Indians’ Anthony Gose hits 100 mph in pitching debut

There are many different paths to success in baseball, but only a few represent that of Anthony Gose.

Nine years ago, Gose was an outfielder in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system and among the best prospects in baseball. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 39 overall prospect. MLB Pipeline had him at No. 57. Baseball Prospectus at No. 68.

Gose had a superstar ceiling thanks to his elite athleticism, but reaching it turned out to be difficult. Gose made his MLB debut in 2012, but would end up hitting just .240/.309/.348 in the big leagues. He was traded in 2014 to the Detroit Tigers and failed to make an impact. The Tigers designated him for assignment in 2017 after a 2016 season in which he hit .209, but then came an interesting wrinkle: the Tigers tried him out as a pitcher.

Four years later, with yet another team, the now-31-year-old Gose entered an MLB game as a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. He hit 100 mph:

Gose would finish the 4-2 loss against the Kansas City Royals with 1.2 innings pitched, one hit allowed, one earned run allowed, one walk and one strikeout on 39 pitches. His lone strikeout came against MLB home runs co-leader Salvador Perez.

Per Baseball Savant, his four-seam fastball averaged 99.3 mph and topped out at 100.8 mph.

Where does Anthony Gose go from here?

Even if Gose doesn’t do much from here, just making it to the majors again is an impressive achievement in itself. Shohei Ohtani might spoil us, but it is indeed difficult to become among the world’s best 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 catcher Christian Bethancourt tried, but wound up with a 10.13 ERA in the majors and 8.02 in the minors.

Gose having the arm strength to hit triple digits isn’t too surprising, as pretty much every scouting report for him as an outfielder highlighted his throwing ability. Just read this one from Baseball Prospectus, which mentions his high school pitching experience and also foreshadows the contract struggles that would derail his MLB career:

The Good: Gose is a toolshed. He entered the 2011 season with nine home runs in 271 pro games, but he developed a more patient approach and began to drive balls. He projects to hit 15-20 homers per year down the road. He’s a plus-plus burner who could steal 40-50 bases in the big leagues, and is one of baseball’s best defensive outfielders. His arm is the best in the system; he had early-round potential as a high school pitcher.

The Bad: There are big questions about Gose’s pure hitting ability. His swing can get loopy, he flails at good breaking balls, and he struck out once for every 3.3 at-bats at New Hampshire. Many hope he has enough secondary skills and defense to make up for a batting average that could peak in the .250 range.

In five minor league seasons, Gose has posted a 4.10 ERA with 122 strikeouts in 98.2 innings pitched, but with 88 walks and nine hit-by-pitches in that same span. Whether or not he can overcome his control issues will decide if he can stick in the this position longer than his old one.