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MVBrewers #8: Carlos Gomez

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Go-Go wasn't the superstar that he had been in 2013-14, but the centerfielder helped net some big pieces for the Brewers' future.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Gomez was the heart and soul of the Brewers' lineup from 2013-14, collecting 11.3 WARP while hitting a collective .284/.347/.491 with 47 home runs, 74 stolen bases, 130 wRC+, and 17.7 Fielding Runs Above Average. He captured the Gold Glove in 2013, along with the hearts of many in Milwaukee who watched him breakout into a superstar.

Carlos wasn't quite the same in 2015, however. He got off to a slow start in April, hitting just .235/.257/.441 through his first 34 plate appearances before hitting the disabled list with a hamstring strain on April 16th. By the time Carlos returned in early May, the Brewers were out of the race, had fired their manager, and talks of a rebuild had already begun.

Though he was back on the field, GoGo never quite looked entirely healthy during his remaining time in Milwaukee. He received periodic days off and his play on the field, while useful, was nowhere near the levels it had been previously. His play in centerfield was notably diminished; he committed six errors in 622.2 innings and was credited with only two Defensive Runs Saved and 0.7 FRAA. His leg and hamstring issues also limited Carlos to only seven stolen bases in 13 attempts and 1.5 base running runs.

At the plate, Carlos' walk rate (7.3%) and strikeout rate (22.3%) remained mostly in line with the numbers he put up over the previous two seasons, but he experienced more than a 30 point drop in his Isolated Power. His line drive rate and hard hit rate both dropped precipitously. He struggled greatly against sliders, a pitch that he crushed during his MVP caliber run. After posting a combined 11.0 wSL (slider runs above average) from 2013-14 according to Pitch F/X, Gomez was could only muster a well below average mark of -5.6 wSL while in Milwaukee in 2015. Opponents exploited this weakness by throwing the pitch to him 21.2% of the time, the highest total against Carlos since 2009. According to Brooks Baseball, he hit only .222 with a 20% whiff rate against the pitch, as opponents buried it mostly low-and-away.

In 74 games with the Brewers before being dealt, Carlos managed a only a .262/.328/.423 batting line with eight home runs in 314 plate appearances, good enough for a 104 wRC+. He was valued at 1.5 WARP and 1.6 fWAR during his time with the Brewers this season. After a near-trade to the Mets, Gomez was packaged with Mike Fiers in a blockbuster deal with the Houston Astros on July 30th. The four players that the Brewers got back - Domingo SantanaBrett PhillipsJosh Hader, and Adrian Houser - all have the ability and opportunity to be important big league players in the near future.

Gomez experienced further health issues after being dealt to Houston, and managed only a .242/287/.383 line in 41 games played following the trade. The Astros backed into the playoffs but Gomez contributed a couple home runs - including this one in a 3-0 Wild Card victory over the Yankees - before Houston was eliminated by Kansas City in the ALDS.

During his time in Milwaukee, Carlos Gomez was finally "let loose" by management and he exuded joy and happiness on the baseball field. He morphed from a failed prospect to All-Star centerfielder, winning over Wisconsinites with his all-out style of play, fun and exuberant personality, and bat flips a-plenty (though that often led to controversies like in Atlanta and Pittsburgh). He'll never be forgotten for scoring the winning run in the deciding game against Arizona in the 2011 NLDS, and his legacy in Milwaukee will continue to live on through the prospects he helped the Brewers acquire. For that and much more, Brewers fans should be eternally grateful to the player voted as this year's eighth most valuable Brewer.