Scouting Yankee Prospect #14: Abel Gomez

The Yankees signed Abel Gomez on February 28th of 2002 and in his first two seasons on U.S. soil, the southpaw has showcased an explosive fastball with a raw physique and approach. With that being said, he is considered to be one of the top raw arms in the system. It's these reasons that he's our Yankee's prospect #14.

Vital Statistics
Name: Abel Gomez
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: November 29, 1984
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 155
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

It is not too often the Yankees do what they did with Abel Gomez in 2004. Perhaps it is true testament to how talented he may be. Gomez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in February of 2002 and made his way onto the United States scene in 2003. It quickly became apparent after he joined the Gulf Coast Yankees that season that he could be a truly special talent. However, incredibly raw and rail thin to the point of almost being unhealthy, the organization knew he was a project, but one that could have a huge reward when it was all said an done. Even as an 18 year old straight out of a far lesser quality of life in the Dominican Republic, hard throwing Abel made a major statement in his first professional season.

After an excellent season in 2003, in which Gomez dominated by striking out over ten batters per nine innings pitched, no one seemed to notice where Abel was headed until he showed up on the Battle Creek Yankees roster. It was a bold move, no doubt about it, considering how raw he appeared to be. Not to mention, there were doubts as to whether his body was up to the task of full season ball just yet. But, he soon proved he was more than up to the task. He did have his ups and downs in 2004, but overall, the organization had to be thrilled with the amount of innings he was able to pitch effectively despite it being only his first full season. But, to play it safe, they sat him out of mini-camp in order for him to rest up. Needless to say, this hard throwing southpaw opened a lot of eyes as the number two starter for Battle creek in 2004. His manager, Bill Mosiello had nothing but praise for him in his chat with "As far as ceiling, he could be the real deal," the Battle Creek skipper told "Maybe, he could be a left handed Pedro Martinez type. His arm motion is so smooth and fluent. He utilizes his strong arm even though he doesn't have a big body. Also, he probably weighs no more than 145 pounds and doesn't look like he used to eat too good. Once we get him filled out, he could be a real special kid. Not to mention, he is left handed."

Out of nowhere he seemed to come but Abel Gomez seems like he is for real. And, the Yankees are not the only ones noticing his progress. In fact, he was one of the prospects that the Diamondbacks were asking for in one of the proposed Randy Johnson deals. Luckily, he was able to avoid being dealt for the time being. But, it just goes to show you, the baseball world is very aware of this young man. If he can solve his troubles with command of his fastball, he could quickly become an elite pitching prospect. But, as his Battle Creek pitching coach, Steve Renko puts it, "You just never know what you are going to get from him." What the Yankees get from him in 2005 could be what propels him to the next level of prospect status.










Battle Creek








GCL Yankees







Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup

Fastball. This is where the live arm of Abel Gomez comes into play. It is also the reason that Abel Gomez is the best and most intriguing lefty pitching prospect in the Yankee system. His fastball is consistently above 90 MPH despite his slight and shorter frame. The organization is very excited with his ability to throw around 92-93 MPH, sometimes cranking it up to 94 MPH. Even at his size and age, Gomez is and projects to be a power lefty pitcher. Not to mention, his fastball offers some good, late life that makes hitters look bad. In this respect, he is quite similar to fellow pitching prospect, Eric Abreu. He can make hitters look foolish just with the natural deception of his fastball and the good movement he produces. But, the only thing holding him back at this point is his lack of command with his fastball. He has displayed improvement in this department over the past calendar year but it still remains his largest glaring weakness. That will be the difference maker between him being average and him being dominant. Also, Gomez is a prime example of a fluent arm motion and effortless arm speed. He needs it to produce the plus velocity he has despite his small frame.

Other Pitches. Here's the deal with Gomez. He doesn't have tremendous secondary stuff. However, he actually has far better command of his off speed stuff than he does with his fastball. Right now, Abel has a solid breaking ball that was, at times, slightly above average in 2004. When it was on, Gomez became nearly unhittable. If he can maintain his breaking ball and possibly fine tune it into an above average pitch, it is obviously going to make him all the more dangerous. What the organization really marvels at though is Abel's rare ability to change speeds extremely well. Despite being a power arm, he has an advanced feel for his changeup. To be honest, he has far more control of these two pitches than he does with his fastball. When he has all three going at once, he can look like a totally dominating starting pitcher. His off speed pitches will remain solid or better so there is no need for concern here.

Pitching. He's got the power but can he harness the control? That is the big question with hard throwing lefty, Abel Gomez. He has an outstanding heater but, at times, it seems like he can't locate it at all. However, most scouts seem to believe this is a problem that he can grow out of with age and experience. If that is so, he is going to be a tough one to beat. He has good command of his secondary stuff even though it isn't dominating at this point. He produces tremendous arm speed with a fluid, effortless motion. Gomez will also have to put some more bulk onto his frame as well. That should help his velocity go up even a little more. He is already able to produce excellent velocity even though he is listed at a generous 6 feet tall.

Projection. It is said so often about young pitchers like Abel Gomez so it may begin to get played out. But, his success is going to hinge on the command of his fastball. He has shown improvement over the past year so there is progress being made. If he can develop more consistency with his above average heater, he profiles as a potential number two starter. It is too early to call him an ace type of pitcher because of his small frame. We'll have to wait and see how his 155 pound body holds up health wise before making such a statement. But, he does have the raw ability to be an above average big leaguer starting pitcher.

ETA. 2008. Usually, the Yankees like to move players in Abel's situation more cautiously but it doesn't appear that they are taking that path with this southpaw. At the age of 20, Gomez will be young for High A ball in 2005. Then, in 2006, he should have a ticket to AA Trenton. Barring any setbacks, he should be ready for AAA in 2007. After that, he could get a shot to break in as a 23 year old in 2008.

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