Monday, March 21, 2005

Jonny Gomes Report

Jonny Gomes, OF, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Drafted 529th Overall (18th Rd), 2001 Draft, Santa Rosa Junior College
Bats R/Throws R
24 YO, 6'1", 205 lbs

Gomes has the bad fortune to be in the organization least likely to ever give him a real chance. He's a three true outcomes, low batting average slugger in an organization that is very focused on batting average. He's also a poor defensive outfielder in an organization that values defense more than just about anybody. They don't like Gomes all that much.

2004 Durham: .256/.368/.531, 27 2B, 26 HR, 51 BB, 136 K, 22 HBP, 390 AB
mL Career: .266/.394/.527, 92 2B, 16 3B, 89 HR, 230 BB, 535 K, 71 HBP, 1503 AB

So he's never going to hit .300. Heck, he probably won't hit .280. And given 500 at bats, he'd make Adam Dunn's new strikeout record a distant memory. But he'll draw a bunch of walks and he'll hit home runs. He's a much better place to throw playing time than Danny Bautista or Alex Sanchez. I'd also prefer Gomes over Joey Gathright, though a player like Gathright would be useful acting as the slugger's legs.

Nevertheless, the Rays sent Gomes to their minor league camp in favor of Bautista, who retired this weekend. The Rays, lacking the good sense to identify Alex Sanchez for the dreadful player he is, signed the wayward Tiger to be their right fielder. It's just an awful idea on so many levels and there are so many alternatives that would be much more likely to end well.

As to Gomes himself, he's a hard player to project because of the extreme skill set he's carrying around. If you expand his Durham numbers out to 500 at bats, he hits 33 home runs with 65 walks, and 175 strikeouts. That would make him a strikeout artist of the first order. Think Russ Branyan. He'd have to draw a lot of walks to keep his on base percentage acceptable because he'd be doing really well to hit .250. I think some of the projections bouncing around stathead circles are more than a little generous. However, he deserves a shot. He deserves a season in the show. The first team to do so might just find themselves with a decent #4 hitter. Then again, they might end up with Jack Cust. We'll never know until he gets that shot.

ETA: 2005
4 Stars

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