How does he fix this?
He could already be seeking help, but he needs to be open to receiving help. I’m sure he is already doing this, but he needs to watch film of his All-Star days and look at what he did back then compared to his swing right now. He needs to get out to the ballpark early and take extra batting practice and find a new trigger that leads to a more level swing. He needs to change his approach mentally and physically at the plate. He is defeated right now as a player, which is a far cry from the guy who got MVP votes four years ago.
Gomez needs to forget about trying to pull the ball and be shorter to the ball. He’s hitting top half first because he is trying to cheat because he can’t use his legs like he used to. The biggest thing he can work on is his balance and trigger like I mentioned earlier, become more of a situational hitter versus the power guy he once was. Part of the balance could come from him digging more into the dirt with his back foot to keep his stability in his swing. Pitcher’s have also started pitching more inside on him because they know that he can’t reach it.
Now his struggles are affecting him defensively, so he is in a bad place right now. It does not help when your GM says publicly that he needs to play better, or he will be benched. In what was supposed to be a contract year for Gomez, many experts projected that he could have earned one of the largest contracts in the outfield free agent market. With the way he is playing, I’m not sure that he will want to continue playing beyond 2016.
Maybe the Astros need to reach outside of the organization to find someone who is willing to work with Gomez to help refine his swing. I know David Hudgens is the hitting coach, but why can no one help him figure out what is wrong? What about Jake Marisnick, Luis Valbuena, Tyler White, and Preston Tucker, why can’t we figure out how to help these players succeed? Chris Carter struggled last year with the Astros, but now he is a decent player with the Brewers.
I am not trying to place the blame elsewhere, but it seems like Gomez is not getting any better. Brian McTaggart does not support this theory because he was surprised during spring training how clean the Astros play was then. You can listen to the rest of McTaggart’s interview above.
Before you say it, the Astros can’t send Gomez down to the minors without his permission, and there was a reason why the Astros brought up Tony Kemp to put some pressure on Gomez to get moving. Should Gomez as to go work on things in the minors, yes, but that is easy for me to say. Besides Evan Gattis volunteers going down to Double-A to work on catching, not too many MLB players will willingly admit they need to go down and work on things.
However, benching Gomez for a few games could get his attention. Plus, it would give him an opportunity to work on his swing. Instead of playing him 6-7 games in a week, drop him down to 4-5 days with Kemp on the team. Once again, I’m not a baseball expert and these are just some things that I have noticed while looking at videos from now/then as well as researching his early years and discussions with a great baseball mind.
One thing that is not struggling is his ability to have fun playing baseball and kid around. Maybe the shenanigans are a way to hide his frustration, but in most cases it seems to be rubbing Astros fans the wrong way which has led to him being the scapegoat in 2016. Stay ‘sexy’ Carlos, but get some more hits.
Thanks to Jeremy Booth for taking the time to talk to me about Gomez. He is the head guy at Program 15, working with college and minor league players on improving their skills.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs***