Yan Gomes did not get to follow up his Silver Slugger-winning 2014 season quite the way he wanted. In only the fifth game of 2015, he suffered a sprained MCL that was expected to sideline him for six to eight weeks when Detroit Tigers Rajai Davis took a bad slide into home and took out Gomes’ knee. He would beat that timeline and return a month later, but now with our 20/20 hindsight intact, he may have come back too soon.
Gomes looked lost at the plate in his first nine games back from the injury. He had only eight hits and zero home runs in his 38 plate appearances and was nowhere near the offensive spark the fledgling Cleveland Indians offense needed at the time. He then followed that up with a six-game hit streak before going completely cold again for nearly a month.
It took a while for Gomes to find his power stroke on the season, he would not hit a home run until June 9, but he did have a pair of two-home runs games and finished the year with 12 long balls--the second highest total in his four-year career. The first multi-homer game came on June 9 in a crushing loss to the Seattle Mariners in which Gomes hit two solo runs and the rest of the Tribe offense did absolutely nothing in a 3-2 loss. The other came against Gomes’ former team, the Toronto Blue Jays, on September 1. Similar to the June 9 game, Gomes hit two home runs while most of the offense did… nothing. Michael Brantley hit a solo home run himself, but the Indians still lost 5-3.
Despite a few hot streaks here and there (including a great streak from the All-Star break to mid-August), Gomes could not find the same consistent bat that was worth an 119 wRC+ last year. One big issue was his walk rate, which dipped from an already-low 4.6% in 2014 to 3.3% in 2015. His 26.7% strikeout rate was also the highest it has been since his rookie season in 2012.
Gomes having a down year should not be too much of a concern going forward. He has a remarkably team-friendly contract ($1 million in 2015, $2.5 million in 2016), and we know from past seasons that a healthy Yan Gomes is one of the league’s best catchers.
Rest up and get ready for next year, Yanimal.