Yan Gomes – Catcher Extraordinaire

Even before Corey Kluber‘s masterful Sunday afternoon start, there was something to his relationship with Yan Gomes in the 2013 season. In fact, most of Cleveland’s starters are thriving with the slugging, strong-armed Brazilian behind the dish:

Kluber:

Split G IP ER ERA PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB
Yan Gomes 5 27.0 7 2.33 106 100 9 22 7 0 2 0 0 5 24 4.80 .220 .264 .350 .614 35
Carlos Santana 6 30.1 19 5.64 128 119 19 36 9 0 5 2 2 7 33 4.71 .303 .346 .504 .851 60
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/16/2013.

Justin Masterson:

Split G IP ER ERA PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB
Yan Gomes 3 22.0 12 4.91 93 84 11 22 3 0 3 2 1 6 17 2.83 .262 .315 .405 .720 34
Carlos Santana 12 80.1 28 3.14 331 287 26 58 7 1 5 2 0 35 85 2.43 .202 .303 .286 .589 82
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/16/2013.

Zach McAllister:

Split G IP ER ERA PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB
Yan Gomes 6 36.2 12 2.95 155 141 15 36 5 1 3 1 1 12 21 1.75 .255 .316 .369 .685 52
Lou Marson 1 5.2 3 4.76 26 21 3 5 0 0 1 1 0 5 4 0.80 .238 .385 .381 .766 8
Carlos Santana 4 23.1 10 3.86 103 96 12 27 8 1 3 4 0 5 20 4.00 .281 .330 .479 .809 46
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/16/2013.

Ubaldo Jimenez:

Split G IP ER ERA PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB
Yan Gomes 2 9.0 10 10.00 42 35 9 11 4 1 1 1 0 4 7 1.75 .314 .381 .571 .952 20
Carlos Santana 11 58.2 26 3.99 246 213 22 48 8 0 9 5 1 30 60 2.00 .225 .317 .390 .707 83
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/16/2013.

Scott Kazmir:

Split G IP ER ERA PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB
Yan Gomes 5 27.0 13 4.33 120 111 11 33 9 0 2 1 0 9 28 3.11 .297 .350 .432 .782 48
Carlos Santana 6 28.0 23 7.39 130 114 23 35 9 0 10 1 0 14 27 1.93 .307 .392 .649 1.041 74
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/16/2013.

The sample size on Gomes remains small, just 29 games and only 28 of those at catcher, but he is leading the American League with his 53 percent caught stealing percentage (8 of 15 caught), and his offensive production has been much more than the Indians could have expected. However, outside of his arm, has Gomes really been much better behind the plate?

Here a comparison between the numbers the five starters (listed above) have posted with Gomes and Santana behind the plate:
Based on what you see above, Santana hasn’t really been any worse behind the plate than Gomes, as far as pitcher production is concerned, but it is pretty clear which starters should be working with Santana and which starters should be working with Gomes: Kluber and McAllister should be with Gomes and Masterson and Jimenez should be with Santana…while it appears that Scott Kazmir shouldn’t be working with anyone, in a starting role, at least.

With strengths and weaknesses present in his defensive game, what should we all think of Yan Gomes with the bat? Prior to Sunday, this was his line:

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 25 CLE AL 29 101 96 17 26 4 2 6 17 0 0 3 19 .271 .287 .542 .829 52
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/16/2013.

Gomes is not walking, that is obvious, but his ability to productively drive the ball is also apparent with 12 extra-base hits in 101 plate appearances (going into Sunday). While his most productive season in the minors was the 2012 season in Las Vegas, which appears to be the size of a Williamsport field, even a small sample size, as in his production in Cleveland, is enticing for Tribe fans. The issue with Gomes is that he may continue to thrive in a part-time role, but overuse of Gomes could lead to pitchers adjusting to Gomes’ inability to walk.

The issue with thinking that Gomes is going to eventually fail is that his ability to use the bat is real, as evidenced by his 86.2 percent contact rate on all pitches and 92.7 percent contact rate on pitches inside the strike zone. He isn’t going to fail.

If Terry Francona and company notice the success that Santana and Gomes have had with the pitchers in the rotation, it will allow the club to, potentially, find success within their current group of starting pitchers. More so, however, is that Gomes will make Lou Marson an afterthought, once again, as the Indians move on with one of the more potent catching tandems in all of baseball.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Topics: Corey Kluber, Justin Masterson, Scott Kazmir, Terry Francona, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yan Gomes, Zach McAllister

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