Premature Judgment

I didn’t like the Brett Wallace for Anthony Gose trade when it happened last summer, and I’m not sold on it now, but pointing to Wallace’s success at the Major League level and Gose’s failure at the Double A level so far this season as reason to evaluate the deal harshly is partially premature and wholly ridiculous. It’s like comparing the first page of a grade nine essay to the first page of an essay written in your first year of university, and then deciding who’s going to be the better writer in grad school.

For the record, here are the comparative numbers.

Anthony Gose, at 20 years of age is playing in his first season at Double A: 103 PA, .232 AVG, .291 OBP, .274 SLG, 6.8 BB%, 21.1 K%, .042 ISO, .279 wOBA, and 76 wRC+.

Brett Wallace, at 24 years of age is playing in what he hopes will be his first full year in MLB: 110 PA, .367 AVG, .431 OBP, .520 SLG, 9.1 BB%, 21.4 K%, .153 ISO, .420 wOBA, and 165 wRC+.

That’s a big difference, but it’s also only around 100 plate appearances, and as Drew Fairservice brought up earlier this week, Wallace’s numbers do benefit from a ton of singles and some rather outrageous BABIP numbers. It should also be remembered, that in all three seasons as a professional, Gose has started out slowly at a higher level before finding his groove.

Besides, there are plenty of other reasons not to like the trade beyond the two players’ respective starts to the season. Despite Alex Anthopoulos’ claims that he had been after Gose for a long time prior to the trade, it’s unrealistic to suggest that the Phillies would hold out on moving the young center fielder as part of the Roy Halladay trade (in place of Michael Taylor), then turn around and include him in a deal to acquire Roy Oswalt.

While not being afraid to cut bait on a mistaken cast is admirable, somewhere in the Taylor to Wallace to Gose flip flop, value was lost. And this value went missing after only six months. If, as Anthopoulos claimed at the time, although in nicer words, that the defensive limitations of Wallace played a role in the deal, why was he acquired for Michael Taylor in the first place?

It’s difficult to criticize the Jays newest general manager after orchestrating what could prove to be two of the best deals in franchise history (although I suppose nothing will ever compare to McGriff and Fernandez for Alomar and Carter), but if you’re going to do it, at least do it for the right reasons.

Comments (26)

  1. Michael Taylor is the worst asset of the 3, so I don’t think it was a mistake to trade him for Wallace. You wouldn’t have been able to trade Taylor for Gose at the deadline last year.

  2. Personally I don’t see how Wallace would fit on this team anyways. I don’t think he will ever be the hitter Lind is. Do you really value a guy who can hit .280 with 20 HR at first? Gose has the potential to be at very least a valuable defensive player who can run the bases. A top notch bench player if his bat ever comes around its a bonus. So basically they traded a low end 1B for a top end bench guy. Even as things stand now I don’t think they lost much really.

  3. Well, he might not end up being the worst player of the 3, but I’d say he is definitely the worst current asset.

  4. It was an interesting set of rI was more curious to see the comments it would bring up. Gose has had a slow start this year and I bet if you asked the Astros about the trade, I would think they would say something like ” it’s early but so far it’s been pretty good for us”. It doesn’t really matter what Wallace does because Lind was already pegged as at first base. There was no room for him. Gse has a few years tyo develop but there was value lost in the trade.

  5. I love the whole.. ‘well if he learns how to hit, he’s going to be amazing” you can pretty much say that about any minor leaguer who can play good defense.. Truth is, the guy can’t hit… The Jays farm system has been overrated in my opinion. there just isn’t enough minor leaguers in the system that will one day push aging stars out of jobs.

  6. That’s what happens when you hire a ton of scouts and increase their pay. Other scouts start praising your organization, and sharing their thoughts with BA, BP, etc.

  7. I remember hearing Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks talking about Taylor on a Baseball Prospectus podcast and both said that from a scouting perspective, he probably won’t be too great at the ML level. They speculated that his power would never materialize in the big-leagues because of too much movement in his swing and they didn’t think it was correctable. It’s worth remembering that Taylor is already 25 and has yet to play at the big-league level.

    I’m willing to reserve judgment on these trades a little while longer. As you said, Gose is too young and hasn’t played enough pro ball to completely write off. Hell, if he hits .250/.320/.350 with the kind of defense he’s said to exhibit in center, I think that’s better than Wallace’s ceiling at first base.

  8. A .700 OPS Gose (granted he has a way to go at the moment) would be far more valuable than an .800 OPS Wallace which really is what he’s likely to be.

    Gose gets to the .750 range with excellent defense and you’re looking at a hell of a player, especially where baseball looks to be going in the ‘Post-Steroid’ era.

  9. Great minds, lol

  10. It was an interesting/risky set of transactions when they took place. Wallace was a pretty highly touted prospect when we got him while Gose was so raw. Ultimately, we had no room for Wallace anyhow with Lind sladed to first base. There was value lost in the transactions and, at the moment, Gose is the worst of the 3. I am sure the Astros would think so (for now).

    Judging these trades overall value, at this moment, is kind of like saying Vernon Wells wasn’t devoted to playing for the Blue Jays because of all his community service….

  11. What is Gose’s worst case scenario? MLB defensive replacement Dewayne Wise style? I think AA mentioned when talking about Gose at some point that he already has MLB defensive skills and that there is always some value in defense. So maybe Gose has a higher ceiling than Wallace, but may still have some MLB value even in the worst case scenario. IMO worst case scenario for Wallace is still AAAA.

  12. “it’s unrealistic to suggest that the Phillies would hold out on moving the young center fielder as part of the Roy Halladay trade (in place of Michael Taylor), then turn around and include him in a deal to acquire Roy Oswalt.”

    I don’t agree with this at all. They were already giving up two better prospects in Drabek & D’Arnaud to acquire Halladay – it’s quite possible AA asked for Gose, the Phillies balked at such a high price, and AA agreed to take Taylor instead to consummate the deal. Then, 8 months later when Amaro is faced with holes in his rotation and an available Oswalt, he’s willing to add Gose to Happ/Villar to land him.

    It’s more unreasonable for me to suggest that AA ranked the 3 prospects as Wallace > Taylor > Gose at the time of the Halladay trade, but then months later AA decided he was wrong and Gose was the more elite prospect.

    AA said he had been targeting Gose for a long time. I believe him.

  13. Actually a better analogy is would you rather have 100 shares of google right now or 1000 shares of xyz internet startup trading on the vancouver exchange? I never liked this deal either. the fact is the jays gave up a major league ready player for a single A player. and we’re not talking about ken griffey or vernon wells potential here. more like dwayne wise or corey patterson upside. how much value is there in that? even if he becomes a peter bourjos, weak hitting cf are still not worth that much. but then again weak hitting 1b are not worth that much either.

    • I seem to remember people getting excited over Carl Crawford comparisons when the deal was first struck. It’s funny to hear the Wise comparison it’s been reduced to.

  14. at the time of the trade wallace was a 3rd baseman and the jays thought his power would develop. so a power hitting 3rd baseman sounds attractive. but then his defense was not that good and his power never produced so he became a lyle overbay. it should also be noted that gose is playing in the much tougher AA instead of A ball so I guess a .232 avg is pretty good considering.

  15. Who cares about Gose? We got Drabek. Good trade.

  16. adam lind’s babip from apr 26-may 4 .600 pretty outrageous, those bloopers are gonna stop falling in for sure.

  17. @grouchy

    Bourjous was worth 1.7 WAR in 51 games last year. He was an absolutely pitiful hitter. Over a full season if he played like that, that is a very valuable player. Speed/defense CFers are valuable. Anything a player like that provides with the bat is a bonus. Bourjos is a hitting a little bit this year and is on pace to be a ~4 win player.

  18. i was pretty shocked to see that peter bourjos’ WAR last year was 1.7 in just 51g despite hitting .204/.237/.381. i guess that’s what a supreme defensive CF can do for u.

    bourjos spent his age 20 season hitting .274/.335/.426 in the midwest league.
    gose spent his age 19 season hitting .262/.332/.393 in the florida st league.

  19. My worry with this trade is the notion of teaching a guy to hit. I understand that mechanics can be played with and technique can be refined but generally if a guy can hit a guy can hit. Very few guys develop into hitters later in their minor league careers.
    That being said I must say that I would rather have a shot at a plus defence CF (with hopefully the patience to get on base) than a filler 1B that may never amount to a superstar.
    I say send Gose to the Brett Gardener school of hitting, take pitches as long as you can and when you have to swing slap the shit out of the thing. I would love to see Gose become Gardener, I don’t think he ever becomes Crawford (though maybe this year’s version).

  20. I can’t wait to look back and laugh at how much time people spent comparing two players with below averages abilities.

  21. according to BR bourjos dwar is 0.1 vs 1.5 last year. so what did he suddenly forget how to play defense? These war ratings fluctuate so much I don’t know how much stock you can put into them.

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