Anthony Gose goes like stink and is probably chomping at the bit to show off his talents as a regular center-fielder for the Detroit Tigers. In many respects he has already paid his dues at the School of Unfulfilled Promise and hopefully this will obviate further frustration for him.
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Gose has always projected as something a little beyond ordinary when compared to his peers. A gifted athlete, he has had trouble overcoming that harbinger of baseball success; mainly trying to square up a round ball with a round bat. Anthony excelled in high school in California. At least as a Bellflower Buccaneer on the campus ball field. This is a fellow who, as a Left-Handed-Pitcher throwing mid to high 90’s fastballs, managed to hit .443 in his senior year with an unbelievable OBP of .618. So he CAN hit, he’s done it and even in the minors displayed some power. In 2011 he whacked 19 homers spread out over a very long season, among three different teams, within the Toronto Blue Jay organization. His problem has been the age-old cliché of being unable to handle the breaking ball, resulting in an uncomfortable ratio (~25%) of strike-outs to at bats.
Gose became a Blue Jay in a three-way deal with the Astros and Phillies and was an integral component of a transaction that included the great Roy Oswalt. He was originally drafted in the 2008 2nd round by the Phillies. Scouting reports considered him to be the poor man’s version of Carl Crawford. He has great speed and range. His athleticism is more apparent than his baseball “IQ” and he will likely benefit from the tutelage of two very intelligent baseball minds, Brad Ausmus, and his outstanding hitting instructor, Wally Joyner. Anthony is likely expected to provide a .250 batting average, which might justify an audition at the leadoff position in the lineup. He hasn’t been able to accomplish as much to this point. I think he can do better than that if he is both open to constructive criticism and the planned platooning with Rajai Davis.
The certainty in his game is defined by his four limbs. He can run like a cheetah, his glove hand is sure and capable. His throwing arm is laser-like and already has a reputation that will be a deterrent to opposing base-runners. He is the antithesis of Austin Jackson and will excite fans with a reckless abandon that may leave him vulnerable to injury. His forte is his speed, and management would be well advised to shed the shackles of limitation that they seemed to settle for with previous center-fielders like AJ and Curtis Granderson. Let him go! He has twice stolen over 70 bases in the minors. Scouting reports have contained glowing predictions of triple digit stolen base numbers.
Gose has accomplished much already (though little of that is to do with his bat), in his minor league experience, ie: Best Baserunner, Best Defensive OF, Fastest Baserunner, Best OF Arm, Most Exciting Player, etc.
A new employer and a fresh start may be just the catalyst Anthony needs to fulfill the lofty expectations that many scouts saw seven seasons ago.