AL East’s “Blocked” Minor League Position Players: Toronto Blue Jays


Last week I wrote my first instalment in this mini-series. I had initially planned on beginning with the Toronto Blue Jays, and writing an article about Travis d’Arnaud, but fortunately for me, I chose to begin with Bryce Bentz of the Pawtucket Red Sox in a piece last Tuesday. Now that Alex Anthopoulos has pulled off his second major trade of the offseason, I feel slightly more comfortable picking a player that fits the description of “blocked” in Toronto, who may actually be in the organization in April.

Now that d’Arnaud is gone, and with the free agent additions of this successful offseason, Anthony Gose is likely the top rated position player who won’t make the team, and has already had a “cup of coffee” in the bigs last year. The injuries decimated the Blue Jays, but it did allow for Anthopoulos and co. to get a look at some youngsters. No doubt Gose is raw and has work to do, but it wasn’t hard to see how athletically gifted he is, and have visions of a Kenny Loften type player in the Blue Jays future.

Gose was originally drafted by the Phillies in 2008, and he became a member of the Blue Jays via the Roy Halladay blockbuster (which also included d’Arnaud, and injured SP Kyle Drabek). Since joining the Jays, Gose has moved up and played the majority of 2012 in AAA Las Vegas. He hit the tune of .286/.366/.785 with 34 stolen bases in 102 games with the 51’s, and played outstanding defence in CF.

Combined in a couple stops in the bigs, Gose had a less than spectacular beginning to his career in Toronto, but certainly looked better in his second stint. Overall in 56 games and 166 AB’s, Gose finished with a line of .223/.303/.622. He did manage to swipe 15 bases in 18 attempts, but at times looked a bit lost at the plate against major league arms. Gose was especially susceptible to the breaking ball, but did show improved patience as he got a fair amount of playing time late in the season. He also made quick adjustments playing in all 3 outfield positions, and showing glimpses of what he’ll be capable of when he arrives.

Aug 16, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays pinch runner Anthony Gose (43) steals second base in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at the Rogers Centre. The White Sox beat the Blue Jays 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

When Alex Anthopoulos signed Melky Cabrera, the chances that Gose would begin the year with the big league club took a big hit. Now that AA has struck again and traded for R.A. Dickey with some key minor league pieces, the feeling is he’ll likely be done with substantial moves this offseason leaving a high-upside outfield of Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, and of course Jose Bautista. Chances are high that if one of those 3 suffer an injury, Gose will be the first player called upon, but in another organization to begin 2013, Gose may have had the opportunity to play Major League Baseball.

Gose certainly isn’t a case of “blocked” forever by any means, but chances are good that he’ll play well and push for another call-up long before his next opportunity may come. The Blue Jays plan on making a strong push in 2013, as evidenced by the aggressive offseason from the front office. That all too often means another year of seasoning for talented youngsters such as Gose, and may see him in Buffalo for most, or all of 2013.

With a skill set like Gose’s, it won’t be long before he’ll be patrolling CF in the Majors, whether it’s with the Blue Jays or another organization. It’s likely an important year for Colby Rasmus as far as job security in Toronto, and if he plays as poorly as he did in stretches last year, perhaps Gose gets the shot he’s likely ready for now.