St. Louis Cardinals’ 2016 Top Prospects: #11 Austin Gomber
One thing the St. Louis Cardinals have become pretty good at is developing effective left handed pitchers, as is evidenced in this prospect.
The St. Louis Cardinals‘ Top Prospect of today is another lefty and one who could begin shooting through the system if his success continues. I am probably higher on this prospect than most. However, one thing that is hard for pitchers to have when they first come into professional ball is commanding the strike zone. That’s not a problem for Austin Gomber, and that is why he is so high on my list here.
Gomber isn’t the flashy prospect like yesterday’s Junior Fernandez, or even Alex Reyes. Gomber won’t even live up to the potential of those pitchers. That doesn’t mean that Gomber isn’t a very good pitcher or a very good prospect for the Cardinals. It simply means that Gomber is a bit different than those guys.
So, what is there to like about this fourth round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic University?
#11 Austin Gomber SP
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Scout Grade: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 45 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Analysis: Like I stated before, Gomber doesn’t have the blazing fastball that guys like Reyes or Fernandez have. However, what he does have is pitchability, something that most professional rookies struggle with for a while. However, this is what made Gomber so good this season. He had an incredible ability to simply control the strike zone and creatively use his stuff to get hitters out.
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The one comparison that everyone is bringing up with Gomber is Tim Cooney. That’s not a bad comparison for Gomber, although strictly looking at stats shows that Gomber could be a little better than Cooney.
Cooney is as pitch to contact of a pitcher as you can get, as is evidenced by his high H/9 and WHIP numbers. However Gomber, is a bit of a different guy, as he relies on his ability to sort of fool hitters into weak contact, as is evident by his lower H/9 and WHIP.
Gomber does have a little bit of a funky delivery, which makes some a little weary on his future projections. However, I would argue that this delivery adds to his deception a bit and probably keeps hitters off balance, as he makes it a little harder to see the ball than your typical left-hander.
Our own Dan Buffa had a chance to talk to Gomber this past weekend at Winter Warm-Up, he asked him about his 15 game winning streak, which Gomber said, “It helped me. Confidence wise. Most I ever had, especially in the playoffs. Knowing other teams knew I had the streak. It helped me in the long run.” This is good for a guy just coming in out of college.
Derek Shore of Scout.com has this to say about his overall ability, “it wouldn’t be surprising if Gomber – like many who have a track record of success in college – suddenly faces adversity in the upper levels. Without premium “get it by you” stuff, his margin for error is slim as the amount of mistakes he faced in the lower levels compared to the higher levels will be greatly magnified.”
This is interesting, it plays to the idea that there’s more to see yet out of Gomber before we can declare him a future player for the Cardinals’ rotation.
Roster Prediction: A+ Palm Beach
While Dan mentions that Gomber could be a player for Springfield and Memphis next year, it is important for Gomber to get a shot at proving himself a little further at Advanced A Palm Beach, before he gets a promotion up to Springfield.
Next: Cardinals' 2016 Top Prospects: #12 Junior Fernandez
I don’t see him going beyond Springfield next year, but with him being a college arm, we could see him at the major league level quicker than some others in this system.
In case you have missed out on any of our “Top Prospects” series, you can check them out here.
Scout Grade via MLB.com