Yan Gomes knows the Blue Jays are fully stocked with strong young catching talent, but that won't stop him from striving to achieve his dream of reaching the big leagues. Currently assigned to the Phoenix Desert Dogs, Gomes welcomes the chance to play against the tough Arizona Fall League competition, to improve his game.
Gomes discribed the AFL assignment as an honor. He is pleased to be among the small group of players representing the Toronto organization in the off-season league and feels that facing some solid talent from other leagues might help to improve his game.
"It's a chance to up your game. Everybody's out here looking to do good and show off a bit, so I am looking forward to getting my playing time against great pitchers and great players," Gomes stated.
Off to somewhat of a slow start, through 6 games played for the Desert Dogs, Gomes has gone 3-for-17 (.176 avg) with 1 RBI.
Ranked behind such stud backstops as J.P. Arencibia and Travis d'Arnaud, with Carlos Perez and A.J. Jimenez on the rise, Gomes doesn't wish to get lost in the shuffle. The 24-year-old Brazilian born prospect wants to seize every opportunity he can.
In 79 games for the Double-A Eastern League champion New Hampshire Fisher Cats in 2011, Gomes posted a .250/.317/.464 line with 13 homeruns and 51 RBI. Gomes, a 10th round draft choice by Toronto in 2009, also spent some time with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51's, appearing in 4 games with them.
The 6-foot-2-inch 215-pounder feels the brief time playing up one level was beneficial to his game as he moves forward.
"I got to experience the next level and go from Double-A to Triple-A," Gomes said. "It was kind of like a sneak peak at what's up there. There are a lot of veterans with experience (in the Pacific Coast League). I feel like I did pretty good, even though my stats (3-for-14) may not show it, but I felt pretty comfortable up there, so that's definitely a good thing."
While he's excited to be playing in the AFL this autumn and grateful for the opportunity to play at Triple-A for a short spell, the highlight of the year for Gomes was certainly helping the Fisher Cats lock down their third ever EL title. As far as Gomes is concerned, there's nothing greater than sharing that level of success with all of your teammates.
"It was such a great year (with the Fisher Cats). With that team camaraderie, everybody did good and that just helped everyone out. We all fed off of each other and it was definitely a great experience all around for everybody and we all value the success we had."
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