Name: Anthony Gose
With the acquisition of Melky Cabrera and the continued commitment to Colby Rasmus, Gose was expected to remain in Triple-A Buffalo for the 2013 season. ZiPS, Bill James and Oliver all provided projections for Gose over the course of a full season. James was the most optimistic of the bunch, predicting a .253/.324/.369 line with nine home runs and 46 stolen bases while Oliver and ZiPS are in the same ballpark at .235/.306/.359 with 10 HRs and 42 SBs (Oliver) and .237/.307/.358 with 11 HRs and 47 SBs (ZiPS). All three projection systems suggested that Gose would walk under 10% of the time (9.4% for James, 8.0% for the other two) and all three suggested that he would strike out at least 25% of the time.
Note: Projections available from Fangraphs.com. Other stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
Gose was up with the big club for two separate stints. The first was from May 20 to June 6 and then Gose was recalled for the rest of the season on August 16.
Since Gose is still only 23 years old, it’s important to look at his actual production for the season as a work in progress. Overall, one would have to say that his season was disappointing. He didn’t continue the offensive strides that the Blue Jays were looking for after a great showing in September of last season with the major league club.
Gose is also learning to deal with the frustrations of being so close to the majors yet believing that he belongs there while having to produce and play in Triple-A, as Brendan Kennedy wrote about in August.
Gose got off to a solid start in Buffalo, posting a .370 OBP in April and taking 14 walks to go with only 18 strikeouts. The one major concern for Gose this year showed up early: he wasn’t stealing bases (and he was getting caught). As you can see in the main stats above, Gose was successful in only 22 of 35 stolen base attempts in Buffalo and in four of seven in Toronto. By the time the calendar turned to May, Gose’s batting average plummeted despite still taking walks (12 in May including three at the major league level). After May, Gose basically stopped taking walks and started striking out more.
While his numbers picked up in September for the Blue Jays, Gose still didn’t get on base enough (.274 OBP for September with only one walk) and increased his strikeouts (27.1% for the final month of the season). What did improve, however, were his power numbers. In September, Gose hit four doubles, four triples and two home runs for a .482 slugging percentage. The adjustments he’s been making with hitting coach Chad Mottola, as written about by Mike Rutsey, seem to be taking hold and they appear to allow Gose to be fooled less by offspeed pitches.
I think Gose makes the Blue Jays next season out of spring training. He’s been able to respond to Chad Mottola‘s coaching and while he needs to make getting on base his number-one priority, he’s showing that there’s potential in his bat for more than just (infield) singles. Remember that Gose is just 23 (and will still be for most of next season) and he’s still trying to figure out how to succeed at the highest level of the game where any little weakness will be exploited mercilessly by the opposition.
Where Gose’s base-stealing acumen went this year is anyone’s guess. Whether he stopped trying or just forgot how is up for debate. It’s clear that he still has lightening speed and can even steal home when given the opportunity.
I can easily see Gose as the fourth outfielder next year. If they Jays don’t resign Rajai Davis, then Gose becomes the late-inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement. On the other hand, he could be trade bait in order to bring back a pitcher.
If you like what you’ve seen by Jay Blue, read his work and listen to his podcast on Blue Jays from Away and follow him on Twitter: @Jaysfromaway.