The Yankees signed third baseman Nelson Gomez as part of their big 2014 International Free Agent spending spree. At the time, Gomez was ranked as the second-best prospect in the IFA class by MLB.com and ranked sixth on Baseball America’s list.
Gomez made his professional debut during the 2015 season in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. In 58 games, he hit .243/.350/.435 with nine doubles, a triple and 11 home runs. He drove in 55 runs and walked 34 times, but struck out 66 times in 230 at-bats.
On July 3, 2015, he had a big game, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and two home runs. He drove in eight runs and walked twice.
In 2016, he made his debut in the United States with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, but he struggled to hit. Over 54 games for the GCL Yankees, he hit just .194/.249/.403 with 11 doubles, a triple and nine home runs. In 54 games, he drove in 37 runners and walked just eight times.
He did hit better as the season went on, with just a .136 batting average in June, a .173 average in July and a .227 average in August.
Nelson Gomez is the prototypical power prospect. He won’t hit for a high average, he will strike out a lot, but will smash the ball. In 120 professional games, he already has 20 home runs and 92 RBIs. He has plus-raw power with good bat speed and just needs to work on his pitch recognition and get more comfortable at the plate. As he develops through the minors, he needs to cut down on his strikeouts.
Gomez is a big guy and not extremely athletic, though he does possess good hands at third base. There is a chance as he further fills into his body he will have to move across the diamond to first.
Gomez, like several others from the 2014 IFA Class, has struggled so far, but he did get better as the 2016 season went on. With two teams in the Gulf Coast League entered by the Yankees, it would not be surprising to see him repeat the level for his age 19 season. However, if he impresses in extended spring training, do not be surprised to see him in the Appalachian League with the Pulaski Yankees.