Indians catcher Yan Gomes had put up numbers deserving of an All-Star trip this season at the position, but was pinched out of consideration as Tampa Bay’s Wilson Ramos was named the American League starter through the voting process and Kansas City’s Salvador Perez earned a spot on the roster as the sole representative of the Royals.
That all changed late Saturday night, as Ramos pulled out of Tuesday’s All-Star game with a hamstring strain that will send him to the disabled list. Gomes was named his replacement on the American League roster.
Gomes found out late in the Indians’ 5-4 loss to the New York Yankees that he was selected for the first All-Star team of his Major League career and just the second of his professional career (he was a Florida State League midseason All-Star for Dunedin back in 2010). He becomes the first Brazilian-born ball player to be selected to an MLB All-Star team.
Gomes joins battery mates Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, infielders Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, and outfielder Michael Brantley as six representatives of the Indians heading to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. He joins Bauer in the group in making his first trip to a Midsummer Classic.
Six All-Stars is the largest single-season total by the Indians since 1999, when Roberto Alomar, Kenny Lofton, Charles Nagy, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, and Omar Vizquel were selected to the American League team. Five players from the team (including four from this season’s grouping) made the trip to Miami to participate in last season’s exhibition.
The 30-year-old backstop Gomes is enjoying a bounce-back year at the plate and really picked up his play last month, when in 20 games he hit .284 with a .360 on-base percentage and a .537 slugging mark with season highs in hits (19), doubles (8), homers (3), walks (7), and RBI (11).
After bursting onto the scene for the Indians with a strong second half in 2013, he hit a career-high 21 homers and drove in 74 runs while batting .278 in 135 games in 2014, winning the AL’s Silver Slugger award at his position. Since then, he has struggled with injury, performance, or both on the field. He played 95 games in 2015 and missed time early in the year with a sprained knee. In 2016, he played in his lowest total of games since his rookie season with Toronto in 2012 while dealing with a separated right shoulder. He worked in 74 games that season while scuffling mightily at the plate, putting up a .167 average and a .201 OBP after drawing just nine walks in 264 plate appearances.
He stayed healthy last year, but his numbers still failed to reach the levels of 2014 while working in a timeshare with Roberto Perez.
With one game left in the first half of the season, Gomes has appeared in 68 games, slashing .247/.307/.437 on the year with 17 doubles, ten homers, and 31 RBI. He has been one of the top offensive catchers in the American League. He ranks second in runs, third in WAR, fifth in RBI and slugging, sixth in homers, and seventh in average among all AL backstops with 100 plate appearances or more.
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