Fantasy Baseball 2014: The Rise of Carlos Gomez
One of the few players, along with Hunter Pence, who was in the discussion for most valuable player in fantasy baseball in 2013 was Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers. Last year, Gomez was a 14th round pick in most fantasy drafts, often being chosen after guys like Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard and Melky Cabrera. He rewarded fantasy owners to the tune of 80 runs, 73 RBI, 24 home runs, 40 steals and a .284 batting average. The only other guy last year to hit 20+ home runs and steal at least 40 bases was a guy named Mike Trout… needless to say, Gomez’s combination of power and speed was a weapon that most fantasy owners didn’t possess.
How much of his 2013 performance should we buy going forward? Where should fantasy owners really be looking to target the outfielder in 2014?
The biggest question when it comes to forecasting Gomez, is whether or not the power is real. Very simply, yes, I believe it is. Gomez’s ISO has climbed every year since 2008 and last year he set a career-high with a mark of .222. His home-run-to-fly-ball rate has also shown a similar increase over the last five years (last year he set a career-high in that as well at 16.4 percent) and after posting a batted ball distance of 267 feet in 2008, it has increased and stabilized itself at 289 feet over the last couple of years. Gomez has always been regarded as a speedy player and it looks as if he’s added some legitimate power into his repertoire.
So, that brings us back to the ultimate question: just how high should the Brewers center fielder be drafted?
I have Gomez projected to score 95 runs, knock in 74 RBI, mash 26 home runs, steal 47 bases and hit .264. I have him ranked as my fourth outfielder heading into 2014 (just ahead of Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Adam Jones) and I have him ranked ninth among all batters (ahead of Adrian Beltre, Troy Tulowitzki and Joey Votto).
I believe Gomez is a guy you should seriously be considering in the late first round-early second round in a standard, 10-team league; and I believe there’s a chance he could be had even later than that, providing owners a tremendous, early round value.