Coming through the Mets farm system lately must be some kind of experience with the way top prospects are thrown into challenging conditions from day one. I understand wanting to push your talent and give them the best opportunities to learn at the highest level, but not all prospects will react the same, and I think guys like Lastings Milledge are a good example of that. The guys in the Mets front office should remind themselves that a lot of their top young talent isn’t even old enough to buy a drink yet, so why expect so much so early? Kids burn out and turn sour if they aren’t having fun anymore, so when you bring guys up early, either use them or send them back down or else they go stale. Milledge, at the age of 22 years old, got less than 300 AB’s for the entire 2007 season. What good does that do anyone?Anyways, Carlos Gomez is part of the Mets machine, and got called up for 125 AB’s this year with the big league team all before his 22nd birthday. It’s hard to make much of stats put up by such a young guy, especially when the sample size is just barely over 100, but Gomez managed to hit 2 HR, and stole 12 bases. In the minors he usually played ahead of his appropriate age level, but still had an average OPS of .738 and stole 100 bases between 2005 and 2006.
So what can we expect over the coming years? Well, that’s a very good question and I think the answer is probably equal parts analysis and equal parts guessing right now. They guy has got speed (he’s rumored to be faster than Reyes), and you can check him out on YouTube and make your own judgments. Who knows how fast he really is, but I’d say he’s fast enough just looking at the numbers. While we’re making comparisons to Jose Reyes, I thought it would be interesting to compare their numbers from the minors (as much as possible):
Both guys played ahead of their age level, and they both did a pretty good job. However, Reyes was about 1 – 1.5 years younger than Gomez at each level, and I think that is important to note. Basically, at a younger age, Reyes was doing just as much at a higher level and out-hit and out-slugged Gomez. By no means am I bashing Gomez, but the numbers should give you a realistic idea as to what should realistically be expected by the Mets and the Mets fans. We’ll probably see Gomez steal a lot of bases early, but it will take him about 2 full seasons in the majors before he hits his stride at the plate, but even if Gomez becomes a mini-Reyes that’s still pretty good. In 2008, if Gomez plays full time, he will likely hit around .250 with maybe 10-15 homeruns, and 40 or more stolen bases. That would be a pretty good first year, and by 2009 all of those numbers will look more like .275 average, 15-20 homeruns and 50-60 stolen bases. With solid defense in the outfield Gomez should be a nice addition to the Mets ball club and I think Mets fans will really enjoy watching him play on a daily basis.
One other note: Gomez is a bit bigger than Reyes, so maybe those power numbers jump up a little bit before Gomez hits 24 or 25 years old. He looks to have a solid frame and I think playing CF will mean more time in the cage, and less time working on turning double plays and covering on steals like Reyes has to do.
So, Mets fans, expect good things from Gomez, maybe even Reyes-esque good things, but don’t get too giddy. Just as with Reyes, those solid minor league numbers might not show up right away, but they’ll show up soon. In the meantime, I suggest buying his cards after they drop due to a slow full rookie season.