What is going on with Gomez?
Gomez might say that he is healthy, and maybe he is, but remember the New York Mets walked aways from an executed trade that would have Gomez in the Mets’ blue uniform instead of the Astros’ orange one. Why? There were reports that the Mets saw something wrong with Gomez’s hips, which his agent denied. Could there be something wrong with his hips that is causing too much reliance on his arms and upper body? Early in his career his hips were too fast, now it has reversed on him.
I talked to a baseball person, he feels like with Gomez’s age and injury history, and he needs to change his trigger at the plate. Gomez has the same swing that he did when he was an All-Star player, but it’s longer and more rotational. Last year’s hamstring and oblique troubles could have changed his ability to swing. Gomez’s legs and hips are a big part of his swing, and he is lowering during the swing and throwing off his head. Plus the alleged hip issues that canceled the Mets trade could be a factor too.
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Without a proper trigger at the plate, he could have to swing a little harder to try to catch up to the ball which could throw off his balance at the plate, which is why he looks like he is off balanced every time he swings and misses. As players age, they have to adjust their swing to adapt to their current athleticism, and this is something that Gomez may not have done. What is happening with his head is probably the most pressing issue, you need to see the ball to hit the ball.
Plus, the pressure of not performing this year has drained his confidence, which even after a balanced swing on a foul ball, he attempts a bunt in Sunday’s game. Following that game where he called off George Springer on a fly ball that he couldn’t get to that lost the game, he was noticeably depressed following that game. Believe it or not, these guys have pride in their play, but when they get in a funk this deep into the season, it’s hard to bounce back.
While he has shown that he can’t be a contact hitter early in his career, he is not historically this bad, and his contact percentages are crazy. He has a career 84.8% contact rate on pitches he swings at in the strike zone, and it has decreased to 74.4% in 2016. His percentage of contact made outside the strike zone dropped from a career 59.5% rate to 42.4% in 2016. Worse yet, pitchers are throwing more pitches in the strike zone because they know that he has trouble hitting it, increasing from a career 45.6% of pitches in the zone to 49.4% in 2016. This increase means that pitchers are not afraid of him.
Next: How does he fix this?