Carlos Gomez is hot. So are the Milwaukee Brewers. There are many reasons why the Brewers have started off so quickly in 2014 but one of the biggest is Gomez.
It is not a coincidence that the Brewers are off to such a good start and so too is their center fielder. Gomez has been catalyst for a Brewer offense that has been among the best in baseball early on this season. Gomez found out he was going to be the Brew Crew’s new leadoff hitter just a couple of weeks before Milwaukee’s spring training ended, but he has been everything Brewers manager Ron Roenicke could have asked for.
Gomez thus far leads the Brewers with 19 hits, ten runs scored, four home runs plus a slugging percentage of .706 and OPS of 1.117. He is also second on the team in batting average at .373. There is not much Gomez is not doing at the moment for the National League Central leading Brewers.
This is Gomez’s first experience leading off as an everyday player. He led off one game for Milwaukee last year and also was the Minnesota Twins leadoff hitter for 90 games in 2008. During that sting he led all of baseball with 30 bunt hits but still only managed to hit .246 with a .281 on-base percentage.
That was a different time for Gomez though. He was just 22-years old and playing his first full season in the major leagues. His second season was even worse and the former hot-shot prospect was traded after the 2009 season to Milwaukee. The Brewers took a more patient approach with Gomez, platooning him for the next couple of seasons.
By 2012 Gomez played 137 games, hitting .260 with 19 home runs as he began to show the promise of what he could be again. What he could be was an all-star, which he achieved in 2013 as he hit .284 with 24 home runs and an OPS of .843 while earning a gold glove for his work in center field.
Now what Gomez is trying to do is become one of the best leadoff men in baseball, exactly what Roenicke had in mind when he moved him up in the order in March. Now the Brewers manager refers to him as a “scary” at-bat for opposing teams and pitchers. He’s been exactly that, providing speed and power at the top of the order, as he proved last week when he launched a first pitch leadoff home run at Miller Park off of Atlanta’s Alex Wood.
Gomez explains the transformation simply. “Back then I hit (.258) and I had no idea — I was just swinging,” Gomez explained. “Now I know what I’m doing.”
No kidding. Everyone else in the National League knows what he is doing as well. Tearing the cover off the ball, hitting the ball to all fields for average and power, as well as playing center field with more confidence than anyone in baseball right now.
The Milwaukee Brewers are hot. So is Carlos Gomez. Which is just what Ron Roenicke had in mind when he put Gomez at the top of the order.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sportswriter covering the Milwaukee Brewers