If you had never heard of Moisés Gómez a few days ago, you were certainly not the only person to read this article who hadn’t, a thing I can say with absolute certainty because I, person actively writing this article, will eventually read the article, and I hadn’t heard of him. Admittedly, I am not a huge prospect follower, but I at least have a passing familiarity with the big names in the St. Louis Cardinals system. And Moisés Gómez wasn’t seen as one entering 2022–he was not among the top thirty in the organization per MLB’s rankings. He was once a prospect of some note with the Tampa Bay Rays organization, ranking #13 in the organization entering 2019 per FanGraphs minor league knowers Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel, out-ranking several future Major Leaguers in the process, but after a brutal 301 plate appearances with the AA Montgomery Biscuits, the Rays cut bait and Gómez signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals.
It cannot be stressed enough how absolutely awful Moisés Gómez was last season–yes, 2021 was a weird year for minor leaguers to regain their form, but that same truth applies to the pitchers he was facing. And Moisés Gómez struck out in 38.2% of his plate appearances and hit just eight home runs. Yes, his batting average on balls in play was a bit lower than one might expect, at .259, for a guy with enough speed to have recently played center field, but even giving a mental bump to a 58 wRC+ is thoroughly insufficient.
But consider the weirdness of 2021–I do think it is reasonable to assume that while nearly every player that Moisés Gómez faced in AA had a similar level of rust, that rust would disproportionately affect some players, even if not in a particularly predictive way. It is far too early to conclude if Gómez was such a victim, but the earliest of early returns suggest that not only is Moisés Gómez a far better player than he demonstrated in 2021, but that he has unlocked superpowers that will turn him into, at the bare minimum, Juan Soto in the Major Leagues.
I guess, to be fair and analytical, we should note that Moisés Gómez is a couple months older than Juan Soto, but that’s really more of a reflection on just how unbelievable Juan Soto is than any sort of indictment of Gómez (Soto is also a couple days younger than Dylan Carlson, whose career is just getting started), and so in terms of long-term baseballing godliness, this is a moderate demerit to Moisés Gómez, if probably the only one. Because since joining the Springfield Cardinals, Moisés Gómez has hit six home runs and two doubles in 23 plate appearances. The pessimist might say “it’s 23 plate appearances, which isn’t enough to jump to any conclusions”, but also, those raw totals may just be on the verge of skyrocketing. And this isn’t a prospect having a Jeff Francoeur-esque hot start, BABIPing his way to inflated statistics–his .250 BABIP is the lowest of his career, and even that is fueled by a pair of doubles and zero singles, so in terms of hits that could reasonably be called flukey, Gómez isn’t even receiving that benefit.
When a player has a 308 wRC+ and that isn’t the most transparently unsustainable batting statistic he has (that would be his .952 isolated power), it speaks to absurdity. But on a team with Jordan Walker, Moisés Gómez is rightfully stealing the spotlight by producing unsustainable results in the most sustainable ways possible. It’s not as though there was just some sort of crazy wind luck or particularly terrible pitchers facing the Springfield Cardinals–the only other member of the team with multiple home runs is Chase Pinder, who has the benefit of being quite old for his level at the age of 26. Gómez, though not super young, is a reasonably aged twenty-three year-old.
I’m willing, without a tinge of irony, to buy in at least somewhat to Moisés Gómez–maybe he isn’t actaully the sport’s greatest slugger, but he switched organizations and immediately started absolutely mashing baseballs, which is potentially a reflection on some sort of genuine learned behavior. He wouldn’t be the first outfielder in the 2020s to make a Cardinals/Rays switch and improve dramatically immediately, and in a way not even particularly reflective of his established strengths. Given that, again, he’s older than Dylan Carlson, the guy who plays his position of right field, it’s not as though the Cardinals have a desperate need for this found money, but also, if he somehow managed to keep this up, they would certainly be able to find a spot for him in their future, or at the very least on their 40-man roster (Moisés Gómez is Rule 5 eligible–he was never a threat to be selected last year, but a guy who rakes like this would be extremely intriguing for a team like the Baltimore Orioles that has all the motivation in the world to just throw something against the wall and hope it sticks).
So in conclusion: Is Moisés Gómez the best hitter in professional baseball today? It’s too early to say, but probably.