If there was a silver lining to the Blue Jays suffering so many injuries and then falling out of contention, it was the ability to see some of the prospects that we have been hearing so much about over the last few years. Players like Aaron Loup and Adeiny Hechavarria made enough of an impression on the Blue Jays and their fan base that both have made a decent case for being with the big league club to start 2013, especially Loup.
However, one player that saw significant action in 2012 that did not take advantage was Anthony Gose.
Gose generated a lot of hype at the time of his promotion, as Blue Jays fans were excited to see what the fleet-footed outfielder could do in Toronto. Gose had a solid campaign in 2011 at Double-A New Hampshire, hitting .256 with 16 home runs, 59 RBI, 70 stolen bases, and a .763 at 20-years-old. He followed that up with a decent start to the season at Triple-A Las Vegas. While a .286 average and .785 OPS can be taken with a grain of salt in Vegas or the PCL for that matter, Gose has shown that he could put back-to-back seasons together in the high minors.
So when Gose got his promotion on July 17th, fans has understandably gotten fairly familiar with what to expect from him.
However, Gose failed to get his feet off the ground much during his first trip to the majors. From July 17th through August 23rd, Gose compiled just a .499 OPS, with only 15 hits in 92 plate appearances and striking out 36 times during the process, something that was a red-flag in the minors as well. Toronto sent him back down to Las Vegas for a two-week buffer before the rosters expanded on September 1st.
The demotion seemed to help out a bit, as Gose was a significantly better player during his second turn. In 97 plate appearances from September 4th through the end of the season, Gose put together a .740 OPS with and limited his strike-out to just 23. He also showed greater patience at the plate, walking 11 times as compared to just 6 in his first stint. Still not great, but a definite improvement.
Ideally, the Blue Jays will find themselves a solid contributor in left field in 2013. However, the bigger need for the team is starting pitching, with one or two decent players needed to plug into the rotation. That may leave Toronto looking at internal options to fill the void in left field.
Toronto could pick-up the $3 million option on Rajai Davis if they feel inclined, but that move only makes sense if they intend to use him as the starter. That would enable the Blue Jays to start Gose at Triple-A Buffalo in 2013, a place where Gose can work on making more contact (and perhaps bunting for base hits) and Toronto can get a better gauge on what kind of hitter he will be. If they do not, the money could be better utilized toward the aforementioned pitching needs.
If the Blue Jays opt to keep Gose in Toronto in 2013, they may look to find a platoon partner for him. Moises Sierra is an internal option there as well, but despite his better power potential, his plate discipline leaves something to be desired as well. Still, if the Blue Jays cast Rajai Davis to the wolves, Gose will fill the speed void left by Davis.
It is a decision the Blue Jays will need to make before the onset of free agency, as this is a team that needs to move quickly to fill its many voids. They no longer have the ability to sit back and play silent audience as the rest of the league strips the market of valuable pieces.
That starts with knowing what they’ve already got in hand and how much that is worth, particularly in regards to Anthony Gose.