Marco Gonzales, the St. Louis Cardinals 2013 first round draft pick, will be making his Major League debut against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. I had the opportunity to interview Marco last August.
Gonzales was only drafted in June of 2013, days after 2012 first rounder Michael Wacha made his Major League debut. It was predicted by the likes of Jim Callis and others that the Gonzaga product would make his debut in 2014 but nobody expect it would be prior to the month of September.
Gonzales is familiar with the thin air of Colorado having pitched and won four state 5A state championships. With the Cardinals playing on the road at Coors Field, there’s no question that the thin air had to have been on their mind when looking for somebody to get the call on Wednesday.
“There are a lot of things that point in a good direction for how (Gonzales) has been going, how he’s been throwing the ball well,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said according to Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold. “He’s grown up here. A lot of people come into Colorado not knowing what’s to be expected. It could be an advantage to a sense. He’ll be elated to have his debut here.
“I think he’s ready. He deserves this opportunity.”
In lieu of starting the Class AA Texas League All-Star Game, Gonzaga is traveling to Denver to make his Major League debut. To clear up a roster spot for Gonzales, who is not on the 40-man roster, the Cardinals will transfer Keith Butler to the 60-day DL. Butler is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
In six starts with the Palm Beach Cardinals (A, Florida State League), Gonzales posted a 2-2 record with a 1.43 ERA before being promoted to the Springfield Cardinals (AA, Texas League). With Springfield, Gonzales has been impressive, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.33 ERA. Gonzales threw 46 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings.
“His composure. His demeanor,” Matheny said about the promotion, according to Goold. “There are a lot of things we saw in spring training. How he could command the plate but also the corners of the plate. There are some things that he was doing that first of all got our attention to where he would be a first-round pick and the same things we’ve seen as he progressed through the system. It all lines up well for him to come up here and help us do what we need to.”
Tim Cooney was considered but he would have had to start on short rest so the team opted against promoting the Wake Forest product.
Prior to Monday’s game, righ-handed pitcher Eric Fornataro and shortstop Pete Kozma were promoted from Memphis. Kozma’s promotion comes two days after Shane Robinson was promoted when Kolten Wong was placed on the DL. This now gives the Cardinals two backup infielders off the bench, with the other being one of Mark Ellis or Daniel Descalso.