Carlos Gomez: A Late Bloomer?

Mike McGinnis

Carlos Gomez had a break out season in 2012. Was it real?

Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez put up his best season as a major leaguer in 2012, a breakout season for him. I am sure many, or all, of us saw this coming right? Wrong. Kudos for you if you did. Gomez was more than likely a waiver wire add in 2012 in many leagues, and he rewarded fantasy owners with a season that put him in the same company as Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Braun, Mike Trout and a few others.

Let's take a look:

Name

G

PA

H

HR

R

RBI

SB

ISO

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

Mike Trout

139

639

182

30

129

83

49

0.238

0.383

0.326

0.399

0.564

Carlos Gomez

137

452

108

19

72

51

37

0.202

0.296

0.260

0.305

0.463

B.J. Upton

146

633

141

28

79

78

31

0.208

0.294

0.246

0.298

0.454

Ryan Braun

154

677

191

41

108

112

30

0.276

0.346

0.319

0.391

0.595

Jimmy Rollins

156

699

158

23

102

68

30

0.177

0.262

0.250

0.316

0.427

Gomez was one home run away from a 20 home run, 30+ stolen base season in 2012, which only four other hitters accomplished last season as you can see in the table above. The stat that you should focus on is the number of plate appearances it took for Gomez to enter this select company. He had 180 less plate appearances than Trout and Upton, and over 200 less plate appearances than Rollins and Braun.

I am not saying he should be drafted in the same rounds as Braun or Trout. Not at all, as there is plenty of risk that 2012 was his career year. But, if 2012 was truly his breakout season, and he can keep his starting job in center field, we could see another season like 2012, or possibly a bit more.

Gomez's power, as measured by ISO, has been in a slow uptrend until the last few seasons:

2007: .072 ISO

2008: .102 ISO

2009: .108 ISO

2010: .110 ISOI

2011: .177 ISO

2012: .202 ISO

Prior to joining the Brewers, Gomez batted ball profile was that of a ground ball hitter, which makes sense, since he has plenty of speed to beat out infield grounders. But since moving to Milwaukee, he has hit more fly balls, and more of those fly balls are finding there way over the wall.

2009: 35.4 FB%; 3.7 HR/FB%

2010: 35.5 FB%; 7.1 HR/FB%

2011: 43.8 FB%; 11.4 HR/FB%

2012: 43.2 FB%; 14.3 HR/FB%

Fantasy owners are left to wonder if the power is real, as it appears his power and HR/FB rates are trending in the right direction. His home ball park, Miller Park, may also have something to do with the jump in his power production, as the park ranked as the easiest park to hit a home run in in 2012. Miller Park increased home runs by an amazing 63% last season. Yes, there were more home runs hit at Miller Park than at Coors Field, which ranked third, and Great America Ball Park, which ranked second on the list.

Was the HR factor at Miller Park an aberration due to solid power seasons from Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez, Rickie Weeks and others? Considering that only Braun and Gomez set career highs in HR/FB%, maybe not. Then again, in 2011, Miller Park only increased home runs by a little over 6%, so we are still left to wonder if Gomez's boost in power was real or not.

I am left to focus on the trend in his fly ball rate and home run per fly ball and opine that we could see a 20+ home run season from Gomez in 2013, to go along with 30+ stolen bases.

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