With Jose Bautista hitting the disabled list today with an injured left wrist, an opportunity was created for speedy outfielder Anthony Gose, who was summoned from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Bautista’s spot on the active roster. With the Yankees sending lefty CC Sabathia to the hill tonight, Gose will likely have to wait until tomorrow to make his major league debut, but if his performance over the last two years in the minors is any indication, he’ll be an exciting player to watch on the big stage.
After a rough start to his inaugural Triple-A campaign in which he hit .216 with a .583 OPS in April, Gose has turned things around this season with the 51s. Though he has still struggled against left-handed pitching, the California native has managed to bring his average up to .292 with an OPS over .800 while adding a league-leading 29 stolen bases.
I was able to chat with Gose for a few minutes in a recent trip to Las Vegas, where the 21-year-old touched on the mechanical adjustments he’s made this season, his two-strike approach and the defensive side of his game, among other things.
Obviously you’ve been seeing the ball well lately, what’s been different now compared to the first month of the season?
“Slowing things down at the plate. Working with Chad on some mechanical flaws early in the season and trying to iron those out. I’m still working on that, and just trying to stay as consistent as possible with the mechanics and being slow and under control at the plate.”
Speaking of mechanical adjustments, you made a lot of them last year. Has it been nice to just go out there and hit this year a bit more?
“Yeah, it’s been fun. I’ve definitely seen the lowest of lows at the beginning of the season and I’m starting to play a little better so it’s definitely been fun and been a transition.”
It’s easy to see your improvements to your two-strike approach. How have you worked on that this season?
“Just really staying within the zone even with two strikes and not expanding outside the zone. Putting the ball in play more, not trying to do too much with it and just put it in play and give yourself a chance to get on base.”
How are you different as a player this year than you were with New Hampshire last year?
“I’d say I’m a little more consistent at the plate, I’ve cut down on my swing a bit, it’s not as big of a swing.”
I remember hearing that, at the major league level, your tools have the ability to change the outcome of a series. How important is your work in the outfield to you?
“I just take a lot of pride in my defense, that’s what’s really going to carry me throughout my career is running the bases and playing good defense and being able to put the bat on the ball more consistently — just trying to do what I can to help the team win. Saving runs helps the pitcher, helps the team, sometimes changes the momentum and gets us back into the dugout.”
Does periodically playing a corner outfield spot matter to you, or do you just want to be in the lineup every day regardless of position?
“You know, I’ll play anywhere they put me. They can put me in right field, I don’t know, I’ll play anywhere. I ‘ll catch for them. I just want to be on the field and play and have a good time.”