St. Louis Cardinals: Four Minor League Prospects Bound to be Stars
Austin Gomber – Left-handed Pitcher, Age 22
Austin Gomber is the St. Louis Cardinals’ No. 19 prospect and has absolutely dominated as of late. He was clearly the best pitcher in the Arizona Fall League and quite possibly has cemented himself as part of the St. Louis Cardinals’ future.
While pitching in the AFL, Gomber posted five wins with one loss in seven starts while maintaining a 2.14 ERA. He also recorded 33 strikeouts which lead the entire league. Out of all 127 AFL pitchers, Gomber clearly had the best fall. He may not have been the number one prospect pitcher there, but it is very encouraging to see the lefty rising up.
“Gomby has been phenomenal — he has been as consistent as consistent can be,” Aaron Rowand (the former MLB All-Star who managed Gomber and the Glendale Desert Dogs) stated to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He really knows how to pull the string and have confidence in his change-up, which is devastating against the right-handed guys.”
Last season, Gomber primarily played for the Cardinals affiliate team in Peoria but finished the season in Double-A Springfield. He will likely be a part of that club’s rotation this spring but could be considered for a spot in Triple-A Memphis.
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Gomber entered the AFL after a very strong regular season. He made 21 starts between Class-A Advanced Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield and posted a 7-8 record with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.
Despite being No. 19 on the St. Louis prospect list, in 2015, Gomber shared the prestige of being named the organization’s top pitching prospect with No.1 prospect, Alex Reyes. Reyes, as many Redbird fans know, made his major league debut late in the 2016 season and didn’t disappoint.
A lot of Gomber’s success can be traced back to his fantastic curveball. He’s worked on it endlessly and it has helped him become effective against left handed and right handed hitters.
The Cardinals’ pitching coordinator last spring, Tim Leveque, told the Post-Dispatch: “I showed him the grip that we used with a lot of guys. He’s able to be aggressive with it and not try and manipulate it to make it move. Guys want to see the movement and make it have that shape. Doesn’t always work like that. This grip locks it in deep in the hand and then just throw it with conviction.”
Austin Gomber, like Harrison Bader and Carson Kelly, has been progressing through the minors at a quick rate. He’s shown a lot of potential and even put on a pitching clinic during the AFL. With a bit more time, maturity, and experience, he will certainly become a contributor at the big-league level.