Sunday, April 02, 2017

Bouncing back: The 2017 Player Preview for Jeanmar Gomez

Man that September was brutal for Jeanmar Gomez. The Phillies reliever lost his spot as the closer, tossing out a 19.18 ERA after giving up 21 hits and five walks in eight innings. That's three base runners an inning.


The righthander, meanwhile, has been so solid since the start of the 2013 season. During that span, he's appeared in 213 games, compiling a 3.59 ERA, a 3.83 FIP and a 1.346 WHIP.

This is the 16th in a series of posts previewing the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies. We most recently looked at Aaron Altherr. This post looks at closer Jeanmar Gomez, who has been a consistent reliever for much of the past four years. Then the final month of the season changed all that.

Gomez doesn't strike anyone out. That much is clear. He's averaged fewer than 6 strikeouts per nine innings over the past four years, and he didn't even reach that level prior to 2013. But he's also stingy with free passes, giving up fewer than 3 per nine innings. He also doesn't give up home runs, allowing just 50 in 492 innings.

Manager Pete Mackanin made it clear early on that Gomez would be the closer to start the season.

Many Phillies fans were outraged, seemingly forgetting that there was talk early in 2016 that Gomez could end up on an All Star squad.

No doubt, Mack will have a short leash on Gomez. However, the outrage is almost absurd, considering its often coming from people who profess that teams should use their best relievers in the most important situations and those situations aren't always the final three outs of the game.

I'm in the camp that says the guy who escapes a seventh inning jam did a more important job than the guy who walks onto the mound to get three straight outs with a 2- or 3-run lead.

If you ask me who the Phillies' three best relievers are, I'd argue for Pat Neshak, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris. I want them shutting down offenses in the seventh and eighth innings. If Gomez bounces back to being a passable closer, the Phillies could have a very good bullpen.