Wednesday, March 16, 2011
So it Gose
Mind the hacky pun but I've thought a lot about Anthony Gose this week. Yesterday at Getting Blanked I compared him to Jacoby Ellsbury, which some readers thought unfair. "Gose is the number three position player in the Jays system!" I heard.
It is true, Baseball America ranked Gose third in the Jays system, also rating him as the best defensive outfielder, best outfield arm and fastest runner. Clearly Gose is a great natural athlete with, judging by early spring reports, the ability to step in and play defense at the big league level today.
To say his bat is a question mark is a little on the cruel side to question marks the world over. Gose is still very young and very raw so any leap to base judgement on his ability is misguided.
Consider, once again, Jacoby Ellsbury. His 2010 was forgettable but his 2009 was quite decent, 70 steals are fun to look at no matter how many outs he made at the plate. Consider for a second that Ellsbury was the Red Sox number one prospect in 2007, according to Baseball America.
At that time Ellsbury ranked as the fastest runner, best athlete, best defensive outfielder and best hitter for average. Yikes. How things change. Ellsbury is a league-average offensive player with exceptional speed, a strong arm and so-so defense. Uncomfortable as the comparison may be, I don't think it is wildly off-base.
Perhaps another comparison suits you better, like Michael Bourn by chance? Bourn is a great fielder (across the board) and a feared base runner. Ed Wade dragged him to Houston and Bourn broke out, posting two consecutive seasons worth more than 4 WAR each.
Bourn always sported strong walk rates, both in the minors at as a struggling Major Leaguer. If anything, Bourn is too much like Brett Gardner (a.k.a. the player we all want Gose to be but know he isn't likely to replicate) for the comparison to be fair. So I guess we'll have to hope for Ellsbury.
I'm interested in your reactions to this comparison. Does this excite or terrify you? What is Gose's absolute ceiling, in your mind? Are back to back 4 WAR seasons the kind of "high ceiling" Alex Anthopoulos had in mind when he acquired Gose?
Image courtesy of Reuters via Daylife.