Admit it, you sang the title when you read it. There is no denying this. While I’m not sure that qualifies as a good thing, I don’t necessarily consider it a bad thing. As a child of the 80’s, I am neutral in this regard. You might not be, however. You might think Admiral Ackbar should have been there to warn you of an impending trap. Or you might think that I’m a kindhearted person that would never launch a guerrilla campaign of thought-wars with old 80’s songs. Or even that I might secretly be seeking affection and approval from the Guru. You would be wrong on all three counts, because, you know, ef his turban thingamajig. Amiright? Or excuse me, jam or cram his very big head accessory. Anyhow, like five sentences later, you still have that song stuck in your head, don’t you? Hey buddy, don’t hate the player, hate the game. You think I’m going to talk about Carlos Gomez, who’s nicknamed Go-Go, and not go with a Wham title tie-in? You not knowin’ son. You not knowin’.
So, I didn’t really plan this. Well, I mean, I *did* plan this, after all, this is my series. What I mean to say is that I did not intentionally pick a guy that could be described in the same manner as last weeks focus, Starling Marte. In fact, it would be fair to assume that I could simply copy and paste about 88% of that post here and it would be an accurate summation. But since I love writing and you love reading, let us never speak of that evil magic ever again. However, with that option being mentioned, we don’t quite have to preface how I feel about a player with Gomez’s power/speed skillset. And we also don’t have to spend too much time talking about said skillset.
At this moment, I want to concentrate on the fact that through 36 games in 2013, Carlos Gomez is the best baseball player currently in the Major Leagues when measuring with WAR, which includes defense. As surprising as that may seem, I’m about to blow your socks completely off with this next factoid. Carlos Gomez is currently a top-5ish fantasy baseball producer. Crazy-talk, I know. With that said, let’s show Carlos Gomez’s season in a GIF nutshell.
I have Power
I have Speed
I AM INVINCIBLE!
So says Boris AND Carlos Gomez
In 142 plate appearances, Gomez has a .368 batting average, 6 homeruns, 22 runs and 18 RBI’s to go along with 8 steals. I don’t generally use ‘on pace’ numbers for any kind of bedrock analysis, but it does show that this season would translate into 25+ homeruns and 35+ steals. Along with a .350+ BA, well, those are certainly top-5ish numbers, maybe even numero uno. That’s Commander Riker for my non-spanish speaking friends. And what did you pay for him? A 10th round pick maybe? 13th? You should be pointing at all your league mates and giggling. But then you should stop immediately, because sooner or later, Go-Go will Stop-Stop.
This is the only Go-Go
That shall never Stop-Stop
Yes, I have just established he is currently producing top-5ish numbers. It wasn’t that hard. And I can also, and quite easily, make the case that Carlos Gomez is one of the most improved players from last year. Check this out. Carlos Gomez is one of the most improved players from the 2012 season. See? Easy peasy. And, if you are curious, Evan Longoria and Jean Segura also pique my interest as ‘most improved’ as well, and may or may not be talked again in a future post. I have yet to decide! But, back to Gomez. We know several things. He has power. He has speed. He is doing very well. And his season does not end tomorrow. And while these statements are general concepts that are easy to grasp, we should specifically note that since the season does not end tomorrow, we should accept the fact that Carlos Gomez may not finish as a top-5ish fantasy producer.
Now, it’s easy to look at his BABIP of .439 and say ‘well, that’s totally not going to last’. It’s so easy, I just did it right now. Feel free to do the same. And while I would tend to agree that a BABIP of .439 is unsustainable, it’s not crazy to say that it could be inflated for a quite a long time, especially for a player who has a good amount of speed. While we should regress to his career number of .312, that doesn’t mean the real-world luck dragon will listen. Remember, this stat can wildly fluctuate from year to year and requires a large sample to stabilize.
Instead of depending on BABIP to support the case for future regression, I’d rather combine that information with the fact that Gomez has a K% of 20.4 and a BB% of 4.2. Last year he had a K% of 21.7 and a BB% of 4.4. For his career, his BB% is at 5.0 and his K% is at 22.2. See what I’m getting at here? I’m assuming you said yes, so we’ll just agree that in terms of his discipline and approach, nothing at all has changed. This isn’t necessarily an end-of-the-world discovery, but being a hitter that is hitting well while at the same time hitting like he always has, does not compute. Something has to change, and that one something that will change is the fact he is hitting well.
In redraft leagues, I would actually hold for the rest of year. Yes, Gomez will regress, I am almost certain of that. But based on where you drafted him, it’s not like he’ll go to waste during said regression period. You got him as a fourth or fifth outfielder that would maybe hit 10+ homeruns and get 25+ stolen bases. Nothing has really changed that dynamic, and with the stats he’s already banked, barring injury, Gomez will most certainly eclipse those totals. ROS, I am projecting 47/13/39/.273/24. He will not hit .350+ for the rest of the year, that is something I’m almost certain of as well. However, even if he matches my projections, that’s still around a .300 BA, which would be a career high and a previous weak point in his game. And while there is a very strong chance he will regress, baseball is a funny game. His play might sustain for quite a while longer. So unless you get overwhelmed with an offer, or have a greater need elsewhere, hold on.
In keeper leagues, I want you to take what I said above with redraft leagues, and do the exact opposite. While I accept the fact that Gomez might sustain some of what he’s been doing, I cannot say the same on a long-term basis. If there was ever a time to sell, the time is now, as Gomez’s value is most likely at the highest point it ever will be. And while you will most likely have to reduce the price to a certain extent because most owners might see the signs of regression, even with a cursory glance, you are much better off selling now. We are seeing his peak year in action, and while you may not get elite value, the return will certainly be better than if he’s hitting .240 with a 10/15, which is certainly possible on a year to year basis with a player who only walks four percent of the time and is BABIP dependent.
And let’s remember, he’s not getting any younger. Yes, I will admit, 27 is not old in context. Even though I am 30 and I feel old. Then again, I am not a professional athlete. And I like to complain a lot. But there is plenty of evidence suggesting that power and speed are the first skills to peak and then degrade. So what Carlos Gomez is doing this year will more than likely not happen next year and then the year thereafter. A baseline of 65/15/75/.240/25 for the next two seasons seems reasonable, which is still very useful, but a possible outlier result will most likely land at the under, not the over of that baseline. Which is basically Carlos Gomez circa 2011. Which is basically a bunch of suck.
Yes, Carlos Gomez is having a wonderful year. So enjoy it. Savor it. Love it.
But remember, nothing lasts forever.