MILWAUKEE — A few months ago, I tried to sell everyone on how Carlos Gomez’s new contract with the Milwaukee Brewers was going to be a steal for the team.
I’ve been a believer in Gomez for quite some time, confident his breakout season was coming. It was just a matter of time.
But, Carlos Gomez an All-Star? Well, maybe down the road. He’s always had that kind of potential, but I didn’t see this kind of jump coming.
Carlos Gomez is an All-Star. His body of work proves it. Gomez should be a lock to be one of the reserve outfielders, an easy choice. Hopefully Bruce Bochy or his peers are taking notice.
Barring a drastic change in voting, Carlos Beltran, Bryce Harper and Justin Upton will be elected to start the All-Star Game in the outfield for the National League. Odds are Harper won’t play in the game due to his lingering knee injury, but who starts in his place is another story.
Point is, Gomez isn’t going to be voted in to start by fans. He’s still in 11th place in the fan vote, which isn’t always a good indicator of who is having the best season. There are usually five reserve outfielders picked, and Harper’s injury may make it six this year.
Gomez leads National League outfielders with a .317 batting average, is sixth in home runs with 12, eighth in RBI at 37 and tied for fifth with 13 stolen bases. Gomez has a 4.4 WAR, the highest in baseball in a stat used to measure a player’s total value to a team.
What’s his competition? Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez is almost a lock to snag one of the reserve spots. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen isn’t having the year he’s capable of having, but his name will be tempting. Philadelphia’s Domonic Brown has a real good chance of being picked. Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce could be an option.
As far as overall numbers, Gomez is having a better first half than Harper and Upton, two of the three starters in the minds of the fans. All four of the guys I listed above that have a shot to be reserves could be selected, and Gomez could be the fifth. Now, I understand it’s not always that easy. Somehow, the Marlins need an All-Star. Some teams may not have a great option to represent them, so an outfield spot could be snatched there.
Teammate Ryan Braun, though currently on the disabled list and not having a Braun-like season, is a legitimate threat to Gomez’s candidacy. Sure, Gomez has slightly better overall numbers than Braun, but a former MVP and a guy that’s been to five straight All-Star Games is hard to take out for a first-timer.
While the philosophy for this exhibition game, a display of baseball’s best having fun, should be to reward the players who are having the best season at the time, legacy often impacts decisions. Baseball certainly isn’t the NFL, where a player like Jeff Saturday can be elected to the Pro Bowl, it’s hard for a guy like Gomez to displace a McCutchen or Braun.
Let’s face it, fans are going to want to see Braun or McCutchen, not Gomez, regardless of how fun he is to watch.
The other argument working against Gomez is the fact Milwaukee is currently a last-place team, and Jean Segura is overwhelmingly deserving of being the team’s All-Star. There are some that believe a last-place team deserves just the minimum of one All-Star.
Really, who cares what the team’s record is? If a player is deserving, he’s deserving. Is it Carlos Gomez’s fault the Brewers have struggled? He doesn’t take the mound every five days. The purpose of the All-Star Game is defeated if there’s nine players from the best team in the American League and 10 from the best team in National League.
Let’s send the players having the best first half to Citi Field. If Carlos Gomez isn’t one of the eight most deserving outfielders in the National League that’s quite the shame.