Carlos Gomez stirred up the Mets minor league rosters this season by receiving promotion from low-A Hagerstown directly to double-A, a feat not often accomplished. Now the leadoff hitter is pressing to get into his stride in his first month as a B-Met.
"I feel pressure since I jumped St. Lucie, some people want me to hit and steal bases, but it's too much pressure and I'm struggling," said
the young centerfielder.
Gomez is batting only .212 to this point of the season, and has struck out 28 times in his first 104 at-bats, a discouraging number from the #1
spot, particularly from a lightning quick player capable of making hits out of bunts and ground balls. But Gomez's talent has his coaches
optimistic about him breaking out of his slump.
"I think he can make the adjustment up here," said Binghamton manager Juan Samuel. "It's just a matter of time with him knowing the league and
what pitchers are trying to do with him."
As the youngest player on the Binghamton roster, Gomez's age will work to his advantage, since he still has time to refine his game, even if it
takes a year or two.
"You don't know whether he's going to flourish this year or the year after," said John Valentin, Binghamton's hitting coach. Valentin isn't
ready to jump to any conclusions about whether or not Gomez's mechanics need adjusting.
"You have to wait for the whole season to actually go by before you really know what adjustments you have to make," he said.
It's unclear if any adjustments will have to be made to Gomez's swing at all, since he has shown in the past that he can hit for decent average and flash power.
He hit .275 with eight home runs last season with Hagerstown. But it's Gomez's raw speed that has widened the eyes of Mets brass, including GM Omar Minaya who once called him the fastest player in the organization.
At only age 19, he had amassed 94 stolen bases in 235 minor league games, with 64 of them coming during last season at Hagerstown. His flaw, however, seems to be his propensity to get caught stealing.
Despite such blazing speed (despite swiping 64 bags in ‘05, he was still thrown out 24 times). But this is a problem that can be fixed with
enough experience, which Gomez will have plenty of time to accumulate.
"It's learning when he can steal, and when he can not steal," said Valentin. "Guys who can steal a base feel like they can steal a base whenever they feel like it. But when you go to another level, and they know that you're a base stealer, they're going to pay extra attention to you and that's what's happening here."
From what we've seen of Carlos Gomez in his young career, it's certain that he brings more than just his bat and his legs to the table when it comes to sizing up Mets prospects. He combines excellent range in centerfield with the ability to make dazzling plays with the glove, and boasts one of the strongest arms in the Mets farm system.
"There's still a lot of room for improvement,"said Samuel, "and he's definitely got the tools there to do it."
Gomez Has Time On His Side
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