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Is Carlos Gomez Roster Worthy?

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Carlos Gomez enticed fantasy owners by swiping 64 bases as a 19 year old in A ball in 2005. Two years later he made his major league debut before playing his first full season in 2008. That year he stole 33 bases while adding 7 HR and it looked like the 22 year old had a bright future as a fantasy mainstay. Then came 2009 when he hit only 3 HR with 14 SB and a .227 AVG. His playing time was cut and owners were left wondering what went wrong. 2010 saw him move to Milwaukee where he saw a slight bounceback in performance but nowhere near enough to justify rostering him in anything but the deepest of leagues. A solid spring and a strong opening day have owners wondering if there is still hope for the free swinging speedster.

Gomez has always performed well in March so the hot spring should be taken with a grain of salt. His strikeout to walk ratio remains atrocious and until he learns to take ball four he will struggle to take advantage of his blazing speed. He strikes out about a quarter of the time he takes to the plate and that will keep his AVG in the .250 range with his ceiling likely around .275. He has some power for a speedster and his increase in flyballs this spring hint that he may have an outside shot at double digit home runs. New Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has stated that he wants his team to be aggressive on the base-paths and it showed on opening day where they were aggressive in taking the extra base. Gomez got off to a nice start with a home run and a steal and he even drew his first walk of the year. He had only 17 walks last year and has never had an OBP above .300 in the majors. If Gomez could get that number around .310 I could see him stealing 35 bases easily with 40 a possibility. Hitting in front of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder could mean 90 runs if he is in the lineup every day.

Still only 25 he is young enough to improve his plate approach which is mandatory if he wishes to fulfill his potential. Having elite wheels is pointless if you can't get on base and if you can't get on base it's hard to stay in the lineup. If Gomez shows improvements he could top 600 plate appearances which could mean 10 HR and 40 SB to go along with a .260 AVG and 90 R. At the same time he could keep his OBP below the Gomez line (sub .300 OBP) and see his playing time diminished. He has high upside but the downside is pretty low. If you're feeling lucky go ahead and grab Gomez since he has a starting job and youth on his side. If he can bring the AVG up to a respectable number he has the potential to be quite valuable. Just don't say I didn't warn you if all you get is a .220 AVG with 20 SB.