Carlos Gomez is an electric player. His ability to steal bases, make amazing catches and hit homeruns with ease makes him a fun player to watch no matter what team you are rooting for. He has always had the athletic ability to be a successful Major Leaguer, but early on in his career he struggled and was unable to live up to the expectations of being a top prospect.
At the age of 16, the New York Mets signed Carlos Gomez as an international free agent, who was considered to be a five-tool player, and he instantly became one of the Mets top prospects.
On May 13, 2007 Carlos Gomez made his MLB debut for the Mets, not even five years after they signed the youngster out of the Dominican Republic. While Carlos Gomez quickly became a fan favorite in New York, he struggled in his limited amount of action. Even though he batted a disappointing .232 in 125 plate appearances, he showed signs of becoming a star in the making with his excellent speed and defensive abilities.
In the following offseason, the New York Mets had their eyes set on the two-time Cy Young Award winner, Johan Santana, who the Minnesota Twins were actively trading. The Mets were able to swing a deal for the lefty, but had to part with numerous prospects including Carlos Gomez.
This trade allowed Carlos Gomez to leave the Mets crowded outfield, and gave him the opportunity to compete for a starting outfield spot in Spring Training. Gomez was able to beat out Denard Span and Jason Pridie to win the starting centerfield job. Throughout the season he showed glimpses of stardom, but also made many plays that made you shake your head in disbelief. He hit for the cycle once in 2008 and led the MLB in 30 bunt base hits, but he was picked off a major league high 10 times and committed eight errors.
In 2009 Gomez received only 349 plate appearances, compared to the 614 he received a season ago, and he continued to struggle at the plate producing a .229 batting average. Even though he was disappointing at the plate, he continued to improve defensively with a .997 fielding percentage.
His career in Minnesota did not last long, in the offseason he was traded for a second time in his short career to the Milwaukee Brewers for shortstop J.J. Hardy. While he continued to develop into an elite defender and base stealer, he still continued to struggle at the plate.
It was not until the 2012 season, where he experienced his greatest success, producing career highs with a .260 batting average, .305 on-base percentage, 19 homeruns, and 37 stolen bases. His terrific performance earned him a three-year contract extension worth $24 million, making him a Brewer through the 2016 season.
Carlos Gomes said during the All-Star media session at Citi Field about his early career struggles, “For five years, I’ve been trying to do what others have told me – hit ball on the ground, bunt it. For five years, that hasn’t worked. Why do I need to keep trying to do that if it’s not working?’”
When asked what he want to do.
“I’m going to try to hit the ball with power,” Gomez told them.
This move has paid off big time for the young star. He is now having the best season of his career for the Brewers in 2013, posting numbers that fans and coaches expected of him when he first broke into the big leagues back in 2007 with the New York Mets.
“Now I step up to the plate and every time I think, I think of hitting home runs to center field,” Gomez said. “That’s my approach and everything is coming together.”
This approach has shown, at the All-Star break, Gomez has a .295 batting average with 14 long balls and 45 RBIs. He is fifth in stolen bases with 21 and ranks first in triples with 9 in the National League. Not only has his hitting improved, but also he is having another great defensive season. He has a .996 fielding percentage with only one error committed, and he has made multiple homerun saving catches. Gomez also ranks higher than anyone in the MLB, including the best player in the game –Miguel Cabrera, with a 5.7 wins above replacement.
Carlos Gomez has developed this season into the five-tool player everyone thought he would eventually become. He has demonstrated that he can do damage with the bat, while also being able to change the game with his amazing speed and great defense.
The Brewers made the right decision by locking Carlos Gomes up to an extension before the season. He is finally living up to the expectations he had when he was once a top prospect, and is having the best season of his big league career.
Carlos Gomez is an All-Star this season, but do not be surprised if that is the only recognition he receives for his outstanding play. He has been arguably the best defensive centerfielder this season and deserves to win the Gold Glove Award, ending the Brewers long drought of 30 years with out a Gold Glove winner. He also should receive some MVP votes, while it is a long shot that he wins it, his WAR and overall statistics are just as good as any other deserving candidate in the National League.
Everyone was wondering when Carlos Gomez would finally have a breakout season and live up to the high expectations, and this season he is finally producing at a level he was expected to do since day one. While it took many years and struggles to become a consistent contributor at the Major League level, Carlos Gomez has transformed his career from when he first started with the Mets becoming one of the best centerfielders in all of baseball.