Yan Gomes isn’t the most exciting catcher in baseball but offensively he is one of the best. He is coming off a lost season in which he fought injuries nearly the entire year. When he did play he was a shell of himself with a triple slash of .231/.267/.391 over 389 PA. He chipped in enough counting stats to not be a total zero but it was certainly a far cry from 2014 in which he was a top 5 catcher in fantasy. It’s a common theme among these profiles but Gomes is a fantasy asset coming off of a lost season caused by injury and should be healthy in 2016. We should see something much closer to the 2014 Gomes than the 2015 Gomes. In the fabled 2014, Gomes hit 21 HR, scored 61 R, drove in 74 RBI and hit .278 which earned him the aforementioned 4th place C ranking according to ESPN. The big question is if he can play 130 games, can he reach those numbers again? I’d say the answer is a strong yes.
Gomes has never had great plate discipline and that probably won’t change. That drives down his OBP ceiling and Gomes probably falls several spots in OBP leagues with his career .303 OBP. However, he has put up a solid BA for a catcher over his career with a .262 mark. If we throw out his first season and 2015’s injury mess, Gomes has batted .284 in 778 AB. Last year’s .231 seems like an aberration when compared to his prior numbers on the Indians. Gomes’s 2015 was horribly unlucky as well. He hit 26.4% LDs and only had a .285 BABIP (.312 BABIP for career). That is absurd even with his lack of speed. His LD rate would have ranked 7th in the majors if Gomes had qualified for the batting title. If we remove Ryan Howard (who somehow had a .272 BABIP with a 28.5% LD rate) the lowest BABIP for the group above Gomes is .305. If Gomes can maintain a high LD rate and get his BABIP back up above .300, he can get back to a .270 average with the chance for it to go even higher.
Gomes has always had a good power stroke and labored his way to 12 HR last year in 95 games. If we prorate that over 130 games, it comes out to about 17 HRs which would have ranked 7th among C. His HR/FB was a career low 11.3 (which could be explained by random fluctuation and also a lower body injury). After averaging 284.72 feet on FBs in 2013 and 290.65 feet in 2014 he averaged only 272.12 feet in 2015. It’ll be interesting to see where he lands this year, but an uptick in this number could lead to another 20 HR season.
R and RBI can be hard to come by for many catchers given that they generally hit near the bottom of the order. Gomes is such a good hitter that he will probably bat 5th in the Indians’ order. This might not seem like great news, given the Indians recent offensive struggles, but he is hitting behind three high OBP guys in Lindor, Kipnis and Santana. Francisco Lindor has just 438 PA in his promising career but was able to post a .353 OBP. He has always been regarded as a guy with a great approach and while a .353 OBP in 2016 is unlikely, he should post a solid number. Behind Lindor are Kipnis and Santana. Kipnis has a .342 career OBP and Santana is at .365. Both of these guys get on base at a great rate and there should be plenty of RBI opportunities for Gomes if this is indeed how the batting order shakes out. Gomes might not score a ton of runs, but if he can hit more HRs it should drive his R number to a respectable level.
Steamer gives Gomes 15 HR, 46 R, 53 RBI, 1 SB, a .249 AVG and a .293 OBP. Gomes is a guy I’m willing to go out on a limb for and I’ll give him 19 HR, 55 R, 79 RBI, 0 SB, .271 AVG, and .310 OBP. He’s generally ranked in the teens for C and in standard leagues will probably be one of the last catchers off the board. Gomes is absolutely the catcher that will fall into my lap in the later rounds and I will be thrilled to draft him.