Under the Radar Yankees Prospects: Nelson Gomez
Yanks Go Yard is combing through the New York Yankees minor league system in search of hidden gems in this ongoing series. Today, we look at Nelson Gomez.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic for a whopping $2.25 million bonus during the New York Yankees infamous 2014-2015 spending spree, Nelson Gomez is one of the best pure power hitters in the lower levels of the team’s system.
Baseball America had the then-16-year-old third baseman ranked as the sixth best international prospect available that year (subscription required), one spot above fellow Yankee farmhand Wilkerman Garcia. Gomez’s scouting report at the time notes his “outstanding power for his age,” “good bat speed,” and “solid breaking ball recognition.”
The report on Gomez is less glowing when it comes to his defense. While he has played primarily third base because of his plus arm, Ben Badler of BA cites scouts who think his big frame will eventually force him to move to first base or left field because he simply won’t have the range to play the position.
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After signing, Gomez spent his age 17 season in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .243/.350/.435 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI in 274 plate appearances, walking at a healthy 12.4% clip, while keeping his Ks to a manageable 24%.
Gomez’s stateside debut did not go as swimmingly this season. He played 54 games for the Yankees Gulf Coast League affiliate and really struggled to make enough contact to put his power to good use, posting a .194/.249/.403 slash line with nine homers in 213 PA. His walk rate plummeted to 3.7% while his strikeouts ticked up slightly to 25.8%.
It is still an open question whether Gomez will be able to hit consistently enough as he progresses into the higher levels of the system to remain a legitimate prospect. He’s got a long swing and tends to swing and miss a ton, but his pure strength makes up for a number of the holes in his game.
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Gomez just turned 19 in October, so he might benefit from another shot at the GCL. He was a year and a half younger than his average competition this season, so it’s not completely shocking that he had some difficulties. He remains an intriguing talent who could break out and establish himself as one of the organization’s best young power bats.