Unfortunately last night’s double header for the Bisons and Braves was cancelled again due to rain. Today I worked up a recap on the newest members of the Jays outfield and what they need to do to help win games at the next level. First I will note that Bisons manager Gary Allenson said Sean Nolin’s groin injury will likely keep him out a bit past the minimum time, because the team is going to be cautious with a recurring injury.
As most of you know Anthony Gose was called up yesterday when Colby Rasmus was placed on the DL. This in my mind was an interesting move because Gose has really struggled at the plate all year. On top of that Darin Mastroianni has been tearing it up since he arrived in Buffalo after being claimed from Minnesota. Mastroianni is sporting a .319 average and an .880 OPS, while Gose is hitting just .236 with a .653 OPS. Both were hitting at the top of the order and have similar numbers in run production and both can play all three outfield positions, so why Gose?
At 23 he is still able to wear the prospect label while Mastroianni, five years his elder no longer has that luxury. This is one of the many ways in which baseball can be truly unfair. Gose has a bit more speed and a cannon for a an arm making him a threat in the outfield and on the base paths. Two years ago at AA New Hampshire he racked up a league high 70 steals, and he leads the Bisons with eight going into the day. The concern with Gose, and the reason those 70 steals have not translated to the next levels is because he has not been on base nearly enough.
“He gets his front foot down a little bit late,” said Allenson in an attempt to explain the offensive struggles for Gose. “He’s got a nice swing, he’s got speed in the outfield, and a great arm,” he continued to say but, “it’s hard for the young guys to go up when they don’t get a lot of playing time”. To be completely honest I heard no signs of confidence from Allenson. He coded the real analysis on his offense with a compliment on another part of his game to make things sound better. I do not want to sound like I have a problem with Gose as a player, it just seems that all signs say he is not ready. Allenson did add that “getting out there, getting at bats and making your own adjustments well help,” but he sounded less sold then me. His talent is unquestioned so let’s just hope the call to the big leagues is the change of scenery he needs to get going.
The other former Bison in the Jays outfield is Kevin Pillar. His current stint in the big leagues has been a short one of course, but his approach at the plate is not getting it done. He has found himself chasing breaking balls out of the zone, digging him into holes. “He is probably trying to do a little bit too much,” said Allenson. Pillar’s former manager stressed that two games is nothing to measure a player on, but he did touch on some of the possible problems. “He got hot, but I think a little bit too much of it was pulling,” Allenson said, “I told him before he went up to focus his sights on the other side of the field a little bit because that is how they got you out last year, with a lot of breaking balls away”. With that said the inconsistent playing time is not really conducive to young guys trying to make adjustments. Perhaps now with Rasmus gone the opportunities will come more often for Pillar.
Now only time will tell if these young guys have what it takes to translate their skills to the big leagues. For the Bisons their lineup which has been greatly depleted by the call-ups will hopefully get to play today. The same matchups from yesterday are scheduled for today, but the weather may still be uncooperative.