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.