First off, let it be known that this post should be prefaced with the big ole qualifier of "it's only spring training."
Still, it was kind of cool to see the way the Toronto Blue Jays won their spring training game over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. Prospect Anthony Gose stole three straight bases after drawing a leadoff walk in the eighth inning. His steal of home brought home the winning run in a 3-2 Jays victory, their 10th straight in Grapefruit League action.
Stealing one's way around the bases is a rarity in the regular season, of course. Only 50 players have done the deed in big-league history with the Dodgers' Dee Gordon doing it last July and Jayson Werth going full klepto in 2009. It hasn't happened during a regular-season AL game since Chris Stynes did it for the Kansas City Royals in 1996.
"I never saw anybody steal second, third and home in the same inning in my career," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He is obviously exciting. He can take over on the basepaths. He has a combination of pure speed, plus the ability to read some things. You just turn him loose. He's a pure basestealer."
With 194 swipes over four minor-league seasons, no one's arguing otherwise with Gose. The 21-year-old outfielder was formerly in the Phillies system but came to Toronto for Brett Wallace after originally being dealt to Houston as part of the Roy Oswalt trade. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and Keith Law of ESPN both have him ranked as the fourth-best prospect in Toronto's organization. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has him ranked second.
Gose's thievery on Thursday moved the Jays' spring training record to 22-4, by far the best mark of anyone in baseball. That may not mean a darn thing once the real games start being played, but as manager John Farrell noted on MLB.com:
"If we were sitting here 4-22, it would be a different story. Everyone would be asking, 'What's wrong?'"
No wonder they're chanting for the Jays at Leafs games these days.