Jonny Gomes — who drew precisely 39 walks in the entire 2010 season — is leading the major leagues with 12 walks in his first eight games. You read that right: Gomes is leading the major leagues in free passes received. It’s crazy, but it also illustrates the value of a walk to an offense.
Gomes’ batting average is a paltry .227. Terrible, right? Thirty years ago, we would all have agreed that Gomes had started the season poorly. Look at his on-base percentage, though: .486. He’s getting on base almost half the time! Now, look at his slugging percentage: .545. Yep, Gomes has an OPS of 1031. That’s elite territory.
Yes, these are absurdly small sample sizes. While I’m happy that Gomes has shown some plate discipline early in the season (and kudos to Gomes for that!), I won’t bet the ranch that it will continue — though I certainly hope it does. I just thought it was a neat little example of how a player can be very productive (at the plate; we won’t discuss defense) with a low batting average.