rodriguez: Did you have any favorite players growing up?
Zach Gentile: Derek Jeter was always the guy. He plays the game the right way, stays out of the news when it comes to the negative side, and he was from Kalamazoo, which is where I played most of the summer ball in high school.
Andrew Rodriguez: According to SoxProspects.com, you have a “Pedroia-esque grittiness to your overall game”. What drives you to play every game like it’s your last?
Zach Gentile: Well at any point baseball could be over and I don’t want to waste a single chance to do something great. I also think that when you are out there playing because you love the game and the competitiveness it’s not hard to go out and do everything y can to try to win. I know each day we are trying to develop ourselves but I want to win. If I ever lost the will to win I think I would lose the play every game like its my last look and feel.
Andrew Rodriguez: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Zach Gentile: I am a person who likes to be busy. I spend time playing video games that are competitive, touristy type things in new areas I play in, and I also have started reading more to try and learn from people who have been in the spotlight.
Andrew Rodriguez: Who is your favorite music artist?
Zach Gentile: I don’t specifically spend my time listening to one artist per say. I enjoy country mostly, but I listen to all music, if it has a beat that sounds good I am all about it. It all depends on my mood.