By Jeff Louderback
Along with versatile infielder Pedro Ciriaco, right-handed slugging first baseman/DH Mauro Gomez was a wise minor league free agent signing by Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington last offseason. The 28-year-old Gomez captured the International League MVP award and had a successful Major League debut with Boston. This offseason, he earned more hardware.
Gomez was named Co-MVP of the Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la Republicana Dominicana (Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League). He shared the award with former Pawtucket infielder and Major League and Minor League veteran Hector Luna.
In 49 games for Leones del Escogido (Escogido Lions), Gomez batted .242 with a .824 OPS, 10 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, and a league-leading 33 runs scored and 37 RBI in 178 at-bats. The Dominican Republic native also belted two game-winning grand slams.
Gomez has showcased his power since he made his minor league debut in the Texas Rangers farm system in 2003. He has 130 home runs over nine minor league seasons, including 24 in each of the last two years at the Triple-A level.
In 2011, Gomez ripped 24 home runs and 34 doubles, drove in 90 runs, hit .304 and posted a .878 OPS at Triple-A Gwinnett (Atlanta). Boston signed him as a minor league free agent to provide depth at Pawtucket, where he batted .310 with a .960 OPS, 24 home runs, 74 RBI and 34 doubles.
With the Red Sox plagued with injuries at the Major League level, Gomez earned his first taste in the bigs and responded with a .275 average, a .746 OPS, two home runs, five doubles, two triples and 17 RBI in 102 at-bats.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Gomez is listed as a corner infielder, but he is below average defensively at third base and is best suited as a first baseman and a DH.