Posted at 1:23 PM on September 25, 2008
by Chris Dall
A lot of people have been down on Carlos Gomez this season, including me, even though I heartily endorsed his selection as the everyday centerfielder back in April. Go-Go gave us lots of reasons to doubt him.
I'll admit there were moments when I wavered, especially as his average plummeted, his strikeout totals rose, and Denard Span made everyone wonder what the Twins had been thinking back in spring training. As I watched him get into more 0-2 counts than any other player in baseball history, I wondered if Gomez would turn out to be one of those "all sizzle and no steak" prospects that drive you crazy, and get GM's fired. Today, I'm feeling a lot better about Go-Go.
I'm not going to suggest Gomez has made some huge breakthrough, because he still has a long way to go offensively. But his September numbers (.292 BA, .342 OBP), while not overwhelming, could be an indication that he's starting to figure things out at the plate. One key moment was in Tuesday's game, when he drove in Nick Punto on a 4th inning single. Down 0-2 in the count, Gomez actually laid off a few pitches, fouled off a few others, and worked the count to 3-2 before dropping a soft single into left field. I couldn't believe my eyes. It might have been his best at-bat of the year.
Then, of course, there was the catch he made last night in the 9th, on a ball most other outfielders wouldn't have caught up with. He misses that ball and the 9th inning could have been very different.
So, yes, I'm sticking to my guns on Gomez. He may never be a leadoff hitter, but if he continues to improve, he could be huge boost for a bottom of the order that has been black hole for years.
i've been as hard on go-go as anyone -- mostly because i thought span was getting the shaft.....but i gained a lot of respect for him last night.....should be a sign of things to come!!
in another post on this blog, i commented that, as much as i love gomez, maybe it was time to send him down for a little bit so he can get his head on straight. i still stand by what i said at that time. however, i'm happy to see that he's starting to figure it out up here. that AB in tuesday's game is indeed a good example.
but what he did thursday? are you kidding me?!? the twins simply would not have won that game (and a huge game it was) without gomez on the field. batting, fielding, on the basepaths, he did everything last night. yeah, this kid can be frustrating at times, but i see why gardy loves him. if he can keep on his game, he will be indispensable for the rest of the season, and hopefully (fingers crossed) the playoffs.
p.s. gomez in the 2-spot? gardy claims he goes with who's hot. of course, he also claims he doesn't mess with the lineup when things are going well...