The Yankees farm system is pretty well-stocked behind the plate. Although the organization’s catching talent is concentrated in the lower levels of the minors, the Yankees seem especially excited about several of the organization’s young prospects who have demonstrated promise behind the plate. One of those prospects is Antonio Gomez, a catcher who the Yankees signed out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old in 2018.
2019 Stats (Rookie - DSL, GCL Yankees): 57 PA, .288/.351/.442, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 15.8 K%, 7.0 BB% (15 Games, 52 At-Bats)
Prospect Rankings (Yankees System): 21 (MLB.com), 10 (FanGraphs)
The Yankees are eager to gain a more complete picture of Gomez and what his future projections might look like. He continued to impress the organization in the Yankees’ Dominican instructional league this past fall, but all things considered, Gomez has played just 15 games in Rookie Ball—and that was in 2019. His playing time has been limited by a left triceps injury and last year’s canceled minor league season, though he was previously ranked by Baseball America among the Gulf Coast League’s top five prospects in 2019.
The 2021 minor league season will provide Gomez with valuable room to further develop his tools and cement his position and stock in both MiLB and the Yankees organization. Let’s take a look at what he brings to the battery.
Gomez has a powerful arm—it’s what the Yankees scouts initially found so attractive about him. His above-average arm strength was graded as a 70 on the 20-80 scale that baseball scouts use, and he likely has room to develop it further. With a speedy pop-time and ability to get rid of the ball rapidly, Gomez has a penchant for throwing guys out and his arm makes runners hesitant to steal when he’s catching. Because his defensive intuition, framing, and receiving skills are also quite good, Gomez is a true catching prospect, rather than a hitter with the ability to learn the position.
This is Antonio Gomez. That's a 1.83 pop time in a game. At 16 years old. Going to the Yankees. https://t.co/YaXTsiQ1Mr pic.twitter.com/bCZMy12irE— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) July 2, 2018
In addition to his defensive potential, Gomez can hit for power. Still, hitting is the weakest part of his game. He has a tendency to pull the ball, and often rolls over pitches and grounds out more than he would like. Working on his ability to hit the ball to all areas of the field will benefit Gomez tremendously. And at the end of the day, his hitting weaknesses are quite common among minor leaguers, especially the younger ones. He has plenty of time to hone his skills in that regard. On the bright side, Gomez’s mechanics with the bat are sound, as he has an effortless-looking swing, good rotation and quick hands.
An aspect of his game which shouldn’t be overlooked: every scouting report on Gomez mentions his leadership ability. At the time the Yankees signed him in 2018, Gomez was already fully bilingual and fluent in English. In addition to eliminating communication and culture shock issues that many international players must go through, Gomez being bilingual will help him manage and work with pitchers as he progresses through the Yankees’ minor-league system. Considering how young he is, this confidence and initiative can only expedite his development in that regard.