Anthony Gose, The Toronto Blue Jays’ Second Best Prospect, Is On Fire

Before every Major League Baseball All-Star Game, a prospects game is held. Referred to as The All-Star Futures Game, which is a Team USA vs. Team World friendly, it features the best young talent from teams’ minor-systems. Representing the Toronto Blue Jays this year was none other than top prospect Anthony Gose.

Gose, the Blue Jays’ second-highest rated player in their system – ranked below only catching phenom Travis d’Arnaud – started in centrefield for Team USA and had an amazing game before being substituted out prior the top of the fifth. The 21-year-old from Paramount, Calif. went 1-1 with a run and a walk as Team USA rallied from a 4-0 deficit through three-and-a-half innings to come back and crush the World team 17-5 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Gose hit a ground ball single past the second baseman in the third inning, eventually scoring, and drew a four-pitch walk in the fourth. But what stole the show earlier on was a catch he made in centre field, moving laterally to his left, then laying out in full extension to take away an extra base hit from Oscar Taveras.

The deep fly ball did produce a run, via the sacrifice with the runner easily tagging from third, but Gose, who is known for his deadly speed, robbed what would have been a double from the St. Louis Cardinals‘ top prospect. However, what might have been even more incredible was that, not only did Gose have the presence of mind to try and double-up the runner at first, he was also able to throw a strike to the man guarding it.

Gose made three catches on the evening before being replaced by Miami Marlins‘ prospect Christian Yelich.

After the third inning catch, Gose received a standing-ovation, his first in a professional baseball stadium, according to the Toronto Sun‘s Bob Elliott.

Gose, who was traded in a one-for-one prospect deal for Brett Wallace via Houston on July 29, 2010, is hitting .290 with four homers and 38 RBIs in the minors. He’s not a power hitting player, though; rather a speedster who can play exceptional defense and hit for a strong average, making him comparable to Carl Crawford of the Boston Red Sox.

Through 87 games, Gose has 105 hits (tied for sixth in the Pacific Coast League), 75 runs (third in the PCL), nine triples (tied for second), and 43 walks (sixth.) On top of those impressive stats, he’s 29 for 36 in base theft attempts.

If this is a sign for things to come, then get ready. It wouldn’t be a reach to say that Gose can become an elite player in the MLB one day, as previous Futures Games showcased the likes of some amazing current players, who were still prospects at the time. Those players include Josh Hamilton (2000), Mike Trout (2010), Robinson Cano (2003) and the Jays’ own Brett Lawrie (2009).

Gose’s Diving Catch In Centrefield

For a complete scouting guide to CF Anthony Gose, you can read this blurb by SB Nation’s Fake Team blog. Taken out of context, it’s part of a prospect comparison to Kansas City’s top prospect, Wil Myers, and was written on June 28, 2012:

Anthony Gose – CF – Blue Jays – Gose sports three plus to plus-plus tools in his arm (up to 97 MPH as a pitcher), defense in centerfield and his speed. Drafted in 2008 (though only three months older than Myers) Gose had been coveted by Toronto in Roy Halladay talks. While they were unable to acquire him then, they got their man by flipping Bret Wallace to Houston after Gose had been sent there in the Roy Oswalt trade. Gose has been a toolsy prospect that scouts have loved for quite a while, but I was not on board until after the 2011 season. What changed? He learned to control the strike zone a bit better, generating a 10.6% walk rate (a career-high excepting a 27 game cameo at Hi-A in 2010). Gose also swatted a career-high 16 home runs in 2011, almost doubling the total from his first three seasons combined. These developments have me hopping aboard the Anthony Gose bandwagon, and in a hurry too.

One area that Gose needs no development in is on the basepaths. He swiped 70 bases in 2011 at a career best 82% success rate. Gose’s flaws are apparent right on the surface. Despite the improvement in his walk rate, his strikeouts are a major red flag. His strikeout percentage has never been lower than 19% in his career, and was an unsightly 26.2% in 2011, leading to an unsatisfactory .253 batting average. While Gose may never be an above-average hitter in terms of average, but if he can get enough walks, he will be extremely valuable on the basepaths. I wouldn’t expect Gose to reach the majors before around May 2013, and despite his deficiencies, he has a chance to be an true impact fantasy player due to his superb speed and emerging secondary skills.

There’s no question that Gose can become a premier centre fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays in coming years. Expect him to compete for a spot in the order next year, though he’s more likely to make the roster in 2014 just because he’s still very raw and young. Nonetheless, Gose is a perfect fit in the Blue Jays’ organization because he provides a need they don’t already have – a pure lead-off hitter who can also sparkle deep in the outfield. Not since Reed Johnson in 2006 have the Blue Jays had a real lead-off man.

Watch out for Anthony Gose! He and d’Arnaud will become a part of The Show in the relatively near future. And, when they do, the Blue Jays will become a much more dangerous team.