Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If you are struggling at the outfield position, either due to injury or poor play, have I got a player for you!
His name is Jonny Gomes (ADP 359), outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds and he's only owned in about 55% of all leagues.
Let me tell you about Gomes, how he is performing to date and his career early-season trends.
Through 14 games, Gomes is batting just .261, but has an impressive OPS of 1.131 because he's already hit six homers in 46 at-bats. An even better indicator of how well he's hitting is that Gomes, always a free swinger, leads the league in walks with 15.
Now the recommendation does comes with a caveat - Gomes has an expiration date. Over his eight-year career, the 30-year-old has proven again and again that he is only a first half hitter. By July, things will go downhill and you will need to have an alternative strategy.
Here are the statistics...
Before the All-Star break, Gomes has a career slugging percentage of .500 and an OPS of .846. After the break its .431 and .749, respectively. His three best OPS months are April (.916), May (.803) and June (.853). Gomes' three worst months are July (.733), August (.781) and September (.738).
Gomes' career OPS versus a southpaw is .890 and against a righthander is just .752.
He's also a great "cripple hitter." When he gets ahead in the count, his OPS skyrockets, which is why his current walk total is significant. When the count is 2-0 his career OPS is .989. At 2-1 it is 1.291, at 3-1 it's 1.338 and he's simply a "monster" when the count is 3-0, with a scorching OPS of 2.456. By comparison, Albert Pujols' career OPS with a 3-0 count is 1.946.
So if you want to put Gomes in the best situation, start him in games against lefthanders with control problems during the months of April, May and June.
The bad news is that the Sports Network Pitching Planner has Gomes facing four consecutive righthanders this week beginning on Monday, but don't be afraid to pick him up.
With a lineup that includes power hitting lefties like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce teams will throw enough lefthanders out there to keep Gomes happy and hitting...at least until the end of June.