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Carlos Gomez Has Lofty Goals for 2011

It’s spring training. That must mean Carlos Gomez has changed and is ready for a breakout season.

Last year, we heard a lot about how Gomez was working with Dale Sveum on his approach at the plate, and how he was determined to turn a corner in his development. Of course, he ended the year hitting .247/.298/.357, striking out more often than he ever had while also posting the second-lowest BB% of his career. And then there was that infamous “if you’re hitting .260 … that’s not a bad year” quote that went over so well with Milwaukee fans.

This year’s no different. He’s still shooting for the moon. In a piece by Adam McCalvy:

“I came here ready to play,” he said. “I have to try to get on base as much as I can. If I get on base at .350, I can steal 50 bases, easy. I can score 100 runs. If I score runs, it’s going to be good for everybody.”

It’s nice to see he realizes what he needs to do, but I’ll be frank about this. The idea that Carlos Gomez — he of the career .293 OBP — can suddenly flip a switch and get on base at a .350 clip is pretty absurd. We all want to believe that things will be different with Gomez. We all think he has the tools. But he’s been a genuinely terrible offensive player for nearly 1500 big league plate appearances. The last time Gomez managed an OBP that high in a significant amount of games, it was 2006 in Double A. Of course, he also hit .281 that year, thanks to a .347 BABIP, and still only had a BB% of 5.6.

At least Ron Roenicke doesn’t seem to have any delusions of Gomez providing much offensively:

“I don’t want to put too much on him offensively, because that’s not really why he’s there,” the manager said.

It would be great if Gomez could at least be a serviceable offensive player, but at this point it doesn’t seem likely. I hate saying that because he’s only 25, and I’m the same guy that will tell you Mat Gamel can still get it turned around at that same age. But Gomez was rushed through so many minor league systems and had his development so stunted that it’s hard to believe that he can provide anything with the bat. I’ll gladly take the .350 OBP if by some miracle it actually happens, but let’s try taking baby steps, Carlos — like actually cracking .300 first.