Eventually, major-league catchers will have to worry about Anthony Gose’s straight-out blinding speed.
Yet, Gose has something else in his arsenal: the delayed steal.
“I’ve never seen a real fast guy use it the way he does,” said New Hampshire manager Sal Fasano.
“His delay lulls the other team to sleep. They don’t think he’s going. Everyone relaxes, ‘Oh we don’t have anything to worry about.’ And he takes off. Neither the shortstop or second baseman are there for the throw.”
Fasano said when he caught in the majors, Paul Molitor, with a unique blend of speed and base-running instincts, would use the delayed steal.
“I think Anthony used it with the Phillies and has been mastering it since he came to us,” Fasano said. “It’s not two shuffles, step and go. Most guys delay and put there head down and go.
“Anthony will shuffle one step and break with his head up.”
Gose led the minors with 79 steals at class-A Lakewood in 2009 and a year ago was dealt to the Jays for first baseman Brett Wallace in a three-way deal involving the Houston Astros, Phillies and Jays. He stole 45 bases last year, thrown out 32 times in the class-A Florida State League.
That’s only a 58% success rate.
This season he’s been good 47 times in 61 attempts (77%), not far off the desired rate of 80% managers prefer from their thieves.
“I’ll bet half the times he’s been caught are at third, he needs some work stealing third,” said Fasano.
Gose stole second in the seventh inning Monday at New Britain for his 47th steal, breaking the New Hampshire stolen base record outfielder Darin Mastroianni set in 132 games a year ago. And Gose has 39 games remaining to add to his total.
“He’s made big improvements, he’s consistent with his jumps, he’s not getting caught often,” Fasano said. “We’ve done a few things, like change his posture.”
As you try to wrap your noggin around former catcher Fasano teaching base running tricks, you should know Fasano gives the credit to Justin Mashore, the outfield and base running coach.
Fasano said he’s given Gose the freedom to run. And when he does make a mistake they discuss it.
“I play old school, up by five, down by five, we don’t run, so he’s not getting worthless steals in the fifth, up by six,” Fasano said. “Everyone in the park knows he’s going. It’s late and we’re down by a couple of runs, he’s going.”
Fasano said a New Britain pitcher threw over to first five straight times Wednesday before going to the plate.
“If they do a throw over twice, I go through the signs again, so I can control the tempo,” said the manager.
The Fisher Cats lost 7-6 in 11 innings, despite four hits from Adeiny Hechavarria and hammered New Britain 17-3 in the second game, thanks to five RBIs from Travis d’Arnaud and four hits from Mark Sobolewski.
Gose struck out three times in the opener, tripled and drove in three runs in the second game, raising his average to .255.
“(Gose) has enough arm to play right or left in the majors,” Fasano said. “He caught a ball on the warning track against New Britain in the right-centre, near the 375 sign, and threw out a guy at third — in the air. Joe Benson, their centre fielder — so he can run — had tagged at second.
“We’ve got some arms with Moises Sierra, Gose and when Justin Jackson is in left. Usually a minor-league outfield has one guy who can throw.”
How did Gose, who fits into the Jays long-term plans in centre, take Wednesday’s arrival of centre fielder Colby Rasmus from the St. Louis Cardinals?
“He’s arrogant enough to think they will move players to make room for him,” Fasano said jokingly. “All the good ones have that confidence.”
The Jays have never been known for having whippets in their minor-league system.
“Not,” said Fasano with two career steals in 427 games in 11 seasons in the majors, “until I got here.”