What Role Will Anthony Gose Have For 2014 Toronto Blue Jays?
Not to say that Anthony Gose had any inkling of intent in the freak warmup throw accident that sent burgeoning star Colby Rasmus to the hospital for a CT scan, but … that’s one way to win a job, I suppose.
Okay, too soon attempts at humor aside on what is actually a potentially serious situation for both the Toronto Blue Jays and their center fielder, the question of whether Gose would end up being able to establish himself as a potential member of the team’s big league roster in 2014 has been a running storyline throughout September.
And if his latest performances are to be believed, it may finally happen for the longtime prospect yet.
Though the overall picture of his 2013 season in the Blue Jays organization has been a disappointment in both the minor (.239/.316/.336 with triple-A Buffalo) and major league level (.267/.292/.431, -0.6 fWAR), the 23-year-old may finally be finding some life. Including Friday’s 1-for-4 performance, the outfielder has now hit in six of his last seven games, with four of those being the extra-base variety.
It might be a bit of a stretch in hopes of finding some positives here, but his small sample .474/.474/.842 triple-slash through 19 PA over his last week (six games) gives him a third-ranked 0.3 fWAR among his fellow bluebirds, and while he hasn’t stolen a single base at all in September (and is a 3.5 fielding runs below average defender this month), he has managed to show some of his speed on the basepaths in flashes.
Of course, his current streak does come with an unsustainable .615 BABIP over the last week …
Formerly the Blue Jays’ center fielder of the future, the fact that Gose has managed to draw just a single walk in 93 at-bats since being called up in mid-August should probably tell you that he isn’t ready for a starting job next season, especially in a crowded outfield where left field may be the only real hole barring injuries.
That said, he has played all three outfield spots this season (though just three innings in right), and that versatility could bode well for him as he’ll try to earn a job on the bench next season over the likes of Moises Sierra.
Though still very young, it’s hard to say whether a third full season in triple-A would benefit his development; the team may end up choosing to go that route, but in that scenario, you might even say that the youngster’s September audition in 2013 is as much for the Blue Jays as it is for other teams in MLB.
After all, Sierra, who is a primary competitor of his as far as a role on the Blue Jays go, also has a couple of seasons of experience in triple-A, and something will eventually have to give assuming that the team re-signs Ramus to a long-term deal and if Melky Cabrera‘s worse days are behind him now that his tumor is removed.
Still considered a toolsy prospect, the team could certainly end up using Gose as a trade chip to fill another hole on the team, whether it be the starting rotation or second base. That, however, won’t happen if his stock continues to drop; so in either case, his success in September holds extra significance for both his big league aspirations (Toronto or elsewhere) and the shape of the 2014 Blue Jays.
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