Jonny Gomes was brought in this offseason to add some pop from the right side of the plate. But while the outfielder has traditionally fared better against left-handed pitching, he’s now out to prove he’s more than just a platoon player.
Gomes’ career splits show a stark contrast between how he performs against lefties and how he does when facing righties — the magnitude of which can be seen below.
Versus left-handers (1,100 plate appearances): .284 average, .382 on-base percentage, .512 slugging percentage, .894 OPS.
Versus right-handers (1,960 plate appearances): .223 average, .307 on-base percentage, .425 slugging percentage, .732 OPS.
These numbers have left some wondering how Red Sox manager John Farrell will use Gomes this season, and whether the 32-year-old slugger will serve as the team’s everyday left fielder or split time with someone who fares better against right-handers. Regardless of Farrell’s plans, though, Gomes is hoping to show he can produce no matter who’s pitching.
“You look at baseball cards, there’s no such thing as a position of a ‘guy that hits lefties’ or a ‘guy that hits righties,’” Gomes said before Thursday’s 74th annual Boston Baseball Writers’ dinner, according to the Boston Herald. “You either hit or you don’t.
“Are they different? They are different, 100 percent, lefty and righty. But I didn’t hit just lefties in the 12-year-old All-Stars. Coming up through the minors, I didn’t have a swing that just hits lefties. I work very hard in the offseason to condition myself to be ready for 162 [games].”
General manager Ben Cherington has said that the team is looking at some right-handed options who can play the outfield and first base. Whether that means less playing time for Gomes remains to be seen, but the powerful outfielder seems to have the right mentality as spring training approaches.