Anthony Gose joined the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 in a trade that sent one of their top prospects, Brett Wallace, to the Houston Astros. Gose had just arrived in Houston from the Philadelphia Phillies, where the Blue Jays had chased after the skilled OF before in their trade talks for Roy Halladay.
With speed that has led him to two seasons of at least 70 stolen bases in the Minor Leagues, Anthony Gose quickly produced a buzz in the Blue Jays system. It appeared that he was being groomed as the CF of the future in Toronto, but through countless attempts to seize the job in his first three seasons, Anthony Gose has turned his elite skill set into a frustrating and underwhelming product on the field.
Colby Rasmus will not be returning in 2015, this much is known, which leaves Gose as the default leader in what could be a wide-open competition for CF. Kevin Pillar is sure to push Gose for the job, along with the Blue Jays newest top positional prospect, Canadian Dalton Pompey. Anthony Gose turned 24 years old this past August, giving him plenty of time to improve upon his weaknesses, but will he ever come even close to his once-dreamed potential, and serve as a starting-calibre MLB player for the Toronto Blue Jays?
Anthony Gose was able to show marginal improvement in his ability to take walks in 2014, which aided him in raising his OBP to .311 from his career average of .301. There is a long way to go, but with Gose’s speed, every extra walk could lead to a potential scoring opportunity.
On the base paths, Gose was successful in 15 of his 20 stolen base attempts. This is still an area that I would like to see him improve upon, but his ability to run with greater frequency is all too often limited by his mental mistakes in the running game. When Anthony Gose was able to reach base while batting ninth and turn the order over to Jose Reyes, the two were able to cause havoc on the bases, occasionally teaming up to attempt a double steal.
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Defensively, Anthony Gose was a very good example of the fielding talent that is beginning to run through the outfield at all levels of the Blue Jays system. With several highlight-reel plays in centre, Gose could prove to be an effective situational starter when a pitcher who throws to contact, such as Mark Burhrle, is on the mound.
Gose did improve slightly on his walks, but his strikeout numbers are still far too high. With 74 K’s on the season, he is not playing a style of baseball that enables him to fully utilize his greatest skill: speed. Time and time again, Gose would fail to come up with a bunt when needed, or struggle to make contact in situational hitting. If he were able to develop even an average bunting ability, or begin chopping balls to the left side of the infield, he could see a dramatic increase in his OBP and AVG.
With a .226 average and disastrous .293 slugging percentage in 2014, Anthony Gose was simply not good enough at the plate. Those numbers do not, and will not, cut it at an MLB level.
Anthony Gose will need to re-shape his game to fit his own individual skill set. I often compare him to a wide receiver in football who is faster than anyone on the field, but drops every pass thrown their way. Keep in mind, still, that Gose is only 24. With his athletic makeup, I do believe that he has some untapped power in his bat which could develop into more line-drives. He has more than enough speed to turn singles into doubles, and doubles into triples. Again, Anthony Gose needs to put himself in positions to use his speed if he ever wants to make an impact with his bat.
Anthony Gose’s future may be more unclear than anyone’s on the Blue Jays roster entering this winter. With several in-house candidates ready to push for his job, Alex Anthopoulos and John Gibbons may be tempted to look internally or externally for a change of course.
As it stands today, Kevin Pillar will be the lead candidate to unseat Gose, but Dalton Pompey could enter Spring Training riding a wave of momentum from his successful stint in the Arizona Fall League. I would prefer to develop Pompey with at least another half-season at AAA, but he could be a real contender for CF in Toronto for 2015.
I wish this weren’t the case, but at this point, it seems more likely than not that Anthony Gose gets the first shot at CF on opening day in 2015. Long-term, I see Gose filling the role of fourth outfielder, and entering many games late as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. He has all the skills necessary to prove fans wrong, but after a stretch as frustrating as this, it is time for his skills to translate into actual production. Anthony Gose is no longer a prospect that fans can forgive for inconsistent play, he is a Major League player, despite his refusal to play like one.