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Carlos Gomez: A positive outcome for Matt Dominguez?

While pondering the conundrum of Matty D's defensive prowess and lack of plate discipine, I gandered at the best position player in the majors this year.


It seems like there may be a misprint. Carlos Gomez? The guy who has been traded twice in his career is the bbWAR leader at this point in the season?

I hadn't realized how good Carlos Gomez has been this season until reading that Jonah Keri piece on the Brewers I linked to yesterday. Keri lauded the Brewers for taking a patient approach with Gomez and how that approach payed off this season as he's become one of the best center fielders in the game.

Thus far, Gomez has hit .311/.350/.562 with 13 home runs, 17 steals and 10.9 Fielding Runs. He's easily the Brewers All-Star representative and could be the best all-around center fielder in the National League. But, he always wasn't that player. In quite a few seasons, Gomez was barely above replacement level with a walk rate below five per nine innings.

In his first full season in the majors with the Twins, Gomez hit .258/.296/.360 with 33 steals and seven home runs. He also posted great defensive numbers that offset his 4.1 percent walk rate and a 23 percent strikeout rate. Sound familiar?

Gomez did that as a 22-year old and put up similar numbers in 2009 with the Twins before getting dealt to Milwaukee as part of the J.J. Hardy deal. But, Gomez wasn't able to top 500 plate appearances in any of his first three seasons with the Brew Crew while having some up-and-down defensive numbers.

Finally, as a 27-year old, he's having a breakout season. He put together the power he showed last season with the defense and speed numbers he's shown before now. He's also got an insanely high .370 batting average on balls in play, which should fall. Gomez may not hit .300 this season, but the rest of his game should make him very valuable to the Brewers.

As clack has pointed out a couple of times now (even though the comp doesn't ever stick in my head), Dominguez may be destined to be Pedro Feliz, with 20-homer power and terrible on-base percentages. But, considering his age, he could improve enough in some areas to become Carlos Gomez down the road.

That's why I'm rethinking Dominguez' place in the 2015 lineup. I'm worried about the walk rate, but with his age, Dominguez may get a couple more seasons before someone else takes his job.