Carlos Gomez is one of the dozen best players in baseball

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I was looking up some of Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez’s numbers today, basically just to make myself sad as a Twins fan frustrated by his becoming another player to thrive after leaving Minnesota. I then tweeted about how good Gomez has been, calling him one of the dozen best players in baseball, and I was surprised by how many replies I got acting like that was a ridiculous notion.

It’s not.

Look at how he’s developed as a hitter during the past three seasons:

2012: .260 batting average, 19 homers, 42 total extra-base hits, 37 steals, .768 OPS in 137 games.

2013: .284 batting average, 24 homers, 61 total extra-base hits, 40 steals, .843 OPS in 147 games.

2014: .317 batting average, 11 homers, 27 total extra-base hits, 9 steals, .974 OPS in 47 games.

Add it all up and during that two-and-a-half year span Gomez has hit .281 with 54 homers, 60 doubles, 16 triples, 86 stolen bases, and an .838 OPS in 331 games. Among the hitters with a lower OPS during that span: Evan Longoria, Nelson Cruz, Bryce Harper, Albert Pujols, Ryan Zimmerman, Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran, Mike Napoli, Justin Upton, Adam Jones, Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Rios, Jay Bruce.

Oh, and Gomez is a Gold Glove center fielder too.

Wins Above Replacement attempts to measure a player’s offensive, defensive, and baserunning contributions and dating back to 2012 he has the eighth-highest WAR total in all of baseball among position players. It’s fine to be surprised by how good Gomez has been lately, but at this point the only reason “he’s one of the dozen best players in baseball” might be mockable is that it undersells just how good he’s become at age 28.

And trust me, as a Minnesotan it pains me a great deal to say that.

Ron Darling rips Mets trainers after yet another player goes down with an injury

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Last night starter Robert Gsellman became the latest Mets player to go down with an injury when he strained his hamstring while running out a ground ball. He’s certain to go on the disabled list, making him the sixth Mets starter to go down this year. He’ll join Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, Neil Walker, Matt Harvey, David Wright, Jeurys Familia and many, many other Mets on the DL.

Mets broadcaster Ron Darling is fed up with it. Last night, after Gsellman went down, he went off on the Mets trainers, who he believes to be enabling all of this:

“[These] trainers, get them in a room with some of the old trainers and people that took care of baseball players and how to keep them healthy. And get them in a room and try to tap into their knowledge on how you train baseball players — not weightlifters, not six-pack wearers — baseball players. They’re doing a disservice to their million-dollar athletes that they’re paying. It’s a joke to watch this happen each and every night.”

Here’s video of his rant:

Darling is certainly tapping into a frustration a lot of Mets fans feel. For years the Mets injury issues have vexed the fanbase, less so for the sheer number of them — other teams have had more DL trips for their players — than for the manner in which they were handled and/or discussed by the team. They’ve often been loathe to use the disabled list even when it makes sense to and have, at times, run guys out to play despite there being serious red flags which would counsel most teams from doing so.

But is he right about why the players are getting injured? It’s a commonly held bit of conventional wisdom that players using weight training and being muscular makes them more brittle, but I’m unaware of any science that backs that up (if you have some, please pass it along, I’d genuinely be interested in reading it). Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but Darling seems so certain about it.

He could be right. But I also suspect that Darling may be falling prey to some back-in-my-dayism that retired players often exhibit. Are players getting injured more or are they merely being diagnosed better? Are they getting more seriously injured, or are they just taken out of action more quickly rather than be left to play through injuries like so many old timers have claimed they had to back in the 50s, 60s and 70s? Fireballers used to try to hang on as junkballers after suffering elbow injuries that today would send a guy to surgery. There was a much greater tolerance for lumbering slow dudes who might take it easy with a bad hammy as opposed to getting shut down now.

None of which is to say that Darling is wrong, necessarily. Like I said, maybe there is something to the idea that weight training and musculature makes a player more brittle. But I am always loathe to nod along with an old player who says the science and medicine surrounding sports has regressed compared to where it was back in his day. It may be true, but it’s counterintuitive given how science and medicine usually work. And when you offer a counterintuitive take like that, I think you need more evidence than your frustration at an injury occurring in front of you in real time.

Bryce Harper is pretty clearly messing with people

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Not too long ago some rumors popped up about Bryce Harper wanting to sign with the Cubs when he hits free agency following the 2018 season. Such rumors are sort of silly this far out — and they almost always tend to be non-predictive of where the player eventually goes — but they tend to get folks excited or concerned, depending on who they root for.

With the Cubs in town to face the Nationals, Harper was asked about those rumors again. He wisely dismissed them, saying he had no idea where that stuff comes from. Which is what someone in his position should say.

Not that he’s not going to have some fun with it. Check out his Instagram post with friend Kris Bryant. Specifically, check out the hashtag:

#Back2BackOneDay is, of course, an implication that he’d be hitting behind Bryant in the same batting order.

Harper is no idiot. He’s not going to use social media, in the middle of a season, two seasons before he could even potentially play elsewhere, to send genuine signals about wanting to leave the Nationals and join the Cubs. He’s just messing with the rumormongers. As he TOTALLY SHOULD by the way, because rumormongers deserve to be messed with.

Not that the rumormongers won’t take this a genuine evidence of his intent. The rumormongers aren’t big on subtle humor.