Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes is a career .244 hitter. He’s batting .239 this year. He’s been a sub-par defensive OF his entire career. Not much has changed out there in left field this year. He doesn’t steal bags, score from first on doubles, or go first to third on singles to right field. He never has, and he never will.
So why is he the most important player on the Red Sox team this year?
Gomes has changed the culture in Boston. He’s charismatic, hard-working, and a lot of other positive adjectives. He’s an old-school player, and a polar opposite to some of the game’s softest players. He was something the Red Sox painfully needed after a 69-win season.
Gomes has been the epitome of leadership for the team all season. He’s started a beard-growing, superstitious epidemic in that clubhouse that everyone has bought into (those that can grow beards anyway). He’s emotional, passionate, and takes losses personally.
Gomes has hit a respectable 12 HRs and 47 RBIs while playing in 103 of the team’s 145 games so far this season. That’s reasonable production considering his opportunities. More importantly however, is when he’s produced those numbers. Need a three-run homer to put the game away? There’s Jonny. Need a clutch hit in the eighth inning? There’s Jonny. Need a walk-off HR? You guessed it — there’s Jonny.
Need some stats to back-up this information? Sure.
Gomes has a .450 on-base percentage in close and late situations this year. That’s fifth-best in the majors. He’s got the second-highest OBP as a pinch-hitter at .545, and he’s tied for the most home runs off the bench with four. With runners in scoring position and two outs, Gomes has a .560 OBP — fourth-best.
Jonny Gomes is clutch, and the Red Sox are a much better team with him in the dugout.