Gomez v. Delmon

stevefetch
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I had a recent discussion on Twitter with someone about the value of playing Carlos Gomez over playing Delmon Young. Since I’m experiencing some mild blogger’s block right now, I figured I might as well tackle this problem, even though it’s a layup.

Shockingly enough, Delmon Young enjoyed a “career year” of sorts last year in Minnesota, with a .324 wOBA, and he only struck out 3 times more than he walked. Hooray! He also had a career high speed score of 5.4. All things put together he was “only” 2.3 runs below average.

Carlos Gomez has been pretty bad offensively, although unlike Young he was rushed to the big leagues. In 2007 the Mets started him in the Florida State League before skipping him to AAA and ended up giving him 139 big league plate appearances. He responded by being, as to be expected, terrible.

But there are reasons for optimism. His BB% is as high as its ever been, and his K% as low. The percentage of balls outside the strike zone that he’s swung at has gone down every year he’s been a major leaguer. In 2007 it was 41.4%, in 2008 it was 36.8% and this year it is 27.7% The league average this year is exactly 25% As Gomez learns to be more selective he should be even better at the plate. If he can hit a few more balls into the gap it hopefully will force pitchers to pitch around him a little more and he can take more walks and thus use his speed on the bases a bit more.

Defensively, there really is no competition between the two. Last year Carlos Gomez was one of the best CF’s in the game, ranking 4th on balls in his zone in John Dewan’s rankings, and 1st on balls outside his zone. Delmon, meanwhile, has a career UZR of 7.3 in right field, but in left field he has been terrible (-26.2). Gomez was over a 2 WAR player last year, even though his hitting was nearly 16 runs below average. That’s how good his defense is.

To conclude, let’s look at Beyond the Boxscore’s trade value calculator to see what value Young and Gomez each have.

A quick primer: “Sal” is their salary, WAR is their wins above replacement, “Val” is their value based on their WAR, and “Net” is the difference in what they are being paid and what they are worth. I used Cot’s for the salaries and FanGraphs for the WAR data.

In addition, I am projecting slight improvements to both Delmon and Gomez since I’m in a generous mood.

Carlos Gomez
YearSal (M)WARVal (M)Net (M)Sal (M)Arb %
2009$0.40.8$3.8$3.4$0.4
2010$0.52.0$9.4$8.9$0.5
2011$4.32.3$10.8$6.540%
2012$7.02.5$11.7$4.760%
2013
2014
2015
2016
FA Picks$5.0
Total$12.27.6$40.6$28.4
Delmon Young
YearSal (M)WARVal (M)Net (M)Sal (M)Arb %
2009$1.2-0.5-$2.1-$3.2$1.2
2010$0.20.0$0.4$0.240%
2011$0.80.2$1.3$0.560%
2012$1.00.2$1.3$0.380%
2013
2014
2015
2016
FA Picks$5.0
Total$3.1-0.1$6.0$2.8

As you can see, Gomez absolutely murders Young. Part of this is the major league deal Young signed when he came into the league. But part of it is that Young sucks. Using research by Victor Wang, which Erik Manning graciously tossed into a table, you can see what each player is worth in terms of prospects. Given the fact that I was extremely conservative with Gomez, he could probably fetch a top 100 pitcher, where as Young would fetch a nice pack of Big League Chew. It’s settled: Gomez > Young

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