Anthony Gose is a speedy, 24 year old left-handed hitting center fielder who was drafted in the second round of the 2008 amateur player draft by the Philadelphia Phillies out of Bellflower High School, in Bellflower, California. Gose is known for his speed and his defense much more than for his bat.
In parts of seven seasons in the minor leagues, Gose hit .259/.334/.381 with 37 home runs and 271 stolen bases. He stole 76 bases in his first full season at Single-A Lakewood. The Phillies traded Gose to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline in 2010, but he was quickly flipped to the Toronto Blue Jays. The series of deals sent J.A. Happ to the Astros with Roy Oswalt going to the Phillies. Gose hit 16 home runs and stole 70 bases at Double-A New Hampshire in 2011.
Gose made his major league debut with the Blue Jays in July 2012. In parts of three seasons with Toronto, he has hit .234/.301/.332 with 34 stolen bases in 616 plate appearances. He has been up and down between the major leagues and Triple A. Beyond the Box Score had this report on him before the 2012 season.
There are few prospects in baseball who are as athletic and talented as Anthony Gose. Gose is a plus-runner and defender with all of the skills to become a plus-hitter too. He's a strong and physical athlete who has shown glimpses of superstardom in the past, but he hasn't yet put everything together. Gose has been very inconsistent at the plate since he's been in pro ball but really tightened things up in 2011.
Just over six months later, John Sickels of Minor League Ball added a bit more on Gose's defensive abilities.
Despite the mixed results from his bat, Gose can still be a valuable player due to his outstanding outfield defense. His range and arm strength are top-notch, and he has superior instincts to put an exclamation mark behind the pure tools. His makeup is well-regarded, and at age 21 he still has a huge amount of development time left on the clock.
Jays Journal continued the praise with another glowing review of Gose's glove.
The scouting report on Gose is an interesting one, and makes the wide array of opinions understandable. One thing everyone can agree on, however, is that Gose is a special defender. In addition to roaming the outfield for his Bellflower, California high school, Gose worked off the mound, where he sat between 92 and 96 mph with his fastball. That arm has translated extremely well to professional baseball, as it serves as an 80-grade tool in center field, and he has recorded 13, 16, and 14 outfield assists in his last three seasons.
Gose was considered a consensus top 100 prospect after his solid 2011 season. Baseball Prospectus ranked him 68th, MLB.com had him at #57, and Baseball America put him just inside the top 40 at #39.
The downside of Gose is that he doesn't make contact that often. He struck out 27 percent of the time last season and has fanned at a 27.6 clip throughout his MLB career. His hitting goes from weak (.234 average overall) to extremely weak (.208 average, .513 OPS) when he faces left-handed pitchers.
The fact that he bats left-handed leads one to believe that he could platoon with Rajai Davis in the outfield for Detroit. He has played all three outfield positions for the Blue Jays, but the vast majority of those have been in center field. Gose has been a plus defender in the outfield, posting a UZR of 9.2 last season with +2 defensive runs saved (DRS). He has a strong arm, being a former high school pitcher who featured a fastball in the low 90s.
Gose posted an fWAR of 1.3 for the 2014 season in just 274 plate appearances. By comparison, his teammate, Colby Rasmus, posted just 0.6 WAR. Austin Jackson was worth 1.0 WAR, Torii Hunter 0.3, and Rajai Davis 1.4 in almost 500 plate appearances. By that measure, the Tigers have already upgraded one position in their outfield.
Dave Dombrowski referred to Gose as a "true center fielder" in his press release about the trade. Gose is also going to be earning the major league minimum for another two seasons. With the Tigers' payroll creeping up, that's a welcome addition to the roster.
Dombrowski was quoted by Mlive.com's Chris Iott
"We believe he has the chance to be an everyday center fielder," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said by phone late Wednesday night. "Now, he'll have to earn that type of spot. He's not going to be anointed that, but he gives us another guy to choose from and a guy we think highly of. ...
"Time will tell on that, but he does have a chance to do it."
Assuming that Gose is to platoon with Davis in center field, that leaves one corner outfield spot to be filled. But is that the plan? According to Dombrowski, maybe not.
"We feel comfortable right now where we are," Dombrowski said of the makeup of the outfield. "We do have J.D. and Rajai out there in two of the spots. Gose gives us a legitimate center fielder. We also think a young guy like (Tyler) Collins is ready to play and I guess it's to be determined on (Steven) Moya to see how he continues to develop, but he's had a real good Arizona Fall League."
Sorry, Dave. That ain't gonna cut it. Not even close.