If you asked most MLB fans and pundits prior to the 2013 campaign, or read one of the many articles predicting “Rookie of the Year” candidates, chances are none of them even mentioned Yan Gomes. Not as a “dark horse pick” or even to troll the masses. Of course, and understandably, most experts pointed to blue chip prospects like Jose Fernandez, Wil Myers, or Shelby Miller, among others. If you called some of these names as ROTY possibilities, then congrats, because they, alongside men like Yasiel Puig and Chris Archer, are all in the conversation for their respective leagues.
Sure, there are some surprise candidates like J.B. Shuck and Jose Iglesias, but if you had told Blue Jays fans last year that Gomes would do what he has for Cleveland, insults and expletives would have surely flown. Oh, just as a refresher, Gomes and Mike Aviles were traded from Toronto to the Indians for Esmil Rogers. The right hander has gone 3-7 for the Jays in 2013, and has an ERA of 5.02. J.P. Arencibia, who has caught most of Toronto’s games this year, has yes, hit 19 home runs, but has a batting average of .212, on OBP of .248 and according to Fangraphs, a wins above replacement score (WAR) of zero…
So, with all this in mind, lets take a look at what the Brazilian Gomes has done in 2013. As of August 22nd, Gomes is hitting an impressive .297, has an OBP of .348 and an OPS of .846. The 26 year-old catcher (who can also play first base) has hit 8 homeruns and has driven in 28 runs. Now granted, Gomes has only played in 58 games and has just 192 at bats, but still, it’s been quite the year for him so far. It’s also worth noting that Myers only has 205 ABs thus far, and Puig has 270.
If we look at WAR and WARP (with Baseball Prospectus), Gomes is right up there in terms of rookies. According to Fangraphs, Gomes has put up a WAR of 2.6; the only positional player and rookie ahead of him is Puig at 2.8. Baseball Prospectus, however, has Gomes at a WARP of 1.95 to place him fifth amongst all rookies including pitchers. Mr. Puig leads the way with a score of 3.06. This reflects the fact that Gomes is pretty good with the bat as well as the glove.
So, none of this is to say that Gomes should be the A.L. Rookie of the Year, or that by year’s end he’ll be a finalist. But still, you know the Cleveland front office starts grinning from ear-to-ear when it hears the name Yan Gomes.