The Blue Jays still don't know what to expect offensively from Goins, but Anthopoulos said his defense made him a standout.
"Defensively, the more you watch him, the more you realize how good he is defensively, just his actions, the way he moves," Anthopoulos said.
"We're going to value the defense because it's that good. He has room to do less offensively because the defense is so elite. I don't use that word lightly. I really think he's elite, and he's got a chance to win a Gold Glove there."
Goins came up through the Minor Leagues as a shortstop but made a flawless transition to second base late last season. He has tremendous range up the middle, good hands and a quick release that is especially valuable when turning a double play.
The big question mark about Goins, though, is the bat, and the questions really won't be answered once and for all until the start of the regular season.
"The tough part is, you realize it's two at-bats a game, three at-bats a game; the competition level varies," Anthopoulos said of Goins' spring audition.
"Goins is the front-runner because of the defense that he showed, but he still has to earn that job."
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.