The Cleveland Indians were expected to be much improved for the 2013 MLB season, but knew that they would still have to deal with the loaded Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. The prevailing belief coming into the year and through the very early stages of the season was that the Tigers would come out of the division rather handily.
Though the season is still quite young, the Indians aren’t buying into that as they currently hold a 2.5-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central. Cleveland has been on fire lately, winning their last five games and eight of their last 10 outings. By most measures, the Indians are the hottest team in baseball, which was never more evident than their extra innings victory on Monday afternoon on the shoulders of little-known Yan Gomes.
The 25-year-old Gomes had himself a game as the team’s catcher on Monday with Carlos Santana assuming the DH duties. Despite being slated to hit ninth in Cleveland’s lineup, Gomes had a monster game, going 3-5 from the plate with four RBIs and two home runs, including the walk-off three-run dinger that he slugged in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Monday was only Gomes’ 17th appearance for the Indians this season and his 60th game in his young career. Though it’s a limited sample-size, Gomes has looked solid in his appearances. He’s hitting .302 with a .951 OPS and, including Monday’s game, has four homers, two triples, two doubles and nine RBIs. Considering how little he has seen action, those are relatively solid numbers.
Gomes has his faults and seems to be just getting a bit hot right now. He has just a .286 BABIP and has only walked once in 55 plate appearances while striking out eight times over that period. He’s also playing behind Santana at the catcher position and is much less proven and consistent than Santana. However, with productive catchers being a rarity in the big leagues these days, Gomes is a young player that you should definitely keep an eye on. At the very least, he deserves his moment in the spotlight for Monday’s performance.