Anthony Gose is a conundrum unto himself.
At times, the 23-year-old Blue Jays outfield can be simultaneously exhilarating and incredibly frustrating to watch. When the potential is on full display, the speed, fielding, and arm remind us that he was once one of Toronto’s rising prospects. However, his plate approach, mental mistakes, and sometimes his attitude have made him tough to project.
In Thursday night’s game, when Gose had been recalled from Buffalo and drew the start in place of the injured Melky Cabrera in left, that was on full display in the microcosm of a single game.
In terms of the positives, we saw plenty of those on Thursday night.
The arm was tested in the third inning, when for some reason Dale Sveum gave Eric Hosmer the green-light (for the second consecutive night) to try and score from second base on a single to left. Gose threw a pretty strike to Dioner Navarro at home, who put the tag on Hosmer for the out.
Gose also wreaked havoc on the base paths. In the top of the sixth, with Jeremy Guthrie cognizant of his speed, Gose drew an errant pick-off throw to first and advanced to second on the error.
His bat, which has been a work in progress, was also on display. In four at-bats, Gose collected a pair of hits, including a double and a pair of RBI.
That’s where the Mr. Hyde to Gose’s Jekyll comes into play.
After doubling in the top of the eighth, and with Colby Rasmus on third with no outs, Jose Reyes hit a ground ball to shortstop. Gose, trying to move up to third, was not cognizant of the fact that Rasmus held up at third on the play. Gose was forced at third for the first out and the complexion of the inning changed.
In terms of plate approach, that also reared its ugly head. In four at-bats, Gose saw exactly 6 pitches. More over, he swung at five of them. Now, that may be a larger product of facing a strike-thrower like Guthrie, but it furthers the discussion that his discipline at the plate still needs refinement.
With that all said, the potential remains to be there, and at 23-years-old, while the shine has worn off, he isn’t necessarily a lost cause either. Thursday night was a good display of what is to like about Anthony Gose and what still leaves a lot to be desired. With 2014 being his last option year, Gose will need to show the Blue Jays that there is more of the former and less of the latter to come ahead.
If he can put that together, the sample size could grow significantly and Anthony Gose will no longer need to be measured in a microcosm.