Stalking Carlos Gomez

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

True story - as a Mets fan, I attended Binghamton University for undergraduate school and in my last year there, I got to watch Carlos Gomez on the (AA) Binghamton Mets where he went .282 with 7 HR and 41 SB. I told all my friends to be ready for the next Carlos Beltran... minus the huge mole.

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True story – as a Mets fan, I attended Binghamton University for undergraduate school and in my last year there, I got to watch Carlos Gomez on the (AA) Binghamton Mets where he went .282 with 7 HR and 41 SB. I told all my friends to be ready for the next Carlos Beltran minus the huge mole.

I even spoke with him a few times. In 2008, I moved to Minnesota and Carlos Gomez coincidentally was traded to the Twins. One game with an old co-worker, I went around to left-center between innings and screamed for his attention where he looked as though he actually remembered me. Creeeeepy I’m sure he thought as it was obvious I was a fan at the time and not anyone within the baseball/reporting industry.

In any case, there was a time I thought he could mature into a 25 HR/40 SB type. That became an afterthought until last year when he went 19/37 in only 450 plate appearances. This year, he’s spanking the ball thus far: 6 HR (17.1 HR/FB %) and 7 SB (8.0 FanGraphs Speed Score) which projects to 30 HR and 35 SB; to the tune of a .364 BA (.420 BABIP). While the avg. should plunge, his projected HR and SB total could be in the cards. We all know he’s fast, but let’s qualify this projected HR total.

Age

PA

R

RBI

SB

OBP

2011

Brewers

25

258

37

24

16

0.276

2012

Brewers

26

452

72

51

37

0.305

2013

Brewers

27

119

22

14

7

0.412

Total

- - -

2249

313

212

137

0.3

AVG

BABIP

BB/K

2011

Brewers

0.225

0.273

0.23

2012

Brewers

0.26

0.296

0.2

2013

Brewers

0.364

0.42

0.26

Total

- - -

0.253

0.309

0.23

O-Swing%

Z-Swing%

Swing%

O-Ct%

Z-Ct%

Ct%

Zone%

F-Str%

SwStr%

2011

Brewers

35.2%

69.7%

51.8%

56.9%

85.1%

75.2%

48.3%

70.2%

12.4%

2012

Brewers

38.2%

76.4%

55.6%

59.6%

85.7%

75.9%

45.5%

65.7%

13.1%

2013

Brewers

36.3%

74.5%

53.4%

63.3%

85.9%

77.4%

44.6%

68.9%

11.7%

Total

- - -

36.4%

69.5%

52.5%

59.7%

86.2%

76.8%

48.7%

66.2%

11.9%

ISO

IFFB%

GB/FB

FB%

HR/FB

HR

Avg. Dist.

Avg. Dist. Rank

2011

Brewers

0.177

17.10%

1.01

43.8%

11.4%

8

288.29 ft.

69th

2012

Brewers

0.202

12.80%

0.93

43.2%

14.3%

19

288.40 ft.

80th

2013

Brewers

0.273

0.00%

0.89

41.7%

17.1%

6

276.17 ft.

130th

Total

- - -

0.14

13.50%

1.1

39.5%

8.8%

50

Stats courtesy of FanGraphs customized player profiles.

Average HR and FB distance and rank courtesy of Jeff Zimmerman’s BaseballHeatMaps

Contact and Batting Average:


I’ve highlighted a few factors. Let’s focus on his contact and discipline-related stats first. We know that contact rate stabilizes after about 100 plate appearances. He’s got 119 of them under his belt this year and his contact rate is at an all-time high (77.4%) which fits a bit above a standard age curve and his own trend. While he still strikes out 4x more than he walks, you will benefit from the balls that he’s putting in play because he’s keeping the ball in the air more than ever before – his fly ball rate (41.7%) is slightly less than his 2011 and 2012 rate, but his line drive rate(21.4%)is 5% higher than last year and 10% higher than 2010. His LD% more than anything is affecting his BABIP, but he’s still fast enough to beat out groundballs too. Ground Ball rates stabilize around 200 plate appearances (line drives at about 150). Honestly, it’s time to start buying high! If he can continue this positively exacerbated by his Ct%, we’re looking at him approaching a .285 BA to go along with his HR and SB making him an elite outfielder.

Homerun Total:


Okay – let’s qualify his potential HR total. I highlighted his ground ball to flyball ratio, flyball % and homerun to flyball ratio trends. While the FB% is slowing slightly downward, it’s not anything we shouldn’t expect from an age curve. What is excellent is his GB/FB and FB/HR ratio trends. He’s making better contact – both inside and outside of the zone (O/Z-ct%), missing strikes less (SwStr%) and he’s not popping up at all (IFFB%). I highlighted this as red assuming it should regress. Obviously 0% of in-field fly balls become homeruns unless we’re talking Angels in the Outfield here.

Average distance is naturally important from a HR perspective, so let’s look at Gomez’s and compare to others who have a similar average distance within 1ft of him (as of 8May2013): Michael Saunders, Mike Trout, Alexei Ramirez, JeddLowrie, Freddie Freeman

Here are their contact rates, fly ball %, HR/FB ratio, average distance and 2011/2012 park factors by handedness according to FanGraphs:

Ct%

FB%

HR/FB

(IFFB%)

Avg. Dist.

PF

Michael Saunders

77.6

42.2

21.1

0%

277.13 ft.

94

Mike Trout

79.6

29.6

15.6

0%

276.85 ft.

99

Carlos Gomez

77.4

41.7

17.1

0%

276.17 ft.

101

Alexei Ramirez

85.6

34.8

3.1

21.90%

276.15 ft.

114

Jed Lowrie

88.7

41.6

7.1

0%

275.90 ft.

93

Freddie Freeman

70

41.1

8.7

0%

275.60 ft.

99

Average >>>

79.8

38.5

12.12

3.65%

276.3

100

If they all wound up with 550 at-bats, using the above Ct%, FB% and HR/FB they would wind up with the following HR totals:

Michael Saunders: 38 HR

Mike Trout: 20 HR

Carlos Gomez: 30 HR

Alexei Ramirez: 5 HR

Jed Lowrie: 14 HR

Freddie Freeman: 14 HR

So how do we regress Gomez to reality?

HR/FB:

The average HR/FB ratio (omitting Alexei because of his crazy IFFB% and Jed because of his park factors) is 15.625%:

HR/FB

Avg. Dist.

PF

Michael Saunders

21.1

277.13 ft.

94

Mike Trout

15.6

276.85 ft.

99

Carlos Gomez

17.1

276.17 ft.

101

Freddie Freeman

8.7

275.60 ft.

99

Average >>>

15.625

276.3

98.25

Gomez will naturally start popping the ball up (especially as he exerts effort trying to lift the ball) so let’s go with 15% - this assumes some regression from his current rates, but discipline-related growth from last year.

Ct%:

He’s at 77.4% thus far with rates of 75.2% and 75.9% in the previous two seasons. He’s averaged 76.8% for his career and 76.21% between last year and thus far. Let’s stick with the later for regression-sake, but keep in mind, he approached 78% in 2008 and 2009.

FB%:

He’s at 41.7% thus far and 39.5% for his career. At 27, we shouldn’t expect a FB% drop-off. If anything, 3-5% of his LD should turn into GB. Let’s assume a 41 FB%.

HR Total:

Using these, let’s project some HR totals:

450 AB: 21 HR

475 AB: 22 HR

500 AB: 23/24 HR

550 AB: 24/25 HR

If we keep him within the same % of what he’s currently doing (77 Ct%, 41 FB% and 16.1 HR/FB%), we’re at the following:

450 AB: 23 HR

475 AB: 24 HR

500 AB: 25/26 HR

550 AB: 27 HR

Recommendation:

I think he’s a lock for 21 HR, 31 SB and a .284 BA (incorporating his performance to date). Last year, Jason Heyward was the 37th best fantasy player according to ESPN’s player rater and went .269-93r-27hr-82rbi-21sb. While Gomez won’t produce runs at the same rate batting 7th, if he does indeed bat .280+ with 10 more SB, we can expect a top 50 ranking. He’s currently ranked 3rd!

To the few of you I spoke to about this Carlos 7 years ago, I told you so… at least about the lack of a gigantic mole.

Dan Schwartz owns and contributes for Rotobanter.com – a site dedicated to answering visitor requests and promoting live discussion. You can follow him on Twitter @rotobanter.


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