2013 Pod Projections: Carlos Gomez

It’s projection time! Welcome to the first edition of the 2013 Pod Projections. Last year I started the Pod Projection series and in it, I explained the process behind my projections of the five fantasy categories for various players who were most interesting. I included an introduction that described the process in a general sense, so refresh your memory by checking it out again.

As usual, this year I am incorporating some new data into my projections. Every year I typically learn something new, whether it’s a formula or a new metric to analyze. This time it’s our own Jeff Zimmerman’s site and the batted ball distance data. Although full-blown studies have yet to be performed, I’m fairly confident that it will prove to be a fantastic data set to predict breakouts and busts when projecting power.

I decided to start this season’s series with Carlos Gomez. RotoGrapher Howard Bender analyzed Gomez through the lens of ADP yesterday. After checking out the Bill James and Fans projections, it is clear that nobody has a clue how much playing time Gomez will receive, let alone how much of that power spike was for real. So he makes for an interesting choice for a first projection indeed.

At-Bats: 525
With Nyjer Morgan now gone, the Brewers have no obvious candidates to steal center field at-bats. And since Gomez has always been an excellent fielder and may even contribute positively from an offensive standpoint as well, the Brewers might very well be happy with their lack of depth. But given that he has only seen 500 at-bats once, which came back in 2007, I have to hedge a bit. Furthermore, he is likely to hit seventh with limited opportunity to move up in the order, which will cap his at-bat potential.

Contact Rate: 75% (a reminder, this is [at-bats – strikeouts] / at-bats, which differs from FG’s K%)
Last season Gomez posted a 76% rate and the year before 72%. He has always been in the mid-70%’s in the Majors. Gomez’s SwStk% set a career high, but that didn’t lead to a dive in contact rate. I am projecting a slight regression just given his history.

GB%/LD%/FB%: 42%/17%/41%
These rates differ a bit from Gomez’s career averages. Over the last two seasons, he jacked his fly ball rate up to between 43% and 44% after typically living in the mid-to-high 30% range. Since batted ball distributions are fairly stable, this appears to be a conscious change in approach. This is especially true since it has gone hand in hand with a surge in power. Over the second half of the year, his FB% fell back to 41%, so given the small chance he does revert back to his higher ground ball ways, I am projecting his full season rate equal to that second half mark.

BABIP: .300
The two expected BABIP formulas I use spit out .314 and .328, but they have their flaws and I favor a veteran’s actual BABIP history. Gomez hits a below average rate of line drives and too many pop-ups. He also hits more fly balls than grounders. All of these factors should negatively affect his BABIP projection. His career mark sits at .303, but he’s hitting more fly balls now. Only his speed and power save him from a below .300 BABIP projection.

HR/FB Ratio: 12%
This is probably the projection that will spur the most debate. Before 2011, Gomez was your typical weak speedster, never posting an ISO above .110 or HR/FB ratio above 7.1%. But then something happened in 2011 and his power spiked. That carried over, and then some, into 2012. But get this — his average fly ball plus home run distance has been 288 feet the last two seasons, a jump from the 274 feet he posted in 2010.

The league average distance is around 273 feet, so this data tells me that his bat is now legitimately packing a wallop. What contributed to this power spike, I don’t know, but it appears to be completely for real. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can project a repeat 14% HR/FB rate, but a 12% mark is still likely well above any other projection.

RBI and Runs: 60 and 75
As mentioned earlier, Gomez is currently expected to hit seventh in the Brewers lineup. He hit there at the end of last season and given the rest of the Brewers order, it doesn’t appear that he has any real chance to move up aside from an injury. These projections are a bit higher than what he posted last year to adjust for the additional at-bats. But last year, he hit first or second nearly half his at-bats, so with weaker hitters behind him this time, his run projection doesn’t increase as much.

SBs: 35
Besides running frequently, Gomez has been an excellent base stealer, succeeding 80% of the time in his career. Last season, though, he posted an 86% success rate. I don’t think he will be that successful again, so despite the additional at-bats, I am projecting a slight decline in stolen base totals. In addition, over his career he has stolen 35 bases per 525 at-bats. This was a complete coincidence though that it equaled my projection exactly, because I didn’t calculate that until just before typing that sentence! The projection itself was done a week ago.

Below is my final projected batting line, along with Bill James and Fans projections for comparison.

Pod 525 0.251 19 60 75 35 75% 0.300 12% 42%/17%/41%
Bill James 351 0.251 11 38 55 27 76% 0.302 ? ?
Bill James prorated to 525 ABs 525   16 57 82 40     ? ?
Fans (18) 501 0.252 14 53 50 28 77% 0.298 ? ?

Decide who I should publish a Pod Projection for! Tell me in the comments which hitter you want to see and whoever gets named most will become the subject of the next post.

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Mike Podhorzer produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

50 Responses to “2013 Pod Projections: Carlos Gomez”

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  1. Bosscher says:

    Great article, love seeing the thought process behind projections!

    For the next player: I’d like to see a projection of Bryce Harper.

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  2. derek says:

    I think Carlos Gomez was a good player to profile based on the interesting statistics re: his home run distance and possible sustained power surge. Just traded for him in a dynasty league yesterday so glad to see this.

    Would like to see Michael Cuddyer and/or Jason Werth profiled

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  3. Steve says:

    Please profile Kris Medlen.

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  4. kdm628496 says:

    darin ruf!

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  5. Molitor says:

    Profile Zack Cozart SS Cin

    I think Gomez has turned a corner and I see all of his numbers rising except perhaps the HR totals…

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  6. Chicago Mark says:

    Good stuff Pod! Seeing as so many had little idea where he’d land or what he’d get in free agency. And how his swing rates showed big holes in his swing in 2012, I’d like to see what you think Josh Hamilton will do in 2013. Additionally, many thought Asdrubal Cabrera would fall back in 2012. Now I hear many thinking he fell back too much. What are your thoughts? Greedy am I?

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  7. Ryan Carey says:

    Josh Rutledge

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  8. Ben says:

    Austin Jackson

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  9. patk says:

    Please do Chase Utley next! EVERYONE has a different opinion of him right now.

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  10. Jeff says:

    Kris Medlen

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  11. Clint Robinson says:

    I’d also like to see Zach Cozart.

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  12. SirTheory says:

    I’ll ditto Bryce Harper.

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  13. ritter21 says:

    Very informative. Do McCutchen…I’d like to see how he is rightsized after last year’s performance.

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  14. Pat G says:

    I’d Really like to see trumbo and what you make of his first/second half… also along those lines i’d like to see a Ryan Zimmerman

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  15. jcxy says:

    Erasmo Ramirez. Darin Ruf.

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  16. Ben says:

    Josh Rutledge

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  17. ethan says:

    Chris Davis…will he hit enouph to hit 30 homeruns again???

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  18. stan says:

    John Jaso and Kyle Seager

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  19. gmkrunch says:

    Great stuff! Jennings would make for a great analysis. I’d like to see other former prospects that did not succeed right away. Montero, Ackley, Fowler, Belt, Bourjos. Look forward to future articles.

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  20. Freddy T says:

    +1 on Trumbo

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  21. Sterling says:

    I’d like to see some former prospects as well such as Jennings, Ackley or Belt. I also vote for the young guy Cozart and the “old” guy Utley.

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  22. Yadi Molina says:

    Do me!

    Uh, so to speak.

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  23. Jim says:

    Another for Trumbo

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  24. discogerbil says:

    Great article Mike! My own rough projection has him at .251/.281/.417 68-20-60-40 in just over 550 AB’s.

    I’d love to see your projection for Brantley or Kipnis.

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  25. joe bananas says:

    another for jennings and the post-hype types like lawrie, hosmer, brett anderson, medlen, etc. maybe even a few of the fringe sleeper types like aoki, stubbs, choo, aaron hill, etc.

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  26. Rags says:

    Ruf, Aoki, Choo, AJ Ellis, Rob Brantley.

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  27. CFG-250 says:

    Great article! I think Gomez has finally grown into his frame (6’4, 210 just starting to reach his power prime) which can explain his power surge. That along with a possible change in approach since going to Mil. I like Gomez, but his lows are going to be very low because of his K rate and lack of walks.

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  28. Adam says:

    I would like to see Brett Lawrie and Josh Johnson (Cy young history, Injury History, New League, New Team) both have something to prove this upcoming season.

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  29. *BaseClogger* says:

    Austin Jackson, Choo, Trumbo, and Lawrie all seem like excellent candidates to me.

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  30. Wow, thanks for all the player votes! I won’t be publishing pitcher projections just yet, but will keep the names mentioned in mind. Looks like I have a lot of great candidates for my next hitter projection.

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  31. Mindhead3 says:

    I’d like to see Chris Davis, Choo and Kendry Morales. Thanks.

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  32. balticfox1917 says:

    Would like to see an Austin Jackson projection too. And Trevor Plouffe, for those of us in deeper leagues.

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  33. The Dweez says:

    I like Rutledge too. Utley would be worthless to project unless you have ESP. we all know he’s decent, but not even “Pod” can tell us if he’ll be healthy or not.

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  34. Lenard says:

    Kipnis, Lawrie, and Goldschmidt please!

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  35. Lark11 says:

    Admittedly, I’m completely buying into last year’s breakout by Gomez, but I’m surprised that the home run projections for 2013 are so low. He hit 19 homers last year in somewhat limited duty with 14 of them coming in the second half. I don’t really see anything that indicates that the power was a fluke. He has good size, good swing mechanics, plus bat speed, his fly ball% has risen, unlike previous years he hit homers to the opposite field, he’s entering his prime, and the average distance of his homers indicates that they weren’t flukey. So, in light of his likely to increase playing time, why would he hit the same number of homers (19)?

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I think he’ll hit at least 25. His plate discipline is atrocious, but it’s similar to early career Alfonso Soriano and it certainly didn’t Alfonso’s power production. Gomez is one of the most interesting players heading into the 2013, I’m just somewhat surprised that most projections view him as hitting so few homers.

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  36. Lark11 says:

    “…. it certainly didn’t **hurt** Alfonso’s power production.”

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  37. supershredder says:

    Is there not an enormous elephant in the room here??? Am I the only one wondering if Gomez has been sharing steroid sandwiches with Braun? I’d love to go all in on his projection for 2013 but I have a sneaking suspicion he will be out for…oh say maybe 50 games.

    I’d be very interested to hear your projections on Dustin Ackley.

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    • don says:

      it crossed my mind in the second half of last year. and i still suspect. i selfishly hope so too, for fantasy purposes.

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  38. Ender says:

    I’ll take the over on this mostly because he will get more AB than that. The rates are fine but he’ll be playing almost every day this year. The power is definitely for real and it came in 2011 not 2012. He made a very obvious change in approach at the plate where he was swinging for the fences instead of trying to hit the ball on the ground. You could see it in the 8% jump in FB% that year which he sustained last year. You can see it even easier if you had just been watching him play. If only he had some semblance of an approach at the plate he could be a super star player but he is still up there hacking more than anything.

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