Today we take a look at arguably the Brewers’ most well rounded player, Gold Glove winner and two-time All-Star center fielder, Carlos Gomez.
Go-Go came to the Brewers from the Twins in a trade that swapped he and shortstop J.J. Hardy after the 2009 season. Both players were considered disappointing offensively given their potential, and while both played very well on defense, each team hoped to turn their new player around.
The Twins traded Hardy to the Orioles for two non-impact players after one year, and the shortstop has since won two Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and has been named to an All-Star game. Conversely, the Crew held onto their trade piece, and Gomez has rewarded the Brewers for their patience.
After struggling as the primary starter for the Brewers in in 2010, Gomez split time with Nyjer Morgan in 2011, and Morgan thrived while Gomez again underwhelmed.
The opposite was true of 2012, however, as Gomez leapfrogged Morgan on the depth chart in his breakout season. That year, Gomez hit 19 home runs, after hitting just 16 from 2009-2011, and his OPS improved to .768, by far the best of his career.
Prior to the 2013 season, realizing that Gomez was finally showing more consistent flashes of his potential, the Brewers signed him to a 3-year, $24 million contract extension.
Gomez improved again in the 2013 season, with career highs in home runs (24), RBI (73), walks (37), outfield assists (12), and his entire slash line. These improvements lead to Gomez being voted into his first All-Star Game, as well as winning the Gold Glove award and finishing ninth in MVP voting.
This season, Gomez is again performing like a near-five-tool player, and is again third in WAR among center fielders, the second year in a row he has trailed perpetual MVP finalists Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen.
While Gomez does not hit for as high an average or walk as much as the aforementioned center fielders, his value for the Brewers is that of an MVP. Between of 2013 and 2014, Gomez currently ranks fourth in the Majors behind Trout, McCutchen, and Josh Donaldson in WAR.
Gomez is currently posting numbers similar to one time MVP Ryan Braun, and while Braun has underperformed in 2013, Gomez has helped keep the offense rolling, and is on pace to again improve his career numbers in RBI, walks, batting average, and OBP.
Gomez has a unique set of skills that many modern players cannot achieve. He is one of very few hitters that can be trusted to hit both first and fourth in a big league lineup. His rare mix of offensive and defensive talent make him one of the most entertaining and electrifying players in the game, and he’s only getting better.
Gomez has improved every year since coming to Milwaukee, and the Brewers are lucky to have him under contract for the best seasons of his career. Every great team has stand out performers, and Gomez is one of the great cornerstones of the Brewers.