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What's wrong with Yan Gomes? What's happened to his defense?

Earlier this week we focused on the Indians’ defensive struggles. Wednesday night, Yan Gomes committed his 9th error in just his 28th game. Is that bad?

One of Gomes' better throws this season
One of Gomes' better throws this season
Jason Miller

After yet another errant throw Wednesday night, Yan Gomes now has nine errors already, which is three times as many as he made last season. He's also allowed a league-leading four passed balls, matching his total from last season already. His fielding percentage is just 0.965.

There are other, newer defensive measures, but for ease in comparing to previous seasons, I'll focus on the old standbys of errors and fielding percentage.

Nine errors in 28 games played, if he keeps up his current pace and plays 130 games, he would finish with 42 errors. That would break the American League record of 41, set by Oscar Stanage of the Detroit Tigers in 1941 (h/t to JulioBernazard in Wednesday night's recap). At least we don't have to worry about him catching the MLB record of 94, set by Nat Hicks of the 1876 New York Mutuals!

Focusing on just the Indians, the last time a Tribe catcher cracked double digits in errors was 1999, when Einar Diaz made 10 of them. The last time a Tribe catcher had a worse fielding percentage than Gomes' current mark was 1986 when Andy Allanson's 20 errors put him at 0.960.

The franchise record for errors by a catcher is 24, which happened thrice: Nig Clarke in 1907 and Steve O'Neill in both 1914 and 1915. There have 9 seasons when the team's catcher had a fielding percentage of 0.960 or worse in 50+ games played behind the plate. Of those nine, the worst fielding percentage was by Glenn Myatt in 1923 with a 0.934.

Even if Terry Francona slows down Gomes pace to 120 games, he is still on a pace to finish with 39 errors. Heck, he's on pace to break the record if he plays even 78 games this season. If he cuts his current pace in half the rest of the way, he'll finish with 25 errors if he plays in 130 games, which means he'd still manage to break the record.

Gomes needs to break out of this funk, because our team defense needs to improve significantly, and Yan has contributed more than a quarter of the team's errors in 2014. That has to be corrected, or Gomes may find himself in more of a DH or backup role.