[Throughout the offseason, I thought it would be enjoyable to review some of Baseball Prospectus’s old stories about the Milwaukee Brewers. The archives at BP are not protected by any paywall, so they’re free for all to enjoy and from which to learn. Given the current rebuilding job in Milwaukee, we’ve mostly been talking about prospects, development, and “what could be” in the future. It’s important to remember that development isn’t standardized; meaning, some players mature and improve on different time schedules and through different methods. For Carlos Gomez, his ascension to stardom came from trying to undo much of his professional instruction. In April 2014, BP author Ryan Parker masterfully broke down GoGo’s swing changes as a Brewer.]
Most hitting changes are subtle and small. Even to the trained eye it can take time to notice a change a hitter may have made months ago. The emergence of Carlos Gomez, All-Star, goes hand-in-hand with a swing change he made at some point between July 6 and 23, 2012.
Before looking at those dates, let’s get familiar with Gomez as a player. He came into the league in 2007 with the Mets before being traded to the Twins in the Johan Santana deal. As a prospect, Gomez was a fascinating case study. I found reports going back to 2006 praising his raw natural power, but it simply never showed up in games. (E.g. “Power is not there now, but potential is there once he adds bulk to his long, lanky frame.”—Kevin Goldstein.) Where his power would take time his speed was immediate and his ticket into a big-league lineup. He never broke double digits in home runs in the minors but he stole over 100 bases combined his first two years on the farm. This was a guy seemingly built to lead off.
Except he wasn’t. Gomez has some superficial qualities of a leadoff hitter. His bat is quick and his speed should never slump. While the bat speed and the foot speed speak to hitting first in the lineup, his actual swing says otherwise.
Please read the rest of the article — including in-depth video analysis — right here. Reminder: It’s completely FREE.