Up next on our top 50 is the piece that the Jays wanted all along in the Roy Halladay deal…
#4: Anthony Robert Gose
Outfielder / 20 years old / 6′1″ 190 lbs
Born: August 10, 1990 in Bellflower, California
Bats: Left Throws: Left
High School: Bellflower H.S.
Drafted By: The Philadelphia Phillies in the 2nd round (51st overall) of the 2008 amateur entry draft and signed for $772,000
Jersey Number: #4 for the Dunedin Blue Jays
- 2010 Florida State League Post-Season All-Star
- 2009 South Atlantic League Post-Season All-Star
- 2009 South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star
- 1st in games played (130), at-bats (512), runs (88), hits (134), triples (13), walks (45), stolen bases (45), and caught stealing (32)
- 2nd in total bases (201) and strikeouts (132)
- 4th in home runs (7)
- Tied for 4th in doubles (20)
- Tied for 5th in AVG (.262)
- Tied for 9th in RBI (26)
- 6th in OBP (.332)
A 2009 interview when Gose was with the Lakewood Blue Claws, the Phillies’ Class-A affiliate:
A three-minute 2008 draft video of Gose as a pitcher:
An average quality video of Gose taking pitches at the plate:
Extra information and previous experience:
Gose drew high praise prior to the 2008 draft as a pitcher, as some people felt he had the strongest left arm out of any Southern California high school pitching prospect in over 30 years. His numbers on the radar gun were hard to ignore, as his fastball was usually between 92 and 96 mph and touched 97, his curveball was around 77 mph, and his changeup was usually in the neighborhood of 75 mph. Gose drew legitimate comparisons to Scott Kazmir and Billy Wagner, and was profiled as a closer or set-up man, though, because he lost significant velocity as games went on.
Gose’s draft position was up in the air by scouts, as he suffered from rotator cuff tendinitis in high school and his small frame for a pitcher raised doubts over his long-term potential on the mound. Gose’s ability as a position player was also doubted by scouts – no denying his plus-plus arm and speed – because of his projected ability to be able to hit Major League pitching.
Regardless of these doubts, the Phillies selected Gose in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft. Not only did the Phillies opt to use him exclusively as a position player, Gose himself had no interest in pitching professionally. After hitting .256/.293/.359 in only 11 games in the Gulf Coast (Rookie) League during his draft year, the Phillies aggressively promoted Gose to Class-A Lakewood for his first real professional season as an 18 year old in 2009.
Gose clearly showed the part of his game that he needs to work on the most: his bat. In 131 games, he hit .259/.323/.353 with only 35 walks versus 110 strikeouts. This was primarily because of his little experience at the plate when it came to pitch recognition and plate discipline, and he gave away too many at-bats by swinging at too many pitches and lacking a two-strike approach.
Gose definitely showcased the strong areas of his game with Lakewood that season, though. His strong center field defense and plus-plus arm resulted in 13 outfield assists and only 6 errors in 120 games, and his plus-plus speed led him to go 76-for-96 (79%) in stolen base attempts. His 13 outfield assists ranked third in the entire South Atlantic League, and his 76 stolen bases (and consequently 20 caught stealings) easily led the South Atlantic League. One particularly special game on the base paths for Gose was on May 31, 2009, when he only got on base 3 times but managed to steal 4 bases. He stole second 3 times and third once, and this was all against catcher Kyle Skipworth, the Florida Marlins’ 2008 first-round draft pick.
“I think one thing is that he’s a very aggressive player in general. He’s always upbeat and ready to work and just aggressive in general. At this level, I think you can steal some bases that you shouldn’t have stolen, and he’s gotten lucky at times off some lefthanded pitchers, but what’s really nice in the last two weeks or so is he’s really worked on reading pitchers more and preparing himself.”
“He’s learning, you know, this guy can pick over quickly, this guy doesn’t pick over real fast, this guy’s quick to the plate, this guy’s not quick to the plate. He’s just learning the intricacies now of stealing bases. Early in the season he really relied on his speed and his aggressiveness, but now he’s learning the intricacies of actually reading pitchers and things, so it’s fun to watch.”
“His outfield play has been tremendous for an 18-year-old kid, and he’s getting better every day. He can retain stuff real well. You tell him something one time and it’s usually not going to happen again, whereas sometimes you have players you have to remind over and over and over to do a certain thing. Well, he’s a guy who pretty much you tell him one time and it’s not going to happen again.”
“He’s learning a lot, especially facing left-handed pitching, which you don’t face a lot of good left-handed pitching at the high school level. Left-handed pitching, I think, is something he’s adjusting to. He handles the bat well. Right now I think he’s striking out a few too many times for the position he’s going to hit in the lineup, but he can have a day where he struggles and it doesn’t affect him at all. He might get on the bases one time that day somehow, maybe by an error, and it doesn’t affect him at all. He’ll go out to center field, right field, wherever he’s playing that day and his defense will be like he was 4-for-4. That’s when you know that you have a special player—he doesn’t take his offense to his defense, and he bounces back the next day like he was 4-for-4 even if he was 0-for-4.”
All in all, Gose deserved to be cut some slack overall at the end of the 2009 season, as it was not only his first professional season and one in full-season ball as well, but he was still only 18 years old and was getting his first taste of being converted into a full-time position player.
It was also at the end of the 2009 season when all of the Roy Halladay trade talks were in full swing, and there had been rumblings that Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos had been eagerly pursuing Gose as part of a package in return for Halladay. The Phillies refused to budge, and though they managed to pry Halladay away from the Jays, Gose stayed put in their organization.
He was promoted to Hi-A Clearwater to open the 2010 season, and had similar results there compared to his 2009 numbers, hitting .263/.325/.385 in 103 games. While Gose managed to hit 17 doubles and 4 home runs, he was far less effective on the base paths going 36-for-63 (57%) in stolen base attempts.
Then, the Phillies were able to acquire Roy Oswalt from the Astros, including Gose in the package of players they gave up, and Anthopoulos was quick to call Astros’ GM Ed Wade to get his hands on Gose. At the time of the trade, Gose led the entire Florida State League with 67 runs and 11 triples and ranked second with 15 outfield assists. Anthopoulos was criticized for the move and it wound up costing the Jays highly-touted prospect Brett Wallace, but he got the player he was after all along in Gose.
“He was part of the Roy Halladay talks in the winter. We were unsuccessful in acquiring him there. We inquired about him again in Spring Training and we’re unsuccessful in acquiring him there. Even during the season [we inquired about him],” Anthopoulos said.
“It’s a premium position, and an athletic center fielder with outstanding competitiveness, makeup, leadership skills. He’s someone who’s in a tough league at a young age, but really a guy who is a game changer.”
“All of our scouts came back and raved about him. From a consensus standpoint, every one of our scouts thought this was going to be an above-average, All-Star-caliber center fielder. We don’t have too many reports that are unanimous that way.”
Gose was only in the Jays’ organization for 27 games this past season and hit .255/.360/.426 overall, but being on a new team seemed to benefit him in certain parts of his game. While he continued to strike out fairly often, Gose started to show signs of being more patient at the plate, walking 13 times in 27 games, almost half as many walks he had in 107 games with Clearwater. His 3 home runs were close to matching his power output in 4 times the games with Clearwater, and while it’s still not spectacular, he improved his effectiveness on the base paths going 9-for-14 (64%) in stolen base attempts.
Gose will likely repeat the Hi-A level in his first full season with the Blue Jays organization and a different coaching staff. He’ll still be young for his level even if he stays at Hi-A for the full year, but with some adjustments to his game, a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire by the end of the season could be possible as well.
Expected 2011 Team: Dunedin Blue Jays (Hi-A)
Ultimate ceiling IF he puts it all together: MLB Leadoff CF
Overall, Gose can still be considered a high risk, high reward prospect. There is definite promise from a defensive standpoint and in regards to his speed on the base paths, but ultimately he will have to improve at the plate in order to play at the Major League level for a long time. Gose has unrefined hitting mechanics and he should be able to make the necessary mechanical adjustments to improve at the plate. He’ll also have to work on his overly aggressive approach at the plate and cut down on his strikeouts, while exuding improved plate discipline to increase his walk rate.
It’s important to keep in mind that Gose will still be only 20 years old heading into the 2011 season, and he has just two seasons under his belt from a developmental standpoint after being converted from a pitcher into a full-time position player. He has already drawn comparisons from scouts to Carl Crawford at his age, and though he has a long way to go to warrant that type of comparison, the Jays will surely be pleased if he turns out to be anything like, or better, than Crawford.