You gotta love early-season baseball statistics.
At Jonny Gomes' current pace, he will end the 2011 season with 58 home runs and 150 RBI. It would go down as one of the greatest seasons of all time, and Gomes would be celebrated as a hero around these parts.
I'll make a fearless prediction, and say he falls somewhat short of that.
However, at least in the early going, Gomes is displaying a different approach at the plate that reflects in his numbers.
Saturday's 2-for-4 against the Pirates brought his overall batting average to .268 to go with five home runs and 13 RBI.
We all knew he was capable of putting together the occasional hot streak, but what's the difference?
Gomes leads the National League in walks with 15. For the entirety of last year, he had 39. That is a large contributor to his .456 OBP.
Everything about the man at the plate suggests he's dying to swing—the helmet tugs and gyrations, combined with the fact that he's always had to fight for a job.
From personal observation, he's taking a lot more borderline pitches. Last year, he was popping those up.
The increased success comes with a bit of scrutiny, as he started off last year hot, and then faded down the stretch.
Will that be the case again?
Power comes and goes. Hitters slump, but a patient batting eye doesn't, and if Gomes has truly figured out an approach that works for him mentally, he can put together a nice season for the Reds.
Just don't expect him to knock on the door of Roger Maris' old home run record.