Scouting Yankees Prospect #29: Abel Gomez

The Yankees signed Abel Gomez in 2002 out of the Dominican Republic. Blessed with a lot of potential and good raw stuff, Gomez was seemingly well on his way to becoming a top-notch pitching prospect with the Yankees. However, a disastrous 2005 campaign combined with questions about his desire have caused him to fall in the rankings. Ranking #29 among the Top 50 Yankees' Prospects, here's a scouting report on Abel Gomez.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Abel Gomez
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: November 29, 1984
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 170
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Not many pitching prospects had garnered the attention Abel Gomez received at the lower minor league levels. Gomez had dominated the rookie levels, holding opposing batters to a batting average below .155, before breaking out with a solid 2004 campaign with the Battle Creek Yankees in the Midwest League.

Averaging better than ten strikeouts per nine innings in his career entering the 2005 season with the Tampa Yankees, Gomez seemed to have tapped the potential many scouts believed he had.

"Well from what I've seen, he has that fastball that we've heard about," a National League scout said of Gomez back in the beginning of July. "When you have a lefthander with a live fastball and some other pitches to work with, you have to take notice. And, Gomez is one of those guys."

Just a week after impressing that National League scout, Abel Gomez was demoted to Charleston to work on his control issues. From there, his season spiraled out of control and Gomez seemingly got worse with every passing start.

After not allowing an ERA any higher than 3.79 at any minor league stop in his career, Gomez racked up a 12.79 ERA in the South Atlantic League before getting demoted once again to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and posting a 6.28 ERA in four games with the GCL Yankees.

"From what I've been told, he changed his arm angle," Yankees' Minor League Pitching Coordinator Nardi Contreras told PinstripesPlus.com. "He shortened it like Keith Foulke. "His curveball was loopy and he might have done some things on his own."

Gomez, who had always been considered very talented but also quite raw, had troubles with his mechanics all season long, aiding to his already existing control issues. But while the mechanics and command problems plagued him in 2005, it was Gomez' lack of enthusiasm on the mound and inner desire to improve that baffled many in the organization.

"I don't think he played winter ball this year even though he had an opportunity to do so," Contreras revealed. "I honestly don't know where he's been. The big question with him is, does he want it? We'll soon find out."

Not many prospects had such a precipitous fall in the rankings in just one year as Abel Gomez. The raw talent is there to be an elite pitching prospect. However, now four seasons into his professional career, Gomez needs to quickly refine his game in order to realize his vast potential.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2005

Tampa

2-5

80.2

70

51

69

3.79

2005

Charleston

1-2

19.0

28

19

17

12.79

2005

GCL

1-0

14.1

15

5

20

6.28

2004

Battle Creek

9-10

142.2

115

73

149

3.66

2003

GCL

2-2

37.2

19

26

43

2.63



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Despite his diminutive frame, Gomez throws pretty hard, especially for a left-hander. His fastball sits in the 90-92 MPH range and he has touched in the mid-90's at times in the past. He uses a combination of solid movement and deception with his fastball to make opposing batters look foolish at times. However, with a fastball that is one of his strengths on the mound, it also is one of his biggest weaknesses. He lacks consistent command of his fastball, which has lead to a lot of walks.

Other Pitches. Outside of his fastball, Gomez possesses a solid changeup in the 78-80 MPH range. While he struggles with the command of his fastball, Gomez, oddly enough, has pretty good control of his changeup. It is that reason that he's been able to post better strikeout-to-walk ratios against right-handed batters than against lefties over his career. What has the Yankees frustrated in his development thus far has been the slow progression of his curveball.

Gomez has the ability to throw a solid curveball at times, but often leaves hangers over the plate and that has gotten him into trouble many times. His inconsistent curveball, as Nardi Contreras mentioned above, tends to get "loopy". Loopy curveballs are good enough to get hitters out at the lower levels but tend to get tagged at the higher minor league levels. He'll need to tighten it up and throw it harder for it to be an effective pitch for him, which would allow him to become a top pitching prospect once again.

Pitching. The Yankees are hoping Gomez' issues in 2005 were an aberration. Sure, he still has significant control issues with his fastball and curveball, but Gomez hasn't made the necessary adjustments to his mechanics as pointed out by the coaching staff. He altered his arm angle a couple of different times in 2005, sometimes on his own. Once a "long armer", Gomez inexplicably shortened his delivery this past season. By season's end, the coaching staff got Gomez to change his arm angle back and increase his tempo on the mound. Once very deliberate on the mound, akin to the slow tempo of Steve Trachsel of the Mets, Gomez made some improvements in his times between pitches by the end of the year. That should prevent hitters from getting comfortable in the batter's box and allow him to get into a flow better.

Projection. At the current time, Abel Gomez is one of the toughest pitchers to project. If he is able to realize his full potential, Gomez has the chance to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation type of starter. With his fastball and changeup combination, he has the potential to be a poor man's version of Johan Santana. However, questions about his desire to compete have been raised, raising doubts about his heart. If that is truly the case, the odds are seriously stacked against him of reaching his potential. Combining that with his control issues, Gomez' projection scale is as wide as it gets. He could be a solid #3 or #4 starter at the Major League level, a possible reliever in due time, or just a career minor leaguer. How Gomez responds in 2006 will be the ultimate deciding factor in his projection.

ETA. 2009. 2005 was a lost year of sorts for Abel Gomez, at least from a career path standpoint. He will most likely be back in Tampa, at minimum, to begin the year in 2006, if even that high a level. Right now, Gomez doesn't project to have an impact with the Yankees until 2009 and how he responds in 2006 will give us a more accurate read on his ETA.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Abel Gomez
\r\nPosition: Starting Pitcher
\r\nDOB: November 29, 1984
\r\nHeight: 6'0\"
\r\nWeight: 170
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Left
\r\n
\r\nNot many pitching prospects had garnered the attention Abel Gomez received at the lower minor league levels. Gomez had dominated the rookie levels, holding opposing batters to a batting average below .155, before breaking out with a solid 2004 campaign with the Battle Creek Yankees in the Midwest League.
\r\n
\r\nAveraging better than ten strikeouts per nine innings in his career entering the 2005 season with the Tampa Yankees, Gomez seemed to have tapped the potential many scouts believed he had.
\r\n
\r\n\"Well from what I've seen, he has that fastball that we've heard about,\" a National League scout said of Gomez back in the beginning of July. \"When you have a lefthander with a live fastball and some other pitches to work with, you have to take notice. And, Gomez is one of those guys.\"
\r\n
\r\nJust a week after impressing that National League scout, Abel Gomez was demoted to Charleston to work on his control issues. From there, his season spiraled out of control and Gomez seemingly got worse with every passing start.
\r\n
\r\nAfter not allowing an ERA any higher than 3.79 at any minor league stop in his career, Gomez racked up a 12.79 ERA in the South Atlantic League before getting demoted once again to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and posting a 6.28 ERA in four games with the GCL Yankees.
\r\n
\r\n\"From what I've been told, he changed his arm angle,\" Yankees' Minor League Pitching Coordinator Nardi Contreras told PinstripesPlus.com. \"He shortened it like Keith Foulke. \"His curveball was loopy and he might have done some things on his own.\"
\r\n
\r\nGomez, who had always been considered very talented but also quite raw, had troubles with his mechanics all season long, aiding to his already existing control issues. But while the mechanics and command problems plagued him in 2005, it was Gomez' lack of enthusiasm on the mound and inner desire to improve that baffled many in the organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't think he played winter ball this year even though he had an opportunity to do so,\" Contreras revealed. \"I honestly don't know where he's been. The big question with him is, does he want it? We'll soon find out.\"
\r\n
\r\nNot many prospects had such a precipitous fall in the rankings in just one year as Abel Gomez. The raw talent is there to be an elite pitching prospect. However, now four seasons into his professional career, Gomez needs to quickly refine his game in order to realize his vast potential.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n

\r\n \r\n Year

Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n 2-5

\r\n

\r\n 80.2

\r\n

\r\n 70

\r\n

\r\n 51

\r\n

\r\n 69

\r\n

\r\n 3.79

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n 1-2

\r\n

\r\n 19.0

\r\n

\r\n 28

\r\n

\r\n 19

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 12.79

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n GCL

\r\n

\r\n 1-0

\r\n

\r\n 14.1

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 20

\r\n

\r\n 6.28

\r\n

\r\n 2004

\r\n

\r\n Battle Creek

\r\n

\r\n 9-10

\r\n

\r\n 142.2

\r\n

\r\n 115

\r\n

\r\n 73

\r\n

\r\n 149

\r\n

\r\n 3.66

\r\n

\r\n 2003

\r\n

\r\n GCL

\r\n

\r\n 2-2

\r\n

\r\n 37.2

\r\n

\r\n 19

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n 43

\r\n

\r\n 2.63


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Despite his diminutive frame, Gomez throws pretty hard, especially for a left-hander. His fastball sits in the 90-92 MPH range and he has touched in the mid-90's at times in the past. He uses a combination of solid movement and deception with his fastball to make opposing batters look foolish at times. However, with a fastball that is one of his strengths on the mound, it also is one of his biggest weaknesses. He lacks consistent command of his fastball, which has lead to a lot of walks.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Outside of his fastball, Gomez possesses a solid changeup in the 78-80 MPH range. While he struggles with the command of his fastball, Gomez, oddly enough, has pretty good control of his changeup. It is that reason that he's been able to post better strikeout-to-walk ratios against right-handed batters than against lefties over his career. What has the Yankees frustrated in his development thus far has been the slow progression of his curveball.
\r\n
\r\nGomez has the ability to throw a solid curveball at times, but often leaves hangers over the plate and that has gotten him into trouble many times. His inconsistent curveball, as Nardi Contreras mentioned above, tends to get \"loopy\". Loopy curveballs are good enough to get hitters out at the lower levels but tend to get tagged at the higher minor league levels. He'll need to tighten it up and throw it harder for it to be an effective pitch for him, which would allow him to become a top pitching prospect once again.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. The Yankees are hoping Gomez' issues in 2005 were an aberration. Sure, he still has significant control issues with his fastball and curveball, but Gomez hasn't made the necessary adjustments to his mechanics as pointed out by the coaching staff. He altered his arm angle a couple of different times in 2005, sometimes on his own. Once a \"long armer\", Gomez inexplicably shortened his delivery this past season. By season's end, the coaching staff got Gomez to change his arm angle back and increase his tempo on the mound. Once very deliberate on the mound, akin to the slow tempo of Steve Trachsel of the Mets, Gomez made some improvements in his times between pitches by the end of the year. That should prevent hitters from getting comfortable in the batter's box and allow him to get into a flow better.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. At the current time, Abel Gomez is one of the toughest pitchers to project. If he is able to realize his full potential, Gomez has the chance to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation type of starter. With his fastball and changeup combination, he has the potential to be a poor man's version of Johan Santana. However, questions about his desire to compete have been raised, raising doubts about his heart. If that is truly the case, the odds are seriously stacked against him of reaching his potential. Combining that with his control issues, Gomez' projection scale is as wide as it gets. He could be a solid #3 or #4 starter at the Major League level, a possible reliever in due time, or just a career minor leaguer. How Gomez responds in 2006 will be the ultimate deciding factor in his projection.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2009. 2005 was a lost year of sorts for Abel Gomez, at least from a career path standpoint. He will most likely be back in Tampa, at minimum, to begin the year in 2006, if even that high a level. Right now, Gomez doesn't project to have an impact with the Yankees until 2009 and how he responds in 2006 will give us a more accurate read on his ETA.
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