Maybe Yan Gomes Really Was the Bat the Cubs Were Missing
I joked in the EBS about the Cubs’ offense needing Yan Gomes back to really break out, but, you know, it hasn’t really been all that much of a joke this season. I think the Cubs were really missing Gomes’ production while he was on the IL.
Gomes, 35, is hitting a career-best 324/.347/.592/151 wRC+ after another big night at the plate last night, good for the best offensive production on the Cubs at the moment, just ahead of Patrick Wisdom and Ian Happ.
Among all catchers with at least 70 plate appearances, Gomes’ wRC+ trails only Sean Murphy, Will Smith, and Jonah Heim. Former Cubs catcher (and former catcher, really) Willson Contreras is hitting .266/.345/.391/108 wRC+, for what that’s worth.
The underlying metrics suggest Gomes is getting a bit lucky, with his xwOBA some 70 points below his actual wOBA. That said, Gomes has by far the best barrel rate of his career (12.7%), has already recorded a career-high max exit velocity this year (109.6 mph), and has the best hard hit rate of his career. In other words, while the sample is small, Gomes has in fact been hitting the ball better than he ever has. He’s also striking out just 12.0% of the time, again, a career-best by a mile.
So maybe I shouldn’t kid about the Cubs needing Gomes’ bat? Because he’s been providing them a whole lot at the plate when healthy, including his home run last night.
Of course, what Gomes does that is most sustainable – and most valuable – is working with the pitching staff help them succeed. They feel that: