Sep 26, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes (10) hits a single in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Yan Gomes: Cleveland Indians 2014 Player Profile

Yan Gomes Out to Prove He isn’t a One Hit Wonder

Basic Information:

  • DOB: 7/19/1987
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • Height/Weight: 6’2″/215 lbs.
  • Position: Catcher
  • Contract: 1 year, $513,000. Arbitration eligible in 2016. Free agent in 2019.

Yan Gomes Career Stats:

2012 24 TOR AL 43 111 98 9 20 4 0 4 13 6 32 .204 .264 .367 .631 70
2013 25 CLE AL 88 322 293 45 86 18 2 11 38 18 67 .294 .345 .481 .826 133
2 Yrs 131 433 391 54 106 22 2 15 51 24 99 .271 .324 .453 .777 117
162 Game Avg. 162 535 484 67 131 27 2 19 63 30 122 .271 .324 .453 .777 117

 How Did We Get Here?

What a difference a year makes. In March of 2013, Yan Gomes wasn’t even on anyone’s radar. In 2014, he’s the starting catcher and a focal point of the Tribe’s offensive attack. He’s also, quite possibly, one of the finest defensive catchers in all of baseball. Not too bad for a player who was considered a throw-in in a trade involving a utility infielder and an inconsistent relief pitcher.

But, here we are. Funny how things work out.

Yan Gomes was acquired by the Indians in the trade of Esmil Rogers for Mike Aviles. He did the greater majority of catching while Carlos Santana played in the WBC and gave the Indians staff a great chance to see him play. Something he did must have stuck with them, because following an injury to Lou Marson in the second game of the season, Gomes was promoted to Cleveland. He performed well, but was eventually sent back down when Marson attempted to return. It didn’t last long. Marson went on the 60-day DL and Gomes was recalled, this time for good.

As the season wore on and Gomes earned more and more responsibility, it became that much more apparent that the Indians had something special in the young Brazilian. His defense was a significant upgrade over Carlos Santana, particularly when it came to throwing out would be base stealers. Offensively, Gomes had a break out year with a .294/.345/.481 slash line in 293 at bats. By the time the season had come to a close, it was Gomes, not Santana, who was doing the majority of the catching and would set the stage for one of the biggest decisions in recent Indians memory.

Where are We Headed?

Thanks to his breakout performance in 2013, Yan Gomes earned the right to be considered for the role of starting catcher in 2014. That’s just what happened when Terry Francona announced the decision at this year’s Tribe Fest. Yan Gomes would be the Indians starting catcher, thus relegating incumbent catcher Carlos Santana into a super utility role. That is until Santana made the decision to play third base, a decision the Indians supported wholeheartedly.

What this means for Gomes, though, is that he has officially arrived on the Major League scene. He’s no longer a nice story with an obligatory mention that he’s the first Brazilian to play Major League Baseball. He’s a starter on a legit title contender (we hope). Even that isn’t doing Gomes justice. He’s not just a starter. The Indians expect him to be an offensive and defensive force and the type of difference maker that can finally give them an edge over the Tigers.

But what about all of the wild-eyed projection systems out there? Do they hold Yan Gomes in the same regard? Do they think that he is headed for a repeat of 2013’s success? Well, let’s find out. Click to enlarge.

Yan Gomes

Projections from fangraphs

As you can see, the projection systems predict that Gomes will experience a bit of a drop off in 2014. His stats will still play well for the catcher position, but it’s clear that they feel as if Gomes’ 2013 production will be hard to duplicate. However, thanks to his defensive prowess, they feel as though Gomes can still be a 3 to 4 win above replacement type player.

Now before you all jump off the deep end about how Gomes is great and these projections are way off base, take a second to think about this logically. Gomes’ BAbip in 2013 was an outrageous .342. League average is around .300, meaning that he should experience a significant decline in his average and OBP. Also, consider the fact that pitchers will have a book in Gomes heading into 2014. That’s something they didn’t have in 2013 since he was virtually an unknown commodity. Through the process of scouting reports, there should be a regression.

However, that doesn’t mean Yan Gomes should fall off a cliff. An average somewhere between .250 and .275 to go along with an OBO around .320 seems reasonable. In terms of counting stats, expect somewhere around 15 homers and 70RBI.

Gomes’ ultimate value, though, will be derived from his defense. No matter how much his offensive production may or may not falter, his defense should remain top-notch. He is so much better a catcher than Carlos Santana that there should be a noticeable difference from what we have seen in recent years, especially when it comes to throwing runners out. It’s all just part of being the Yanimal.

Tags: Cleveland Indians Yan Gomes

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