After the Tigers traded second base prospect Devon Travis to the Toronto Blue Jays for center fielder Anthony Gose, Tom Dakers of Bluebird Banter -- SB Nation's Toronto Blue Jays blog -- reached out to us for a breakdown of Travis' skill set and future potential. Naturally, we obliged. In this exchange, Tom was also kind enough to provide us with a scouting report on Gose, who spent parts of three seasons in a Blue Jays uniform.
When the Blue Jays traded for Anthony Gose, he was one of those toolsy types that the Jays really like. We traded Brett Wallace -- who was sold to us as the first baseman of the future -- to get Gose, who became the center fielder of the future. The Jays have spent the last 4 years trying to make that happen. He really hasn’t progressed much in those 4 years.
Until this year, Gose was still looked at as the center fielder of the future. Prospect Dalton Pompey had a very good year, starting the season in A-ball and finishing it as a September call-up and passed by Gose in the eyes of the Jays office.
You get a lot of good and bad with Gose.
- He has a ton of range in center field. He will make some of the nicest catches you’ll ever see.
- A former pitcher, he does have a great arm, we didn’t see it as much as I hoped and when we did see it, he didn’t always hit the target. He’ll occasionally drive you crazy by throwing to the wrong base, trying to impress you with his arm strength.
- He is a very good base runner. He does have some work to do on getting a good jump on pitchers and he gets picked off at the worst moments, but he can go from first to home as fast as anyone you’ll ever see.
- He can bunt for a base hit, which, if your TV commentators are as bad as ours, will get them talking about how he could bunt for a .350 average. He can’t.
And, of course, he is a terrific athlete.
Unfortunately, he didn’t learn to turn that athleticism into offensive ability. All the speed in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t get on base. As a Blue Jay, he hit .234/.301/.332 in 202 games scattered over 3 seasons between trips back and forth to the minors. His biggest problem has been his 27.6 percent strikeout rate. All the speed in the world won’t help you if you strikeout.
Why hasn’t he been able to use that athleticism to become the offensive player we thought he would be? Maybe because baseball is harder than we think. There are reports that he is a little headstrong. He has hated it each time he has been sent back down to the minors. He thinks he is a major leaguer and he sulked when he was send down to the minors, leading to run-ins with his minor league managers. A lot of people felt he played better in the majors than he did in the minors.
In a scouting report Rob wrote for us about Devon Travis, the ‘high baseball IQ’ came up a few times. You will never talk about Anthony Gose using that term. Gose is likely the anti-Travis: he has made it to the majors because of his athletic abilities, but he hasn’t figured out how to use those abilities to turn him into a baseball player.
What should you expect from Anthony Gose? If you can get past the idea that he isn’t going to be a star, I think you’ll be happy with him. If the rest of your offense is good, you can live with him batting 9th and catching everything hit into the air.
I’d find him a right-handed hitting platoon partner (you already have Rajai Davis, he’d be a good choice) and enjoy watching him play defense and be happy with whatever offense you can get from him. Let him get 400 MLB at-bats and see what happens. I think you’ll have a 2 WAR player (mostly on his defense), which you can live with until someone better comes along.
Once again, a huge thank you to Tom and the rest of the Bluebird Banter crew for giving us the inside scoop on our new center fielder. Be sure to check out Bluebird Banter for all things Blue Jays (including to see if Travis makes the team next spring!).