Gomez was the Tigers fourth round selection in the 2009 draft out of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. His selection in the fourth round was on the upper bounds of where he was projected to be picked, and despite some early speculation to the contrary, Gomez signed quickly and reported to the Gulf Coast League Tigers.
Making his professional debut in the rookie-level GCL, Gomez saw action in 45 games, with 34 of those appearances coming at shortstop. In 170 at-bats, Gomez posted a very uninspiring .190/.233/.216 line with four doubles and 12 RBI.
The Tigers invited Gomez to the 2009 Fall Instructional League in Lakeland for additional work and development, and reports out of camp were positive on his hard work and progress adjusting to the pro game.
Gomez is a much better hitter from the left side of the plate, hitting right-handers much better, and most scouts believe he would be better off leaving switch hitting in the dust, and focusing on becoming purely a left-handed hitter.
Gomez has solid contact ability with average bat control and some ability to recognize pitches. He lacks present power in his slender frame, and many scouts fail to see power projection in his profile. He has only average bat speed, and until he adds strength, he is unlikely to see much progress.
Gomez is at least an average runner, and he flashes above-average speed at times. As he matures physically, Gomez should maintain his speed, and there is a chance he could gain a tick as he becomes stronger and more coordinated. Gomez lacks top notch instincts on the bases, but he has already made strides in this area, and he could steal 10-15 bases a year at his peak.
As a shortstop, there are few scouts that believe he will be able to remain at the position long term. He has a frame that is likely to fill out, and with only modest instincts at present, it appears more likely he will be headed to an outfield corner. His arm flashes above-average, and it could play just about anywhere in the outfield.
Gomez has baseball in his blood, as his cousin Alex Cintron has played professional ball for several years. Gomez is a more physical player than Cintron, and he possesses a higher ceiling as well.
His work ethic is outstanding, and most coaches and instructors indicated that he was open to instruction and showed an ability to quickly apply what he had learned. There is an enormous gap between what Gomez is today, and what he could become, and projecting his future development is a daunting task.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% R
Gomez missed the first parts of the Fall Instructional League with a minor wrist injury that put him on the shelf. Though the injury was in a soft cast early in camp, it was not considered serious, and he was back on the field without restriction in short order.
Given just how raw Gomez is, there is a strong likelihood that he could be back in the GCL for the 2010 season. It would take a miraculous developmental leap for him to avoid extended spring training in Lakeland.
Some scouts have indicated that they feel the Tigers should get on with things, and avoid further delaying the inevitable position switch that awaits Gomez. He is a strong enough athlete that he could take to the outfield with relative ease, and two scouts felt there was a slim chance he could handle center field if given enough developmental time.
Fans will have to be patient with Gomez, as his development will not come quickly, but there is a chance he could become a solid prospect in time.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.