KANSAS CITY -- Anthony Gose has made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he intends to become a "superstar" in this sport. And while Gose obviously has plenty to prove en route to that title, his participation here at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game is a fine step in that direction.Gose sat in the U.S. locker room before the annual prospects showcase and remarked at the talent surrounding him. "It's tremendous to be here," he said. "You're surrounded by a bunch of talent, a bunch of young guys on the road to being Major Leaguers. It's tremendous to be here and be surrounded by these guys."
Unfortunately, Gose was the only player on-hand to represent the Blue Jays' potentially bright future. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud, Gose's teammate at Triple-A Las Vegas and his fellow Futures Game selection, was not in attendance because of the torn posterior cruciate knee ligament he suffered last month. He probably won't be back in action until August.Both Gose and d'Arnaud, who was batting .333 with a .380 on-base percentage and .595 slugging percentage before he got hurt, came to the Jays from the Phillies organization (albeit in different trades, and with Gose making a very quick pit stop with Houston). So they go back a ways. "I've known Travis for a long time," Gose said. "We came up together. He's an incredible hitter, an incredible catcher, a guy who's just getting ready to be in the big leagues for a long time. Everybody knows there was an unfortunate injury. He was having an awesome season so far. Hopefully he'll get healthy and be ready to go soon." In the meantime, the 21-year-old Gose had to go it alone -- as far as Jays' reps are concerned -- at the Futures Game, and he found his name in U.S. manager George Brett's starting lineup, batting ninth and manning his customary center-field spot. He made his mark, singling and drawing a walk in his two plate appearances and making a spectacular catch in the third, ranging back and laying out to rob Oscar Taveras of extra bases. "It's always special [to make those plays]," Gose said, "because you save extra bases and you keep your pitcher's pitch count down. But of course, to do it here in front of a big crowd is definitely a special feeling. And it's on the Internet already!"
Now, it's back to Las Vegas for Gose, and he has no idea how much longer he'll remain there before the Jays give him a look at the Major League level. But Gose could eventually prompt the Jays to move Colby Rasmus -- who has drastically improved his performance the last two months -- to a corner outfield spot to make room for him. Whatever the plans for the future, Gose isn't stressing it. "There's no timetable or set time," he said. "Feeling ready is one thing, and actually being ready is another. You never know if you're ready until you get there, and that's something the organization has its own timetable for." Gose has undoubtedly improved his timetable by improving his offensive performance this season. With Gose, speed and defense are a given. He stole 69 bases in Double-A last year, and he's added another 29 at Triple-A in 2012. And the catch he made here in the outfield grass is par for the course. But Gose entered this season knowing he had to become more selective at the plate, and he's definitely trending in the right direction. His strikeout percentage has decreased from 26.2 percent of his plate appearances in 2011 to 21.3 percent this year, and his OBP is up to .371 after a .349 mark last year. All told, Gose is batting .290 with 38 RBIs and 75 runs scored for the 51s. "I just feel like I've made progress this year over the course of the season, working with Chad Mottola, our hitting coach, and finding out different things that work for me," Gose said. "Every day, it's about getting in the cage and working out, and working on different things to try and figure out what's going to be the actual solution to what the finished product is. Right now, we're on the right path, and I'm excited about it." Gose was also, naturally, excited to be here for the Futures Game. It's one step closer to "superstar" status. "Not too many guys," he said, "are able to come and be around this many talented guys at one time."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.