Anthony Gose is well aware of his speed. His opponents are well aware of his speed. And anyone who has seen him on the basepaths or tracking down balls in centerfield is well aware of his speed.
The 20-year old New Hampshire Fisher Cats speedster is turning heads (and hurting necks in the process) with his jaw-dropping skills. Through 45 games played, Gose has stolen 20 bases on 24 attempts, good enough to put him atop the Eastern League’s leader board.
“I feel great,” said Gose. “I’ve made some adjustments out there regarding the size of my lead, worked on getting better jumps, a better first step, and that’s been a big credit to how good I’m doing so far.”
That number also puts him on pace to chase down the Fisher Cats single-season stolen base mark of 46, set only one season ago by current teammate Darin Mastroianni.
In 45 games played last season, Mastroianni had 20 stolen bases and had only been cut down on 2 occasions to that point.
Gose is well aware the importance of having a goal.
“I’ve thrown it out there a few times, that I’m going to break the record,” joked Gose, but Mastroianni, recently sent down from Triple-A Las Vegas, has yet to get in on the act.
“We haven’t talked about that yet,” said Gose. “I don’t think he’s been around.”
Gose started the 2010 campaign with High-A Clearwater in the Florida State League and played 103 games with the Threshers before being part of the trade that send Houston Astros’ pitcher Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia. The Blue Jays had coveted the speedy prospect, who had led all of Minor League Baseball with 76 steals in 2009, and they quickly struck a deal with Houston to get Gose for Brett Wallace.
Gose didn’t have to go far as he ended up with the Dunedin Blue Jays, also in the Florida State League. He ended the season with a total of 45 stolen bases, but was caught stealing 32 times for a 58% success rate.
“Last year was just a rough year and this year I’ve turned the corner and made some adjustments offensively and defensively, and on the base paths.”
Gose is well aware that he can’t get caught 30+ times again if he wants to break the record.
“If it happens, it happens, but as long as I have a good percentage of stolen bases, that’s all that matters.”
Such a feat requires longevity, health and the green light and Gose will need to pick up approximately one stolen base every 3.5 games for the remainder of the season.
“Generally, knock on wood, I feel pretty healthy and play every day, so that’s hopefully not going to be a problem.”
Heading into the season, Gose was ranked by MLB.com as the fifth best Blue Jays prospect and Baseball America ranked him as the Blue Jays fourth best prospect.
He stumbled a bit out of the gate, hitting only .238 for the month of April in his first taste of Double-A ball, but has since turned things around and has raised his average to .277 thanks to a breakout May where he has hit .314, with his first two home runs of the season, 21 runs scored, 14 RBI and a .423 on-base percentage.
“Slowly but surely things are starting to come together and I still have some work to do,” explained Gose. “I have to get better on the pitch selection and stay within my approach and stay within myself and just try to put the barrel on the ball.”
Getting on base will obviously be a key to his pursuit of the record. Continuing to improve his overall game will be key to him moving up the ladder.
“I still got some work to do, there’s room for improvement there," added Gose. "Hopefully, it keeps on improving.”
The statistics speak volumes and the results continue to get better, Gose is aware of this.