Cleveland adds second Gomes to Tribe
Younger brother of Yan Gomes, Juan, drafted in 37th round
Sitting at home with his parents, watching the Indians and Rangers do battle on a sunny Saturday afternoon, Juan Gomes tensed up as his older brother Yan stepped into the batter's box. With two men on base in a tie game, he had a funny feeling that however Yan's at-bat ended would set the tone for the rest of his day.
"I took a little second to talk to the man upstairs and said 'if you get Yan to hit a home run right here, good things are going to happen today,'" Juan Gomes said.
The hunch was right: Yan Gomes crushed a three-run homer that helped the Indians to a win, and later that same afternoon the Indians selected Juan in the 37th round of the First-Year Player Draft.
"These are moments that I will cherish," Juan Gomes said. "The family is going crazy over here."
Yan Gomes, meanwhile, was checking his phone after the game when he saw the update that Juan had been drafted by his organization. Ecstatic, he immediately got on the phone with his brother.
"I was acting like I was the one who got drafted or something," said Yan Gomes, who agreed to a six-year, $23 million extension with the team in March. "It was extremely emotional and I'm super happy for him."
Though Yan Gomes is in the midst of his second season as starting catcher for the Tribe, playing backstop will be a new challenge for Juan, who spent parts of high school and college playing anywhere from infield to the outfield and even a little pitcher. Of course, Yan Gomes followed a similiar path in his younger days, starting mostly as an infielder at Tennessee before being drafted as a catcher by the Blue Jays.
"Hopefully he resembles his brother," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Saturday.
Juan Gomes attends Odessa College, a JUCO program in Texas, but did not play baseball there last season due to ineligibility. He said he had spent the past year trying to regain that status, but with an opportunity to play for the Tribe at his doorstep, the younger Gomes says he plans on turning pro. The Tribe, meanwhile, will continue to monitor Juan over the summer.
"He's a guy we've worked out and spent some time with and we'll continue to scout him," Indians director of amateur scouting Brad Grant said.
Juan Gomes would have been fine with any team taking him in the Draft. But with the Indians of all teams picking him up at the tail end of Day 3, the young hitter says he has grown even more motivated to succees as a professional with the hope that, one day down the road, he'll get to call his brother "teammate," as well.
"Growing up we like to say we're two different ball players. But I'm going to be honest, I watch my brother play and I try to copy everything he does," Juan Gomes said. "It works, you know?"
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.