April 24, 2008
Twins Notes: Bonser, Gomez, Cuddyer, Thomas, and Krivsky
AVG OBP SLG OPS
Baseball Prospectus .249 .301 .361 .662
Baseball Think Factory .241 .299 .346 .645
The Hardball Times .247 .293 .337 .630
Gomez was handed an everyday job in the majors as a 22-year-old despite having a month's worth of experience at Triple-A and his minor-league track record suggested that he was anything but ready to thrive against big-league pitching. Sure enough, he's hitting .230/.247/.310 with a horrendous 24-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 20 games, underperforming even those modest projections and making him a .231/.272/.307 hitter in 78 career games once his time with the Mets last season is included.
He's drawn a total of eight non-intentional walks in 228 career plate appearances while striking out 51 times, which isn't the type of ratio that lends itself to being a quality leadoff man, especially when it accompanies a .272 on-base percentage. Nearly one-fourth of Gomez's career hits have come via bunts and he's unsuccessfully laid one down plenty, which leaves him as a .202 hitter with a measly .278 slugging percentage and 50 strikeouts in 203 plate appearances when he swings away.
That works out to a strikeout in 25 percent of his non-bunt plate appearances, which would've ranked as the eighth-highest strikeout rate among AL hitters last year. Even with the bunt attempts included, Gomez has whiffed in 22 percent of his career trips to the plate, which would've ranked 14th-worst among AL hitters last season. Gomez's speed makes him plenty exciting, but he's been rushed to the majors despite having huge holes in his game and has predictably been overmatched at the plate.
Gomez can wreak havoc once he reaches base, but that rarely happens because he has horrible plate discipline, struggles to make consistent contact, and possesses little power. He has loads of potential and has shown flashes of brilliance, but isn't an MLB-caliber hitter at this stage of his career, let alone an MLB-caliber leadoff man. Perhaps the Twins feel that he'll learn more in Minnesota than Rochester, but in the meantime he's burning through pre-free agency service time while dragging the lineup down.
Gomez would still get plenty of plate appearances at the bottom of the lineup and staying at the top of the order won't help anyone involved if he doesn't actually perform well enough to warrant being there. Gardenhire views speed as having tremendous importance atop the lineup and regardless of what you think of that stance Gomez's wheels do have plenty of value, but Harris figures to get on base about 20 percent more often and that's far more important.
Gardenhire said he's against moving Gomez from the leadoff spot, reasoning that he needs at-bats and he'll be better off down the road if he stays at the top of the order.
Interestingly, Thomas is rumored to be negotiating a return to Oakland, where he'd presumably replace Mike Sweeney as the A's designated hitter. Sweeney revealed yesterday that he "had some talks with the Twins early in the offseason" and "was pretty excited about the possibility" of coming to Minnesota before "talks calmed down" and he signed with the A's for just $500,000. He then went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs in the A's 3-0 victory last night, improving to .309/.391/.418 on the year.
Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.