During Saturday’s curious evening game from Fenway Park I could hold my tongue no longer on a subject that had been distressing me for most of the week, blurting into the sports bar atmosphere that is Twitter during a live event that Anthony Gose kinda doesn’t look ready for the Major Leagues.

Some agreed, while others were aghast that I would make such a statement while seeing him in MLB action for only the third time.

Of course, you can parse my words to see that there’s really nothing inflammatory in them– I wasn’t suggesting anything’s changed about Gose’s long-term projection, just that he looks a little overwhelmed as a 21-year-old making the jump to the Majors after just 433 plate appearances in Triple-A. But I can’t deny that it may have seemed a little strange, seeing as I generally tend to want to keep pushing samples size as far as I possibly before relenting to whatever conclusion the masses guts had been telling them for months (see: Cordero, Francisco).

Thing is, though, Gose has looked overmatched, and for a guy who came to the Majors with the reputation of having all kinds of crazy tools, except the one where… y’know… he hits, it’s not exactly been the kind of start to his career that has you praising the Jays for their acumen in deciding that he was the player who deserved to get called up when Jose Bautista went down.

Yes, it’s still very early, but the club is already shielding him from left-handers– he sat against CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, and was pinch hit for on Saturday after Franklin Morales had entered the game, which makes total sense based on his .517 OPS against lefties in perhaps the most hitter-friendly pro league in the world– and in fourteen plate appearances he’s struck out five times, and putting just six balls in play, none of which has left the infield.

Via Texas Leaguers

The strikeouts were completely expected, the weak contact can’t possibly last forever– we keep hearing that Gose has better power than you’d expect of a player with his profile, and it’s interesting that his ISO in 2011 at New Hampshire (though a good power park for left-handed hitters) was only slightly below Brett Lawrie’s Double-A number in 2010 in the Brewers system– and obviously you’d like to give him time to get more comfortable, but with last week’s deal with the Astros demonstrating that the Jays still hold some measure of hope for 2012, you have to begin to wonder how either the Jays or Gose are best served by him being here.

If he’s going to keep finding himself on the bench– when what he really needs is to keep getting reps and to keep honing his approach– or if he continues to fail to out-produce what could be expected from Rajai Davis in the plate– a change which, so far, hasn’t looked like it’s on the horizon– I think the option of demotion needs to be considered, and I hope the Jays would be confident enough to admit the error, should it come to that. And before Jose Bautista is eligible to return from the DL, if necessary.

I’m certainly not saying that he needs to be sent down immediately– I’d love to eat these words after seeing Gose bounce back with a few strong games this week– especially since you’d hate to send such a highly touted player packing so quickly and amid such frustration, but… yeah… not exactly the most inspiring start, apart from the baserunning and the throwing arm. And the pair of walks on Friday were great, too. But I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that a lot more is expected of him at the plate, especially if the Jays are going to insist on hitting him at the top of the order.


Image via Jim McIsaac/Getty.

Comments (75)

  1. I think it’s pretty safe to say he’ll go back down when Bautista returns. From there, who knows.

  2. “you’d hate to send such a highly touted player packing so quickly and amid such frustration”

    Ask AA if that’ll stop him from promoting hopelessly unprepared prospects

    • I don’t know if he’s quite done that on the pitching side, and when he has it’s been out of necessity (both the calls up and the demotion), so it’s hard to slay him on that from my perspective.

      • I wouldn’t call him hopelessly unprepared, but Alvarez could certainly still use a lot of work in the minors. Hutchison got up here kind of insanely quickly too, although he more than held his own.

        • I think Alvarez is MLB ready, his numbers aren’t that bad and if he pitches like he did in 2011 for the rest of the season (which isn’t too unlikely, considering he hasn’t regressed) he will finish with an ERA in the high 3′s. I still think he is the most underrated pitcher in our rotation. Romero’s numbers are far worse.

          • He isn’t pitching like last season because he only has two pitches. Last season he at least mixed his slider in from time to time, this year he rarely if ever does.

            Once familiarity sets in, and you only have 2 pitches – arguably 2½ – it’s inevitable you’re going to get rocked, and it’s happening now.

            Quite simply, Alvarez is not MLB-ready.

          • then under that argument, neither was Hutch, he only succeeded because hitters didn’t fully have a book on him yet.

          • I think Alvarez would be well served with a couple months in the minors. It always looks like he’s tinkering out there, which you can’t do in tha majors. Of course, its not like we have anything in the minors to replace him and Cecil should go to the pen before Alvarez goes to Vegas.

          • According to Fangraphs he doubled his use of the slider and he is having more success with it (as per Fangraphs pitch values/100)

            He is also throwing it harder, getting less line drives than last year, and getting more ground balls.

            The only thing about Alvarez that FIP is punishing him with is his unsustainable HR/FB rate (which is why you need to use xFIP) and the fact that he is striking out less batters while walking more.

            His last 3 starts he has had good strikeout numbers, I’m not too worried. He also has a lower ERA than Lester, and only 4 pitchers on Bostons staff have a better ERA (of the like 8 pitchers that have started. 2 are SSS)

            He isn’t getting lit up, and the only reason he is under performing is because of SO’s and unsustainable HR/FB rate. If you throw BP fastballs right down the middle there is no way 19% of them leave the yard (assuming its not Prince Fielder).

          • And Ray, he wouldn’t go to Vegas. Real prospects typically go to NH to work on things. Vegas they just get shelled.

          • If he’s using his slider twice as much as before, then it must be worse than I thought cause it looks like a changeup.

            His HR/FB is arguably sustainable because he simply can’t miss bats. Remember too that he was giving up homers last year like crazy also.

            His tERA and SIERA are also awful, so it’s not like there’s some underlying issue here. He simply sucks because he doesn’t have a third pitch, and generally you want a pitcher to have 4.

            I’m hoping he goes to winter ball and works on the slider, and learns something new like a cutter.

            As for the Lester/Alvarez comp, that’s just silly. Lester has a 4.18 FIP and is getting lit up because he’s all of a sudden lost command of the strikezone. He has a history of being near-elite, whereas Alvarez doesn’t.

          • Ya, I know that, though we did send Drabek down there last year. I was mostly just trying to make the point that with the pitching the way it is, letting Henderson work out some kinks in the minors isn’t even top 5 on the to-do list.

    • how does the service time clock work? has this brief stint cost us anything with him?

  3. needs a bigger chain.

  4. Don’t forget one of his balls in play was a bunt straight back to the pitcher, which he happened to beat out with his speed to account for his only hit so far.

  5. I tend to agree. 3 more games, so that it isn’t a knee jerk decision. But who can we bring up to be a 4th OF until Bautista pushes Davis to the bench? McCoy? there aren’t any veteran OF’s in the system. Who knew we would miss Francisco so soon!

  6. You are right, he looked completely overmatched in each and every plate appearance.

    He should have never been promoted in the first place, simply not ready.

    It is like harvesting your crop before its ready…why not let it develop into this big, beautiful monster that freaks everyone out.

  7. but he has a BB% of 15.4%. thats elite

  8. I don’t think it hurts Gose’s development at all for him to come up to the bigs for a week or two and see that he still has a lot to learn about hitting and then head down to AAA with a renewed focus to improve his weaknesses. The arm and legs look like they more then belong in Toronto and now he knows exactly where he stands. We should all be lucky enough to have a chance test ourselves against the best, see where we stand and then head back to work on getting better.

    I for one am very excited about a future Snider, Gose, Rasmus outfield.

    • Glass half full. I like it.

      • Ditto. Let me just add something … in the 7-3 win over Boston Gose impressed a lot of people with his base running when he scored from first on a double. He impressed me even more when he made a catch on a ball hit down the right-field line. The outfielders had all shifted over leftward and the right-handed Boston hitter went the other way with a hit that was maybe 6 to 8 feet inside the right foul line. Average MLB outfielders would have seen it fall in for a double. Good outfielders might have been able to make a diving catch — it would have been a bit easier for right-handers wearing the glove on their left. Gose moved on the crack of the bat, motored over there like a goddamn cartoon character, got in line with the ball and turned toward the plate as he made a catch with his gloved right hand. He made it look so easy I don’t think most people, including the broadcast crew, realized just what he had done.

        So should he be back in AAA learning to hit. I don’t know, but the guy’s speed and defense are totally for real.

    • Lets not send Joey Bats out to pasture anytime soon though. And I think you’re forgetting about Justin Upton, whom we’re totally gonna get…

    • +1

    • From all of Gose’s quotes, he sure seems to have the drive to be the best player possible. I agree that a little taste of ‘not yet kid’ could serve him well as he works in the minors. Doesn’t seem like the kind to get discouraged too easily.

  9. #1 he shouldn’t have been called up so quickly.

    #2 a rough start for such a young player can’t mean that much.

    I remember watching mike trout last year thinking wow what is the big deal about this guy.

    obviously hes no trout, but still

  10. I was against the promotion in the start, but I can see another angle. Maybe this was to give him a quick glimpse of what he’s up against, in order to return to Vegas to fine tune his game. Mike Trout (no I’m not comparing their talent) had a 40 game look last year, and went back to AAA with work to do.

  11. fair points. They have always hinted he is a bit cocky. Maybe this will be helpful in the long run. It certainly shouldn’t stunt his growth, lots of other young players have been sent down and developed into stars a year or two later

  12. I keep him up for the remainder of Bautista’s injury (barring any setbacks) either way. Sending him down a week early because he is over matched isn’t going to make any difference. Yes, he has looked out of his element. He has no business batting lead off and should be slotted 9th. The damage of sending him down 3-5 games earlier than intended and bringing up someone else for such a short time frame on hurts his confidence if anything.

    If the Jays continue to fight, and he continues to fail, put him on the bench and throw Rajai out for one more week. Having a few games off while getting to absorb as much as he can from the MLB roster can be just as beneficial as getting a few additional ABs in AAA.

    • at 21, he should have his confidence knocked down a peg. Coming to the face of reality is a good way of doing it.

  13. For the sake of Jesus, stop hitting him leadoff!

  14. Let him come up and have a cup of coffee in the big leagues for a week or so. Then when Bautista comes back, have Farrell thank Gose for coming out and send back to Vegas to work on his hitting for another year or so. If Mr. Gose has half a brain, he’s figured out that it ain’t easy hitting big league pitching…and maybe a few hundred more AB’s wouldn’t be a total waste of time.
    Or he could go talk to Snider about how wonderful it is to get called up at 21 years of age.

    • Or until September, at least. Followed by another year or so.

    • Theories abound that Gose’s callup is a showcase effort. I tend to believe that its more of an evaluation by the Jays, to see how Gose can handle big league pitching. Or perhaps its a bit of both.

      Fact is, Gose is an incredibly hard player to project given his tools. He has every tool in the book but the hit tool (or contact ability). PCL numbers can inflate one’s OPS which is the case for Gose.

      At the moment, I doubt anyone knows which direction Gose will turn towards. Will he become a light hitting speedster who can bring value off the bench as a pinch runner or defensive replacement? Or can he develop the power to become a top of the order Kenny Lofton type who can run (but with a high K rate)? The truth is probably somewhere in between. Which means he likely is destined for more seasoning in AAA next year, unless he is packaged in a trade.

  15. I personally think he was called up too soon, and he had a much better season trying to drive the ball in 2011. He’s bunting way too much.

    I would send him back down after Bautista comes back, then call him back up in September. He lost all of his power in 2012. His ISO dropped in a more hitter friendly league with lots of gaps and big walls and such.

    I would be more excited about him though Mr. Stoeten. He had excellent 2011 numbers in AA. 16 HR’s for a 20 year old CF who has 70+ speed, arm and glove is crazy. His tools so far apart from contact and power have been as advertised. He certainly has some power, in a very neutral Eastern League he managed to hit an extra base hit 33.3% of the time he got a hit.

    This year he has made strides, cutting down his K% almost 5% (that’s insane) and hes walking even more than last year (at a higher clip). He currently sits 5th in walks in the PCL while leading the league in SB at the time of his call up. It’s worth noting that within our division we have the insane Oakland farm team which I would call the Yankees of AAA but they are much more reputable. Their pitching is 2nd in the league in ERA and 4th in runs scored a game. They also possess Derek Norris who threw out 39% of base stealers over his career (not counting 47% in the MLB), effectively shutting down the running game (IIRC I can recall a couple of times he got Gose)

    I’m not saying Gose is destined to be a HOF or should stay up, but rather he needs more time and has shown great strides over the last 2 years with the bat, one of which he was restricted from bunting and was not allowed to have a 2 strike approach (he was instructed to drive the ball in all counts).

    I still expect great things from Gose and think that by the time 2014 rolls around, we will either not have or will have switched the positions of Snider, Colby and Bautista, thus creating room. If not he could be optioned up in case of longish terms injuries which seem to frequently to OFers, and his ability to play 3 OF positions certainly allows him to play (start) 100+ games without ever starting over our normal OF.

    I think he will never hit .300 or hit 25+ HR’s, but still with that kind of defense and speed he doesn’t have to (to be effective). The great thing is we can just stash him in AAA for a while, he’s young and has lots of room for improvement.

    That’s just my opinion.. I’ve watched a lot of Gose (I love you MiLB TV) and think he was rushed so this isn’t really a fair assessment. I just hope we don’t trade him now.

  16. The Anthony Gose callup made absolutely no sense to me. Did it excite me? Absolutely, but I knew he wasn’t ready.

    If the team didn’t want to go with Snider (though they later resolved that mistake), Moises Sierra should have been the Triple-A outfielder to come up. He has an .847 OPS in Triple-A this year, and while that’s certainly not overwhelming for the PCL, he’s split his damage near equally against left handers and right handers. He also fits the right field profile perfectly, with good power and a crazy good arm (almost as good as Gose’s).

    The biggest reason why I would have given Sierra the nod is that he’ll be 24 in September, and while he’s lost time to injury, he’s in his seventh minor league season. He’s seen a lot in his career. He’s had a pair of looks during the last two springs, but 15 days with the major league team in the middle of the year could give the team a much better idea of what they have in him going forward. Sierra’s ceiling is obviously significantly lower than that of Anthony Gose, but at just 21 years old, they have plenty of time to figure Gose out. The requirement for a long term decision to be made on Sierra could come as early as this offseason, and 40-60 non-September at-bats against top teams could make that decision easier, whichever way they choose to go.

    /end rant

    • Why not just bring back Eric Thame’s Facial Hair instead if we’re just looking to squeeze as much as we can into this playoff run?

      • It’s not about squeezing life into a playoff run, it’s about evaluating the players within the organization. We know Gose isn’t ready, and we know Thames is nothing more than a part time player. We don’t have any answers with Sierra, which is something that really needs some resolution.

  17. I think you’re right on several things. Yes, he definitely does look like hes not quite ready to tackle major league pitching. And yes, 3 games is hardly a sample size big enough to make any sort of definitive conclusions about what kind of hitter he is (to say nothing about his fielding…I thought he has looked MLB ready, except for that first game which can easily be chocked up to nerves and an unfamiliar ballpark). And no, I dont think he should be sent down immediately either. His kind of speed is very valuable on the bench, even though sitting on the bench is not the kind of treatment you want to give a guy who clearly needs to be honing his skills, as you mentioned. So I think he will stick with the club until Jose gets back from the DL.

    Given what has gone down in the past week, here’s my theory: Snider is being set up to succeed and win the LF job once Bautista gets off the DL. That is why Gose got the call instead of Thames (who I think they know what the have…a 4th OF). AA has come out and said whichever one of the 2 plays better will stick with the club. I believe that, and I dont think anyone right now can imagine a scenario where that player who sticks is Gose. Much like the “competition” between Snider and Thames this spring, I think it is already a foregone conclusion in the minds of the management who that winner is going to be. And that fits with what the approach has been regarding Snider this year. Let him get his confidence up so he can be comfortable and play the way we know (hope?) he can. He was mostly mashing in AAA and soon being able to pat him on the back and say “congratulations Travis you “won” the job, its yours, now run with it”.

    And in the meantime, there are other benefits of Gose being up with the club. He gets a taste of major league pitching and management gets to throw a bone to the casual fans, showing them a piece of the future to get excited about (i.e. the raw tools are there, but not quite ready yet). And I dont think a couple of weeks of playing a part time role is going to have much of an effect on the skill-honing we see he clearly still needs.

    Just my 2 cents.

  18. They just need to get Rasmus to teach him how to bunt.

  19. I couldn’t agree more. It was a puzzling promotion from the start. He’s really, really young and shouldn’t be expected to succeed at the major league level at this age.

    I’d be all for him spending AT LEAST one more year at AAA.

  20. He’ll get a few hits but he should def be sent down so he can play everyday in Vegas….nothign wrong with it..i think he knows its gonna happen too..Snider is making hard contact with the ball..got the home run…i don’t see that dying down…

  21. Attitude adjustment, giving him a taste, playing some mind game with Travis – whatever the reason, doesn’t look like Gose is ready. Can anyone tell me that a Rajai Davis, Eric Thames’ Facial Hair platoon is not clearly the best thing for the team while Jose is out? Plus then I could have mutton chops and frozen mutton chops directly involved in my baseball team at the same time. Win-Win!

    • Eric Thames should not be allowed to do anything but DH. He’s an awful fielder and that’s after improving a bit…

  22. Gose is only 21, most guys think they are the shit still at that age and have to learn that they are just one shit. I think bringing Gose up early to see yankee stadium, and fenway park and be a little wowed at it all is a good thing for Gose…Having the Jays lay the wood to the sox would be another good thing.. because if he is smart he should be going away from the last week thinking, ‘damn I have to get better at hitting” and hopefully he puts extra effort in to it.

  23. “Anthony Gose kinda doesn’t look ready for the Major Leagues”

    My thoughts exactly whenever I saw Juan Pierre at the plate

  24. We can’t use 13 plate appearances regardless of outcome as evidence of anything.

    Surely we can say in those 13 PAs there hasn’t been much good – but its still meaningless.

    • You can comment on how he’s looked at the plate though.

      • Ya.. For what it’s worth in 13 plate appearances he hasn’t looked comfortable. In fact he’s looked like a nervous rookie. Still, making a subsequent statement beyond that fact is beyond premature. I don’t know how many of those above me have seen fit to write entire paragraphs of conjecture and speculation about the meaning of those 13 ABs. If he has a 3 hit game tomorrow does everyone come back here and predict the hall of fame?

  25. In his first full game, Gose took the most pitches of any Jay hitter (tied with Arencibia Davis and Vizquel with 14, his first AB that game he fouled off three pitches), no one looked really good that game vs Kuroda except Arencibia – only 4 hits.

    In his second game, he worked a good walk off of Beckett to lead to Colby’s double (and only Gose or Rajai Davis scored on that hit). Beckett only walked 3 in that game (plus 7 hits), Gose got 2 of those walks.

    And, Cook was making everyone look weak with his sinker (he only allowed 4 hits and a walk, it was the errors and the 2 HRs from excellent low ball hitters that sunk him.

    Not to excuse Gose, but he faced top-notch veteran pitchers (the Sux bullpen has been good for the most part), he did not get in on beating the gimp Lester yesterday, so too bad for him.

    I would say this stretch against some mediocre A’s pitching should be his real test, I mean cmon, Milone, Blackley and Griffin are really AAA pitchers who have had a good lucky stretch and pitch in that haven in Oakland. Gose should feel right at home hitting against the Sacramento River Cats pitching staff.

  26. Gose is a curious call-up. I could understand AA’s desire to see Gose at the Major League level, but there were alternatives, probably better ones, that should have been used. AA is developing a tendency to put the kids in before they are ready. This is the result of rhe fact that he hasn’t, or couldn’t trade for Major League talent.

  27. While I do understand the criticizing a little, you have to give AA the benifit of the doubt that he knows what he is doing. I choose to thnk its a little early to make any judgements Who knows , I picked up the Goose in my Yahoo Pool cause I think he’s gonna go 3/3 with a triple and 4 stolen bases tomorrow night.

    Remember, I called the Rasmus trade and the Lawrie- Rasmus Batting order, so I know what I’m talking about.

    All in all I think the real reason they called up Gose was because of the chance he might get hot for a week and improve his trade value.

  28. In light of the JA Happ trade and Snider’s immediate call-up thereafter, is it not possible that Snider was being held back until a trade with Francisco or Davis was made?

    Bautista’s injury was obviously unforeseen, and perhaps the deal with the Astro’s was taking shape when it occurred. Maybe they figured Snider would be up as soon as the deal’s done, so they went to the next man on the depth charts when Bautista got hurt?

    • i think AA is rewarding the kids with a taste of the bigs to take some dream pressure off of them. a career ending injury and a missed opportunity. it also shows them how different the talent level is.especially if ego could forseeably be a problem with development, then the trade bait equation is there as well. i still cant believe some fans are upset at the happ trade. it has paid immediate dividends in the sox series, addressed a major need and cost nothing guaranteed, coco gone and a 4th outfielder.and it shouldnt be a surprise that happ was an apple in AA’s eyes a while back.his longterm attraction to players has been successful so far. rasmus is a beauty.so i need to ignore the disillusioned even the wc playoff negative value fans. AA has to keep the momentum this year for a race. and if anyone has followed all the teams every team has bounced around in 10 game stands from 8-2 to 3-7.with all the injuries the jays are 500 and runs scored and against are balnced too. one good run and a team is leading the wc hunt.i think the jays feel they re favoured above 500 than below and i agree.they can go streaky and minus the yanks sweep. evry team has taken their beat down from the division leaders.it really has become a more balanced sport. i still think AA is the best thing to happen since 93

  29. Everyone get ready for Willy Tavares 2.0

  30. I am one who has no issue with Gose being in the big leagues for a couple weeks even if he isn’t ready (as long as AA is convinced he is part of our future). MLB history is full of great players who got the 50-150 at-bat first season that they looked overmatched.
    This experience gives Gose an idea what to work on for the rest of this season (when he goes back to AAA) & in the off-season

  31. Is “masses guts” grammatically correct? It seems nonsensical? Is “masses’ guts” correct? But “masses guts” seems a phrase with great potential!

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