Fact: Carlos Gomez should not be hitting anywhere but 8 or 9 on a professional baseball team (The Pirates can hit him anywhere from 5 on).
To give Mr. Gomez a chance to defend himself, let’s start with what he is good at.
1. He’s a quick one.
81 stolen bases in his career with a 76% success rate. While this graph shows it progressively getting much much easier to steal a base in todays game, what Gomez does on the base paths is a great trait to have for any team.
I think his speed is why Twins fans were able to put up with him for so long. It’s not like the Twins are known for their athleticism (I’m looking at you fat Delmon Young) so the excitement of a guy stealing a base every now and then made it okay for Gomez to hit .250.
2. He can play defense
Carlos Gomez is no Franklin Gutierrez, but he certainly can hold his own in CF, shown by his consistent +5 UZR (with a +17 anomaly in 2008). From ‘08 to ‘10, he has the 5th best UZR by a center fielder. Speed helps here as his arm is fairly weak and inaccurate, but I’ll give the lesser CarGo credit for his defensive ability.
Now that we’re done talking about what he’s good at, let’s move on to his flaws:
1. The guy cannot get on base
You know what a bad idea might be? Sticking someone with a career OBP under .300 into the 2 hole of a team that has a shot at making the playoffs. Carlos Gomez has the 2nd worst OBP of any outfielder since 1961 (min 450 games). Why would you ever, ever, hit him anywhere but 8? Heck, put him at 9 and bat the pitcher 8th Tony LaRussa style.
2. He can’t hit a HR and strikes out too much.
I’m grouping these together. While this really isn’t a surprise, can I really fault him for not hitting HR’s? I think here I can, because as much as he strikes out, he rarely hits a HR. His strikeout rate is 25.8% this year in Milwaukee, and for a #2 hitter, that’s just pathetic. 1400 plate appearances with 331 strikeouts… That said, you know what makes a strikeout rate like that easy to deal with? 30+ HR. It’s why Ryan Howard, Mark Reynolds, and Adam Dunn are payed a ton of money.
3. Dude can’t hit a ball off of a tee
Career .244 hitters generally don’t last long in the major leagues (shoutout to Adam Everett). To be fair, Carlos Gomez has only played a full season once in his 5 year career, but should he continue getting chances? It’s clear what his ceiling is against major league pitching. He is at that ceiling. In fact, he might be trending downward. You know what else generally doesn’t last long in the major leagues? Top-of-the-order guys who hit under .280. Again, why is he still up at the 2 spot? I really do not get it…
Why am I writing this? Why am I pointing out the obvious to Twins fans who watched this man show up to spring training with his broken english and supposed sky-high abilities in place of Johan Santana’s change-up and Cy Young trophies? Because I own Ryan Braun in fantasy baseball.
Ryan Braun has more runs than RBI. Know why? He has a player whose OBP is south of .300 hitting in front of him. Don’t get me wrong, I love all 15 RBI Braun has gotten me so far, but I can’t tell you the number of times Braun has gotten hits with nobody on base for him to knock in (aaaand that’s why the RBI stat is so unimportant). Braun should have 20 RBI by now. Prince Fielder? 20 RBI. Braun’s OBP? .494.
Ron Roenicke, you see that connection right? Why aren’t you doing anything about this?? What is the point of putting Carlos Gomez at the 2 slot? His speed that he can’t use if he isn’t on base? The hits he rarely gets? The walks he doesn’t take? I don’t understand! Nyjer Morgan, the player you traded for this offseason, is hitting .455 in limited time, and even though he’s going onto the DL, his deep leg bruise is better than the .OBP bruise Gomez gives your budding team.
Put him at 8 or play Nyjer Morgan instead. What have you got to lose? Besides easy outs.
*Naturally, the night I finish writing this, Gomez goes 3/5 with a HR, 2R, 3 RBI, and a walk, but I stand by the last 4 years of gratuitous playing time Carlos Gomez has gotten.