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Bust no more: Carlos Gomez has been one of the best players in baseball

May 28, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

Carlos Gomez AP

Carlos Gomez continued his breakout season yesterday by smacking two homers against the Twins, who acquired him from the Mets as a prospect in the Johan Santana deal and traded him to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy two disappointing seasons later.

Gomez was a bust in Minnesota, hitting .248 with a .645 OPS in 290 games, and he produced similarly underwhelming numbers through his first two-and-a-half years in Milwaukee. But then something clicked around the All-Star break last year.

Since the beginning of last season’s second half Gomez is hitting .300 with 24 homers, 24 doubles, 35 steals, and an .883 OPS in 123 games. Toss in his always excellent defense in center field and he’s been one of the best all-around players in baseball for nearly a full season.

Among all MLB hitters with at least 100 games since last year’s All-Star break his .539 slugging percentage ranks seventh, behind only Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Buster Posey, Ryan Braun, Mike Trout, and Adrian Beltre. Trout is the only other center fielder ahead of Gomez during that time and the next-highest center fielder is Adam Jones in 26th place.

In other words, only Mike Trout’s historically amazing performance has kept Carlos Gomez from being the best center fielder in baseball for the past 10 months. And now the Brewers look awfully smart for signing the 27-year-old to a three-year, $24 million extension in March.

  1. neoshweaty - May 28, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    I vaguely remember him struggling during his first cup of coffee but back then he was 21. Then the Mets traded him to the twins with a bunch of other bums (even if Humber did end up pitching a perfect game) and I figured he would just be another prospect who didn’t make it. However, it seems like he is peaking exactly when baseball players are supposed to and is putting up pretty great stats. Hopefully it isn’t a result of anything that can call his performance into question. Great story here.

    • malbrecht4 - May 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      One of the best players in baseball? The guy has had 2 good months. He plays in the easiest park in the NL to hit HR. 9 of his 10 HR have come at home. He has 9 walks and 42 K. He just tries to hit a HR every time up. Always tries to pull the ball. He has improved this year in hitting breaking balls, but in only 48 games to call him “one of the best players in baseball” is insane.

      • neoshweaty - May 28, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        Not 48 games:

        “Since the beginning of last season’s second half Gomez is hitting .300 with 24 homers, 24 doubles, 35 steals, and an .883 OPS in 123 games. Toss in his always excellent defense in center field and he’s been one of the best all-around players in baseball for nearly a full season.”

      • dluxxx - May 28, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        I’m guessing reading comprehension isn’t one of your strong suits… This is over a 123 game stretch, or as stated in the piece, “nearly a full season.”

      • brewcrewfan54 - May 28, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        If trying to hit homeruns every at bat can give everyone a .300 avg and 10 homers more players should be doing it. I don’t exactly see why you have a problem admittingthis guy is playing well right now. No he doesn’t always look pretty or graceful doing it but its working. If only we could get a few more Brewers to drive in some runs now.

      • fm31970 - May 28, 2013 at 11:42 PM

        So .300 over 123 games is very good for an MLB player, but what has he averaged over his MLB career? Yes, he’s how now and for the last year, but that’s only a section of his entire body of MLB work.

      • brewcrewfan54 - May 29, 2013 at 12:47 AM

        Certainly his career averages don’t add up to this year but not every player turns the corner as early as others do. He’s having a great season and a half run. Maybe it will end tommorow maybe it wont end until he’s 35. Either way the guy is playing great ball. Get over it. Right now he’s for real.

    • musicman1434 - May 28, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Getting out from under Gardenhire in Minnesota was a plus for Gomez. Gardy has a terrible track record in developing young players due to his tendency to criticize them for every miscue while ignoring the same type of mistakes that are made by his “stars”. What makes it worse is that he always does his bashing in the press rather than man to man. I am glad to see Gomez finally start to gel. He isn’t always pretty to watch but he plays the game with enthusiasm which is a quality that the Twins have been missing for three years now.

      • neoshweaty - May 28, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Do you think it’s time for Gardenhire to go? I know he had a great track record and the farm system hasn’t been very good for a while but eventually the players, team and manager just need fresh faces and ideas because what they have going currently in Minnesota is probably another 90 loss season. Then again, they are headed for a 90 loss season no matter who is managing so there is an argument to be made that they should just leave things in place.

      • kollin7 - May 28, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        I’d say Gardenhire should go. Time for the Twins to enter a new era. They are pretty loaded in prospects right now, and Gardenhire might not be the best thing for prospects. I’m sure we’ve all heard about how they (and the Mets) tried to make Gomez a guy who puts the ball on the ground and uses his speed. An obvious idea to try at first, but after 5 seasons of him not being able to do it, hitting .210, they should have tried letting him do what he does most comfortably. I think that’s what he’s doing now. He’s turned into a 5-tool player. Props to Doug Melvin on the extension.

  2. gbpxlvi - May 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    123 games

  3. gbpxlvi - May 28, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Started from the bottom now we here…actually his walk up song. Seems fitting for now at least

    • kollin7 - May 28, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      That song is completely awful, but I think it does reflect Gomez’s career. He seems determined.

  4. thebadguyswon - May 28, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Glad he’s putting it together. I have never seen a guy go from first to third on a shallow single to right until he did it as a rookie. Crazy talent.

  5. raybrower - May 28, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Well at least we wound up with Jim Hoey.

  6. 13arod - May 28, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    have him on my fanasty team

  7. badintent - May 28, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    so which is it ? HGH or roids ? Yes,I’m pointing a finger, you’ll do it when my Jays hitters have break out seasons too.

    • thebadguyswon - May 28, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      Look at his flyball rate. Dont need to look much further. He’s hitting a lot more fly balls instead of hitting the ball on the ground.

      • badintent - May 29, 2013 at 1:29 AM

        So did Jose Batista. Went from 16 homers to 50+ in one season.Guess anyone can do it with an upper cut..Everyone on this blog was screaming roids with Jose, Dominican stigma, racial profiling, yada, yada

    • kollin7 - May 28, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      If you were to actually watch his at-bats, he is a completely changed hitter. No longer looking foolish on breaking pitches way out of reach. When a guy with his kind of power forces pitchers to pitch to him, you’ll see what we’re seeing now.

      • badintent - May 29, 2013 at 1:25 AM

        So he’s now HOF material due to moving up in the box so he gets the breaking ball early before it snaps off.? hummmmmm. Don’t think so. I wish him well until the pee bottle gets to Bud.

  8. northstarnic - May 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Getting away from the Twins organization and coaching staff is never a bad idea for a young ball player.

  9. malbrecht4 - May 28, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Another 2 or 3 mos like this and gogo will be on par with Billy Hall, Casey McGehee and Dale Sveum.

    • kollin7 - May 28, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      The difference is that Gomez doesn’t just supply a good bat.

  10. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - May 29, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    “What’s wrong with judging him from 75% of a season’s worth stats? It’s an indicator of future greatness.” Ubaldo Jimenez

  11. chill1184 - May 29, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Hated giving him up in the Santana trade because I felt that he was going to be a pretty damm good OF. Another blunder by Omar Minaya but Im happy that he’s killing it right now, Brewers are going to get great value with that extension.

    • jl9830 - May 29, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      Blunder? You have to give something to get something. Johan Santana should have won the Cy Young in 2008 and threw the first no-hitter in Mets history. That trade is certainly not a blunder.

  12. hvoigt21 - May 29, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    It’s not difficult to figure out why the Mets and the Twins both gave up on this guy. It was his malcontent attitude, cockiness, all mixed together. when he did hit a HR he would rub it in on the opposing pitcher. being a real dick. Maybe someone pulled him aside and talked some sense to him.Finally…I a sure others tried…

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