After trading up-and-coming prospect Lorenzo Cain to the Royals just before the 2011 season, the Brewers' center field position was there for the taking. Two candidates emerged: Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez.
After a surprisingly superb season, Morgan's production has dwindled in 2012. Gomez, on the other hand, has demonstrated that he can stay more consistent and has shown flashes of brilliance.
As a prospect, Gomez was considered one of those rare five-tool players. Unfortunately, he hasn't exactly lived up to those expectations.
The 26-year-old has a career batting average of .245 to go along with 37 home runs. He has been more of a bust than a boom.
However, things may be finally turning around for the speedy Gomez.
This season has definitely been his best. After beating out Morgan as the everyday center fielder, Gomez has seen his numbers rise. In only 97 games this season, he has career-highs in home runs (12), on-base-percentage (.303) and slugging percentage (.464).
Gomez hit .274 in July and has posted a .262 average in August thus far. If he can be a consistent .270 hitter, that J.J. Hardy for Gomez trade will look brilliant for Milwaukee.
Gomez has intangibles that don't show up in the box score. His effort is unmatched and his hustle is rare. You just don't see many players run out every ground ball or pop-up like Gomez.
The Brewers center fielder has by far the strongest arm in the outfield for Milwaukee. As one of the fastest players in the major leagues, running down fly balls is child's play.
With Gomez's ability to be a five-tool player, his above-average defensive set of skills and no clear replacement in center field, it would be foolish for the Brewers not to keep Gomez around. Plus, he is destined to be a free agent after the 2013 season.
Carlos Gomez may never live up to his full potential, but he is still a solid play in center field.