RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: February 10, 1988
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2005 (Indians)
How Acquired: Trade from Indians (for Quincy Latimore)
Agent: Morgan Advisory Group
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Gomez made Baseball America’s list of Cleveland’s top 30 prospects only once, after the 2009 season. This is despite the fact that Cleveland has had a relatively weak system most years recently. He throws a sinker that averages 90 mph and tops out around 93, along with a slider and change. He lacks an out pitch, as shown by low to extremely low K rates throughout his career. He’s had high groundball rates, averaging 49.2% in his three partial major league seasons, but in spite of that he’s had a moderately high gopher ball rate for most of his career, majors and minors. He got extended opportunities for the pitching-strapped Indians in 2010-12, with results that were mediocre at best. He’s had only a mild platoon split in the majors and was helped by Progressive Field, which played as a pitcher’s park from 2010-12. Opponents posted a .762 OPS against him at home and .864 on the road. The Pirates picked him up for Quincy Latimore after Cleveland designated him for assignment.
Gomez made nine starts in rookie ball and also made the only two relief appearances of his minor league career through 2012. He pitched very well, but with a low K rate, which has been typical for him.
The Indians moved Gomez up to full season ball and he made 27 starts. He continued to put up a good walk rate and a low K rate, but got hit a lot harder, including 19 HRs. Considering that he was making the jump to low A at age 19, though, it wasn’t a bad showing.
Gomez had largely the same season in high A as in 2007, although he did improve his K rate.
A+: 2-2-0, 2.62 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 24.0 IP, 1.9 BB/9, 5.6 K/9
Gomez had his best season, which included a nine-inning perfect game and got him ranked #21 on the Indians’ prospect list. He moved up to AA after four strong starts in high A and pitched very well at the higher level, with a career-high K rate.
Gomez didn’t adjust nearly as well to AAA, as he got hit hard and allowed 16 HRs. His K rate dropped back to below average. The Indians called him up in mid-July and again at the beginning of August, and he made 11 starts in the majors. He got hit hard there, with opponents batting .307 against him.
Gomez made 21 starts in AAA and ten, plus one relief appearance, in the majors. He was called up briefly to fill in several times, then for good at the end of August. His performance was much better in AAA, including a HR rate that was half what it was in 2010. In the majors, he fared about the same as the previous year, with a very low K rate.
Gomez opened the season in the Indians’ rotation, but after pitching well initially, he struggled to a 5.18 ERA through 13 starts and one relief appearance. He didn’t pitch as well as the previous year in AAA. Cleveland brought him back up in late August and he made four more starts and two relief appearances, allowing 18 earned runs in just 17.2 IP. He actually improved in some areas over his previous major league stints, but was hurt by 15 gopher balls. The Indians designated him for assignment after the season.
Gomez made the Pirates’ roster as a long reliever and spent the season in the majors, except for missing most of June with forearm inflammation. He had a surprising season, posting career bests by a wide margin in ERA and WHIP. He allso increased his K rate, although it remained very low. The combination of a career-high 55.4% groundball rate and the Pirates’ good defense (compared to the bad ones Gomez pitched in front of in Cleveland) and their dramatically increased use of shifts probably helped Gomez a great deal. Just the same, Gomez’ career-low batting average on balls in play of .247 probably isn’t sustainable. The biggest surprise of Gomez’ season was the eight starts he made when injuries, and the failures of James McDonald and Jonathan Sanchez, left the Pirates with openings. The Pirates won all eight of his starts and he posted a 2.80 ERA in them, as opposed to his ERA of 3.77 when relieving. Gomez had no platoon split, but unlike many of the team’s other pitchers, pitched much better on the road, with a 2.00 ERA compared to 5.05 at home. Gomez’ velocity was better out of the bullpen, as he sat at 91-92 in relief.
Gomez spent the entire year in the Pirates’ bullpen after winning the last spot from Vin Mazzaro. Not surprisingly, the unrealistic BABIP didn’t hold, jumping from .247 to .318. The result was that opponents went from a 223/292/325 line against him to 292/356/454. He seemingly nibbled a lot more, as he threw only 44.3% of his pitches for strikes, easily a career low and well below average for the major leagues. Somehow, though, his ERA actually dropped. The Pirates evidently were looking more at the peripherals than the ERA, though, as Gomez’ innings total dropped from 39.2 innings in the first three months to 22.1 in the last three, including only 3.1 in September. Jared Hughes’ strong season probably played a role in Gomez’ reduced usage. Gomez was not activated for the wild card game.
Gomez will be eligible for arbitration for the first time in the off-season and, especially given his drastically reduced usage late in the season, it’s very hard to see the Pirates paying him an arbitration salary. With Hughes coming off a good season, it’s also hard to see a role for Gomez, and they have Brandon Cumpton and Casey Sadler to provide additional middle relief depth. During 2014, they were hurt at times by the fact that their bullpen had too many long men and not enough legitimate late-inning relievers, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to carry both Hughes and Gomez. They could, however, try to negotiate a 2015 contract at a salary below what he’d get in arbitration.
UPDATE: The Pirates designated Gomez for assignment when they acquired Justin Sellers and reinstated Charlie Morton from the 60-day disabled list in October. If he clears waivers he’ll most likely become a free agent.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2006
MLB Debut: 7/18/2010
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2018
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/09
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2010, 2011, 2012)
MLB Service Time: 2.063
|April 4, 2005: Signed by the Cleveland Indians as an international free agent.
November 20, 2009: Contract purchased by the Cleveland Indians.
January 2, 2013: Designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians.
January 9, 2013: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Quincy Latimore.