April 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Boston Red Sox 2013 Offseason Tracker: Jonny Gomes

MCT

Jonny Gomes

Former team: Oakland Athletics

Position: Outfield

Contract: 2-year, $10 million

Projected role: Starting left fielder

In 2011, the Boston Red Sox were accused of focusing on beer, chicken and video games instead of securing a 10-game AL East lead late in the season. In 2012, manager Bobby Valentine did everything in his power to alienate himself in Boston, which caused even more turmoil in the locker room.

This season, Red Sox management understandably decided to make an attempt to ensure that nothing akin to another Valentine or chicken and beer fiasco occurred. The hiring of a familiar face at manager, in former pitching coach John Farrell, and the signing of respected “clubhouse guy” Jonny Gomes, was the first step in this direction.

Gomes spent last season helping the Oakland Athletics claim an improbable AL West title. He’s a glue guy, a player who commentators rave about for “loosening up the clubhouse.” Gomes didn’t just lead from the locker room, as he excelled from the plate when given the opportunity to play.

Overall, Gomes showed power (18 home runs in just 333 plate appearances), a propensity to get on base (.377 OBP) and even hit for a decent average (.262). He ranked 17th in the league in home runs per at bat, according to ESPN. Most of his damage came against left-handed pitching — he smacked 11 home runs, in just under 200 plate appearances and posted a .974 OPS. Gomes also did the majority of his work away from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, a good sign for Boston.

Expecting Gomes to match his 2012 power production could be reasonable — he’s hit 18-plus home runs in five seasons, and batted .262 or better in three of the past four years.

Recently, Gomes made it clear that he wanted to be an everyday player. The way Boston’s outfield looks on paper, it’s a real possibility he’ll get a shot. According to mlbdepthcharts.com, the Red Sox currently list just four major league outfielders. Jacoby Ellsbury and the recently signed Shane Victorino are shoe-ins to start in center and right, respectively.

That essentially leaves Gomes and Daniel Nava fighting for the job in left field, after news that Ryan Kalish required possibly season-ending surgery. Nava is a 30-year-old lifetime minor leaguer, who has showed some worth in his 505 major league plate appearances, but best case scenario for him is a platoon job with Gomes.

However, if Gomes gets the 600 plate appearances he desires, do not expect the success he experienced last year to translate. Handing a starting job over to Gomes would mean batting him versus right-handed pitching, which, other than fielding, is arguably his biggest weakness.

In his career, Gomes has posted an ugly .223/.307/.425 line against right-handed pitching and an impressive .284/.382/.512 line versus left-handed pitching.

Here are Gomes’ lefty-right splits for the last three years with plate appearances in parentheses:

2012

RH (137)- .209/.324/.391

LH (196)- .299/.413/.561

2011

RH (264)- .167/.292/.362

LH (108)- .311/.407/.456

2010

RH (375)- .257/.301/.408

LH (196)- .285/.378/.479

As recent stats show, Jonny Gomes crushes left-handed pitching, but we can not laud his exploits against left-handed pitching without mentioning his struggles against right-handed pitching.

There’s no question Gomes should be the starter, but he does not warrant Ellsbury or Pedroia at-bats. I would start him against every lefty, and split the starts versus right-handed pitching between him and Nava. That gives Gomes the playing time he desires, and ensures the best interests of the team.

If used properly, Gomes could prove a great signing for Boston. All indications point to an improved clubhouse atmosphere with his addition, and it would be an added bonus if Gomes could replicate his 2012 offensive season in a platoon role.

Jackson Alexander can be reached at jtalexan@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Alexander.

 

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