|What should the Red Sox make of Mauro Gomez?||09.15.12 at 8:48 am ET|
Mauro Gomez offered another reminder Friday night.
Perceived as a roster-filler for much of the season, Gomez executed the always highly-coveted professional at-bat in the ninth inning of what would be the Red Sox’ 8-5 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The righty hitter rifled a 91 mph cutter from Casey Janssen to the opposite field, by right fielder Anthony Gose for a two-run triple.
With his two hits in the series opener, Gomez is hitting .297 with an .805 OPS. Righties? Lefties? In his 26-game major league sample size this season it hasn’t mattered to the 28-year-old, who has a .341 batting average against right-handers.
All of this follows up a season with the Pawtucket Red Sox in which he was named the International League MVP. During his Triple-A stint this season, Gomez hit .310 with a .960 OPS and 24 home runs. Fifty-nine of his 120 hits would go for extra-bases.
So, what’s the deal? Should we actually start thinking about Gomez as something more than a minor-league star and major-league stopgap?
The Red Sox will have a hole to fill at first base, and potentially another at designated hitter. This is where we can at least start the Gomez conversation.
There was a reason the Red Sox had three scouts – Galen Carr, Bob Hamelin and Mark Wasinger – following Gomez throughout 2011, not only while he was turning a very similar season to this one with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate, but also in the Dominican Winter League.
The takeaway that was that Gomez had matured as a hitter to the point he could perform on a bigger stage (a notion only bolstered when the first baseman stood out in the Dominican World Series while playing for Escogido).
Besides the bat, Gomez also convinced the Red Sox’ scouting trio that his glove was better than some had believed. While he has played eight games at third base for the Sox this season, and even worked out in the outfield before a few games, the big righty should be limited to first, where he has performed adequately at during his time with Boston.
Gomez does have two more player options, which would suggest his days of shuttling back and forth from the minor leagues might not be over. But he also possesses the kind of qualities the Red Sox figured to be starved for – middle of the order power, along with decent plate discipline (he has averaged four pitches per plate appearance with the Red Sox).
So, should Gomez be part of the Red Sox’ new foundation heading into 2013? He’s certainly making his case.
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