(Twitter: @brewersblend) 11:20am
|Gomez scoring the game-winning run in Game 5|
of the NLDS in '11 - his biggest MIL moment
Gomez'z enthusiasm and obvious love for playing the game is tremendous, infectious and simply a joy to take in - I'd never want him to lose that side of him. It'd be great if he can find a way to harness it a touch, but that's a tough balance to find.
Watching him live in the 2011 NLDS Game 5 against Arizona - leadoff single, steal second, then slide across the plate to send the Brewers to the NLCS - is one of the greatest moments in time I've had in watching the Crew.
Now can he bring together his entire package for a full season in 2013?
|Raw power is there - better pitch |
selection and plate discipline is needed
His biggest problem at the dish comes down to a lack of overall patience, while too often swinging at pitches out of the zone. Advanced statistics involving plate discipline illustrate his urgency in each at-bat and the struggles he has to consistently see pitches and draw walks.
(You can check out these advanced statistics at the bottom of the article if you're so inclined)
His overaggressive style and excitable nature often has him losing his balance or even falling over on some swings - hard to make consistent contact that way. Generally speaking, plate discipline is something that develops as a player matures; however, at some point a batter's tendencies just don't change that much.
While Gomez is entering his age 27 season (typically the prime for Major Leaguers), he's already played in five full seasons, so you wonder how much he can still alter his approach at the dish. Though I know some are intrigued by his three walks in his first four Spring Training games this year, it's hard to believe Gomez will change in that department.
|Watching Gomez corkscrew himself into the|
ground is both amusing and incredibly irritating
At the same time, I can easily see his power numbers have a slight upward tick, compensating for the other deficiencies.
However, because of his tremendous speed and effectiveness as a base stealer, slight improvement in his OBP could add significant value to the club's run production. Even an OBP of just .315 would net him a handful of more stolen bases and extra opportunity to score in situations the average runner may not - such as scoring from first on a double.
His defensive value still needs to be factored into the equation as well. Gomez is blazing fast with a strong arm and is definitely a high-quality defensive outfielder. I have a hard time putting him in the elite category as some have, because he too often takes bad angles to the ball and throws wildly (or to the wrong bases). Regardless of those issues, he's a big plus for the Brewers in center field.
|He covers a ton of ground, even when|
he gets a poor jump or a bad read on the ball
What's even more impressive for Gomez is that among the top nine center fielders, he has played in at least 1,000 fewer innings than five of them, meaning he's had far less opportunity to rack up the saved runs. So at his current rate, if you'd add another 900 innings (100 games), he'd be in the top 5 among all center fielders.
Provided he hits in the lower part of the order - though he may have to be bumped up if Aramis Ramirez's knee is a major concern - Gomez has tons of value to a team that should be an offensive force once again.
|Considering how poor many teams are in throwing|
out base stealers, Gomez could eclipse 40 SB in '13
With Logan Schafer right behind him - and free agency following this season for Gomez - this is most likely the last year for Go-Go in Milwaukee. Let's hope he goes out with a bang.
What to expect: .253/.302/.474/.776, 22 HR, 79 R, 38 SB
(Advanced plate discipline statistics)
Swing% (overall percentage of pitches a batter swings at)
- Gomez = 55.6% in 2012, the 4th-highest percentage in baseball (52.5% career)
- By swinging at so many pitches, he fails to zero in on the best pitches to hit and puts himself in a pitcher's count with early swings and misses
- Of course, this plays a part in his lack of walks - can't walk if you don't even see 4 pitches
- Gomez = 38.2% in 2012, 16th-highest percentage in baseball (36.5% career)
- In theory, laying off pitches outside the zone will improve one's OBP, but it doesn't always play out that way. However, combined with the high Swing% - a low OBP is expected
- Again, taking pitches out of the strike zone will help put a hitter into a good count, allow him to wait for a fat pitch and, of course, draw more walks.
- Gomez = 85.7% in '12...Doesn't seem bad until you hear there were 97 players with higher %
- Reasons for whiffing on pitches in the zone: Overswinging; defensive swings because you're behind in the count; swinging at off-speed pitches and breaking balls; simply missing the ball
- For the record, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart have a lower percentage making contact in the zone, but each swing at far fewer pitches outside of the zone and overall, limiting the impact of missing strikes thrown.