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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Gabe Gross

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 10/21/79, Age: 21, Bats/Throws: L/R, Height: 6’4’’, Weight: 205. Acquired: Jays - Drafted in 1st Round of 2001 Draft (Auburn). 2001 Stats: (High-A Dunedin) .302 AVG, 126 AB, 9 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 4 SB, 26 BB, 29 K, .426 OBP, .500 SLG. (AA - Tennessee) .244 AVG, 41 AB, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 0 SB, 6 BB, 12 K, .373 OBP, .488 SLG. 2002 Stats: (AA - Tennessee) .136 AVG, 81 AB, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 SB, 13 BB, 20 K, .255 OBP, .136 SLG.
    Gabe Gross is a tremendous hitting prospect who could be a future .300/30/100 hitter in the majors. Gross, the former University of Auburn quarterback, is as athletic as his pedigree would suggest, giving the Jays another high power, high speed outfielder to find a spot for. Gross is the total package as a hitter, exhibiting the ability to hit for average and power combined with plate discipline. He does not have “light tower power,” but he hits enough hard liners to get some of them out of the park. His two best attributes are also the two most mature facets of his game: his ability to hit to all fields and his patience. Even this season, where he has struggled mightily in the early going, he has been able to draw a walk in nearly 14% of his plate appearances. He still swings and misses a disproportionate amount of the time, and he has been a little pull-happy so far this year, resulting in the slump he finds himself currently embedded in. His speed is a smidgeon above average, which will probably result in 10-15 steals annually once he learns more about the art. Defensively, Gross has well above average range in right field, and an adequate arm. He has played a little center field since being drafted, and for center he has a better than average arm, but below average range. He would be best served by progressing as a right fielder, in my opinion. All told, Gross is a very complete, polished player.
    The Blue Jays farm system is loaded with offensive prospects, but is short on pitching prospects. The Blue Jays themselves are loaded offensively, but it has become apparent during the early going that they are woefully short on quality pitchers. This brings to mind two points: one, that someone is not doing a good job of drafting for need, and two, that J.P. Ricciardi has some trade bait at his disposal. The most likely candidates for a sendoff are probably Mondesi, Stewart, Bush, and Fletcher. Shannon Stewart, in particular, ought to fetch a quality arm in return, particularly from a team like the Cards or the Dodgers. They ought to clear space for Josh Phelps, Orlando Hudson, and Gabe Gross over the next few years anyway, so why not get something for their trouble? As for Gross, he has the potential to become an All-Star caliber player, but may just turn into a solid starter. His actions and talents are reminiscent of former Blue Jay Shawn Green, with the possibility of similarly untapped power at this point in their respective careers. Gross is a top-50 prospect, and should recapture his stroke very soon, which will likely earn him a promotion to Syracuse sometime this season, and Toronto within a year of that.  I would expect him, slump notwithstanding, to be the starting right fielder in Toronto by sometime in 2004.   


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