No. 4: Anthony Gose, Detroit Tigers
Apr 8, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Anthony Gose (12) hits a single in the 5th inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
While it’s still too early in the season to draw any conclusions, Anthony Gose has performed a well as most center fielders in the league to this point. He is hitting the ball with authority to all parts of the field and using his speed to man an impressive center field.
But, given his unimpressive (brief) history, how long can this go on?
According to Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs, the 24-year-old’s revamped mechanics might very well lead to a more productive season than Fangraphs projected at the beginning of the season:
"Through his first three opportunities in the bigs, Gose came to the plate more than 600 times, and he managed a .285 wOBA. That’s a bad wOBA — the sort of wOBA acceptable only from a pinch-runner or defensive specialist. For 2015, our own projections peg him for a .292 wOBA, which is technically better, but ranked with Shane Robinson and Aaron Hicks. It’s a perfectly sensible projection; it matches what Gose has done, allowing for a little improvement from the 24-year-old. But there’s something projections can’t account for as they analyze the history: what if a hitter changes his swing?"
Gose had the best spring training of his young career after spending the Grapefruit League revamping his swing with Tigers’ hitting coach Wally Joyner. Much like J.D. Martinez under the tutelage of Joyner a year ago, Gose has made noticeable changes to his approach and, to date, it has payed off.
After hitting .226 in 94 games with the Toronto Blue Jays last season, Gose is off to a .393/.393/.643 start in seven games with the Tigers. He is still more of a platoon play with Rajai Davis in centerfield, but Gose is becoming a legitimate option to lead off in a potent Detroit lineup. One would reasonably expect Gose to return to Earth and perform closer to his .241/.306/.347 career marks, but he could trump that expectation and put together the best season of his young career.
If he does, expect him to appear a little higher in these rankings come midseason.
Next: No. 3