Gomes Flourishing in Cincy

July 28, 2009 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Jonny Gomes, always a fan favorite in Tampa Bay due to his energy and swagger, was non-tendered by the Rays in the offseason when they decided they had no room for him on their club. The Cincinnati Reds decided to give Gomes a chance and signed him to a minor-league contract.

After spending the entire month of April and most of May in the minors, Gomes got the call to the majors and hasn’t looked back since.

Gomes has hit .294/.384/.605 with a wOBA of .421, an OPS+ of 153, and 10 homers in 119 at-bats (138 plate appearances). Yeah yeah, it might not be the biggest sample size in the world, but, that stat line can’t be ignored.

Gomes has always had success against lefties (.274/.373/.522 vs .223/.313/.440) but he’s holding his own against righties this year, hitting .258/.365/.597 in 62 at-bats with 6 of his 10 homers.

Gomes has always had big power and a patient eye, but what he has always struggled with contact and playing time. With the Reds 7.5 games back and 8 games under .500, a horrible manager, and Willy Taveras still batting leadoff, they don’t have a chance at contending this season and Gomes is getting at-bats.

Gomes, still just 28, may be one of those guys that is a late-bloomer; a Russell Branyan type from the right-side of the plate. And while these stats may be a bit over his head (his HR/FB rate is 23.3% and not sustainable) let’s hope the Reds give him a legit shot at keeping the leftfield job this year and into next season and that we don’t have to wait unitl he’s 33 to get a full-time shot like Branyan had to. An outfield of Gomes-Drew StubbsJay Bruce in 2010 with Chris Dickerson as a fourth outfielder sounds pretty good to me.

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