Nine years ago, Gose was an outfielder in the Toronto Blue Jays system and among baseball’s top prospects. Baseball America ranked him as the 39th overall prospect. MLB Pipeline had it at # 57. Baseball Prospectus at # 68.
Gose had a superstar ceiling thanks to his elite athleticism, but achieving it proved difficult. Gose made his MLB debut in 2012, but would end up hitting just 0.240 / 0.309 / .348 in the big leagues. He was traded in 2014 to the Detroit Tigers and had no impact. The Tigers nominated him for an assignment in 2017 after a 2016 season in which he hit .209, but then came an interesting wrinkle: the Tigers tried him as a pitcher.
Four years later, with another team, Gose, now 31, entered an MLB game as a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. He reached 100 mph:
Gose would end the 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals with 1.2 inning pitched, one hit allowed, one earned run allowed, one walk and one strikeout on 39 shots. His only strikeout came against MLB home runs co-leader Salvador Perez.
According to Baseball Savant, his four-seam fastball averaged 99.3 mph and peaked at 100.8 mph.
Where does Anthony Gose go from here?
Even though Gose doesn’t do much from here on out, just making it back into the majors is an impressive achievement in itself. Shohei Ohtani may be spoiling us, but it is indeed difficult to be among the best in the world on both sides of the ball.
Some players have tried, but few in modern baseball outside of Ohtani and Rick Ankiel have succeeded. Former Padres wide receiver Christian Bethancourt tried but ended with a 10.13 ERA in majors and 8.02 in minors.
Gose having the arm strength to hit three digits isn’t too surprising, as just about every scouting report for him as an outfielder has pointed out his throwing ability. Just read this one in Baseball Prospectus, which mentions his experience as a pitcher in high school and also foreshadows the contract struggles that would derail his MLB career:
Good: Gose is a tool shed. He started the 2011 season with nine home runs in 271 pro games, but developed a more patient approach and started driving balls. He plans to hit 15-20 homers per year on the road. He’s a plus-plus burner who could steal 40 to 50 bases in the big leagues, and is one of baseball’s best defensive outfalls. His arm is the best in the system; he had early turn potential as a high school pitcher.
The bad: There are big questions about Gose’s sheer punching ability. His swing can go crazy, he beats good, brittle balls, and he’s struck out once for every 3.3 at bat in New Hampshire. Many are hoping he has enough secondary and defense skills to make up for a batting average that could peak in the .250 range.
In five minor league seasons, Gose posted a 4.10 ERA with 122 strikeouts in 98.2 innings pitched, but with 88 walks and nine hits per pitch in the same period. Whether or not he can overcome his control issues will decide whether he can stay in the majors at that position longer than his old position.