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Gomes on the road

Mike Emeigh, one of the most knowledgable posters at Baseball Think Factory, has pointed out (post #13) at times the way Durham Bulls Athletic Park (a very strong hitters park) helps out players like Matt Diaz and Jonny Gomes, who he doesn't think will ever be good regulars in the majors. I'm certainly willing to agree with him on Diaz, particularly considering his lack of plate discipline (though I don't excuse the Rays for not giving him a shot) but I think he's incorrect on Gomes.

Unfortunately there aren't easily available home/road splits for the minors so I don't know how Gomes' performance was on the road last year and to find out for this season so far I had to input everything manually from box scores. Through the game on 6/3:

Home: 87 PA, 70 AB, 28 H, 8 2B, 8 HR, 14 BB, 2 HBP, 8.75 AB/HR, 4.38 AB/XBH, .400/.506/.857

Away: 73 PA, 57 AB, 15 H, 4 2B, 5 HR, 13 BB, 3 HBP, 11.40 AB/HR, 6.33 AB/XBH, .263/.425/.596

Total: 160 PA, 127 AB, 43 H, 12 2B, 13 HR, 27 BB, 5 HBP, 9.77 AB/HR, 5.08 AB/XBH, .339/.469/.740

We're dealing with small sample sizes here, less than 100 plate appearances on either line, so we can't be sure how it will look over a full season. Also, Gomes has had trouble in the past with summer slumps, so we'll have to see how that goes. Still, we can see some things from what has happened so far.

On the road Gomes merely has an isolated power of .333 as opposed to the absurd .457 at home, only has a home run have 11.40 ABs instead of 8.75, only hits an extra-base hit every 6.33 ABs instead of every 4.38, etc. In short he's obviously helped a lot by DBAP but he's pretty dang good on the road too. The lower BA is a bit of a concern (though I think that will go up some over time since I doubt DBAP is THAT helpful in BA). Since he has excellent plate discipline though he still is getting on base a ton on the road.

Because of the strong park effect it might be good to compare Gomes to someone else who was in a similar situation. Here's Gomes 2004 line (Age 23 season) vs. an unnamed hitter's Age 23 season, also spent at Durham.

Gomes: 470 PA, 390 AB, 100 H, 27 2B, 1 3B, 26 HR, 51 BB, 136 K, 22 HBP, 15.00 AB/HR, 7.22 AB/XBH, .256/.368/.531

?????: 461 PA, 408 AB, 129 H, 36 2B, 3 3B, 20 HR, 51 BB, 72 K, 2 HBP, 20.40 AB/HR, 6.92 AB/XBH, .316/.395/.566

So as you look at those two lines you might think that the unnamed hitter is obviously major league ready but maybe Gomes could use a little more time in the minors to show improvement in average and control of the strike zone.

That unnamed hitter is Aubrey Huff. He turned out ok I'd say, though maybe he was promoted a bit early due to his inflated Durham numbers, he struggled with full playing time in the majors in 2001. Either way, I'd say that Gomes at least has a good chance of doing fine in the majors this season and shouldn't have any difficulty being a good player in the future, despite his AAA numbers being inflated some by DBAP.