Out of all of the moves made by Alex Anthopoulos thus far in his short career, the most polarizing one has surprisingly been a fairly minor move. It wasn’t when he dealt Roy Halladay, and it wasn’t when he dealt Vernon Wells. Instead, it was when he sent 1B Brett Wallace to Houston in return for CF Anthony Gose.
Some fans believe that Brett Wallace should have been brought in as the 1B/DH of the future for the Jays. They like his bat and can now point to what has been a fairly successful beginning to his pro career. Through 125 ABs, he has 11 doubles, 2 HRs, and a .336/.413/.472 line for his fans to use as evidence that his bat could have helped the Jays get much better overall. His defensive abilities, however, have been sub-par as he currently holds a -0.4 dWar in comparison to a 1.2 OWar for a total WAR of 0.8.
Alex Anthopoulos, and Jays evaluators, disagreed with those fans and decided to pull the trigger in order to acquire Anthony Gose. That’s not to say that they don’t believe in Brett Wallace and his bat. It’s evident that he was a key piece in the Roy Halladay deal as they flipped Michael Taylor to Oakland in order to land him and had previously stated that they would have grabbed him in the draft had he stuck around for just 1 more pick. Still, they decided that a fleet-footed and rocket of an arm CF was more valuable to the franchise as a whole than a 1B. When you see the results of Adam Lind‘s work at 1B and David Cooper‘s ascent to the big leagues, you certainly can see their point in that almost anyone can play 1B. CF, not so much.
I wish I could say that Gose came into the Jays system and tore it up, but the truth is that he didn’t. He has actually struggled quite a bit to get his bat going as the Jays continued to push him to a new level despite struggling in HiA. The 2011 season began with Gose moving all over the AA lineup and with a lackluster offensive performance to be sure. He hit .238/.307/.288 in April and only managed 3 extra base hits (2 doubles and a triple). The lone positive for Gose was that he showed an 80% steal rating by successfully stealing 8 bases on 10 attempts for April.
Turn the page to May, and the story is entirely different.
Over his last 10 games, or 33 ABs, Gose has 5 walks to 7 strike outs (a nice ratio), 3 stolen bases, and a .303/.410/.455 line. More importantly, he finally hit his first HR of the season yesterday while going 2 for 3 while hitting in the 3-hole for New Hampshire. For the month of May, at the halfway point after 54 ABs, he has 2 triples, 1 HR, 7 stolen bases (only caught once which gives him an 87.5% steal rating), and an impressive 8 walks to 10 strike outs. His line for the month is now .278/.381/.407, an impressive jump from April’s numbers.
On the Season
For the year, Gose has made major strides from the 2010 season that saw him strike out 25.8% of the time and walk only 8.8% of the time. In 2011, he is currently striking out a very tolerable 19% of the time, and is walking 11% of the time. Such positive changes in his numbers while playing at a higher level are extremely positive things to see from him. To add to those positives, he also went from being caught stealing 41% of the time in 2010 to being caught only 17% of the time in 2011! That gives him a very nice 83% success rate, something that could result in seeing him steal 57 bases and get caught only 11 times if we pro-rate his ABs to the same number he had in 2010 (512). Compared to being successful 45 times, and caught 32 times in 77 attempts, that’s a massive improvement that should not be overlooked.
Gose is also hitting LHP very nicely, with a .318/.388/.341 line against the Southpaws in 44 ABs.
Perhaps the oddest split I can see from his stats is the difference between his performance during day games and night games. He has hit .128/.244/.205 during the day (39 ABs) compared to .305/.377/.389 at night (95 ABs). Perhaps his routine for day games needs to change?
Finally, he has a perfect fielding percentage while holding an extremely impressive 2.55 RF/G ratio while manning CF. Simply put, his defensive abilities in CF are off-the-charts and will make him one of the top 5 defensive CF in MLB when he makes it to the show.
Gose won’t turn 21 for quite a while yet (August) and is showing that he can handle AA pitching now that he is comfortable at that level. Even though he’s heating up in AA, he’ll probably remain there for the remainder of the season, but his progress is encouraging enough to say that he could be a factor in the Jays OF very early in 2012. Now that he has shown better patience at the plate, an ability to handle LHP very nicely, and a much improved running game, there’s little doubt that he would be a very nice asset for the Jays to use in CF.
Anthony Gose is heating up in AA, and he should be making Brett Wallace fans feel much better about the polarizing trade made with the Astros. Believe me when I say that I’m positive Gose will grow on Jays fans very quickly. He’s a unique talent that just needs some patience that will allow him to flourish as a potential core piece to the Jays roster in the very near future.