If Chris Narveson is my selection to be Milwaukee’s breakout performer in 2012, then Carlos Gomez gets my plaudit for being the guy right behind Narveson.
Oct 7, 2011; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez hits a single in the tenth inning of game five of the 2011 NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park. The Brewers won 3-2 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
Heck, I’ve even got the same hunch for Gomez this season that I nearly pulled out the same cheesy, not-so-euphonious intro as in that Narveson article. For you sake as well as mine, let’s be glad I did no such thing this time around.
Gomez is coming off of two of what I like to call “Carlos Gomez seasons”. (I know. Genius name, right?) Only for Carlos Gomez could put up .225/.276/.403 numbers after a season with .247/.298/.357 numbers and still be considered a solid contributor. Why so? Defense. Gomez would be a perfect player in the Bo Ryan system for Wisconsin; no offense, but great hustle defensively. (I’m joking, of course. Well, maybe I’m a bit serious. Huge Badgers and Ryan fan.)
Gomez’s RngR, which measures how many runs a player saved with his range, was an incredible 8.7 in 2011, especially considering he only appeared in 87 games defensively for the Brewers. Overall, he had a 12.0 UZR, which puts him in the “Great” ranking in the chart below from FanGraphs. If his bat would allow him to be in the lineup every day, his UZR would be off the charts. In 151 games with Minnesota in 2008, he racked up an astounding 17.8 UZR. Gold Glove Caliber, indeed.
The denouement of this, I suppose, would be the following: Carlos Gomez is good at defense.
Decent catch, huh? Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
The 26-year-old center fielder’s offense, however, has been the consistent trammel to his success in the Majors. The Brewers love to utilize his speed at the top of the lineup, but a career OBP of .291 that has never toppled .300 in any single season is what hinders his ability to provide runs offensively. In two seasons with the Brewers, Gomez has played in 191 games. Take out his final two months, and he’s appeared in 166 games for the Brewers, which is about the sample. Over that span, he has 43 steals and only 4 CS. Anybody else think the Brewers could use that speed to generate runs, especially with the loss of Prince Fielder and Aramis Ramirez’s love for grounding into twin-killers?
Going back to what I was saying about his breakout season to-be, Gomez can be considered the player poised for a career year in 2012. I can’t corroborate this statement with statistics and comparisons like I did with Narveson; it’s a hunch and nothing more. He has recovered from a collarbone injury last season and should regain confidence at the plate this Spring.
Once again, Gomez will platoon with Nyjer Morgan in center field, who gets the starts with right-handers on the mound. He’ll be a frequent late-game defensive sub in center, as well. With the early season injury to Corey Hart, Gomez will see more action in April than he will over the course of the season, assuming the outfielders stay healthy.
Hey, if nothing else, at least Gomez scored the game-winning run in Game 5 of the NLDS. That’s always a good fall-back plan.
2012 RtB Predictions: .257/.301/.375, 12 HR, 29 RBI, 22 SB, 13.8 UZR, a few semi-decent catches