After all, to that point, the 27-year-old Dominican outfielder had been something of an underachiever. Gomez was once the centerpiece of a huge trade between the New York Mets and Minnesota Twins that sent Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to Gotham. However, Gomez came into the 2013 season a career .247/.294/.379 hitter with speed and tools, but as a player who was already with his third organization.
He was, however, coming off the best year of his career in 2012, having hit a career-best .260/.305/.463 with a career-high 19 home runs, 51 RBI, 72 runs and a career-best 37 stolen bases.
All he did in 2013 was blow away ever career high he owned. Not only was he the Brewers101.com Player of the Year, he was considered one of the most valuable players in the National League with what he did with both bat, legs and glove.
At the plate, Gomez became the first player in Brewers’ history to have at least 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases in the same season, finishing with 24 homers and 40 steals. He tied for second in the NL with 10 triples, tied for eighth with 61 extra base hits, scored 80 runs, drove in 73 and batted .284/.338/.506.
In the process, he made his first All-Star Game and is considered by many to be the favorite to win his first career Gold Glove.
In terms of value, Gomez had a terrific year. According to FanGraphs.com, he was second among National League position players to Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates in wins above replacement at 7.6. Baseball-Reference.com had Gomez as the most valuable position player in the NL in terms of WAR at 8.4, second in the majors behind only Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
While Gomez did great things at the plate for the injury-depleted Brewers, it was what he did in center field that really captured the attention of baseball fans.
The 2013 season turned into a veritable compilation of amazing defensive plays by Gomez, perhaps none that made more of a splash than this game-ending catch of what would have been a go-ahead home run by Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds:
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