The Cardinals are starting WHO today?
Marco Gonzales. The 1st round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 (19th overall). Not to be confused with Marco Gonzalez who spent 2006-2009 with the Cardinals farm system and eventually made it to AAA Memphis before moving on from the organization.
Gonzales is a 6’1″ lefty from Fort Collins Colorado and went to college at Gonzaga University. He was born in 1992.
He will wear #56.
Gonzales was actually drafted by the Rockies in 2010 out of high school (29th round) and chose to go to college instead. He’ll make his MLB debut in his home state, against the team he spurned.
He is the only Colorado high school pitcher to be the winning pitcher in four state championship games (2007-10).
Frank Gonzales (Marco’s father) is the pitching coach for the Tri-City Dust Devils, a Single-A affiliate of the Rockies.
The Cardinals cheering section could be even more robust today. Gina Gonzales, Marco’s mom, said Gonzaga’s coaching staff is flying in for the debut and there will be parts of two sections at Coors Field filled with a Gonzales fan club, including nearly all of the Rocky Mountain baseball program.
Is he any good?
On the season in AA Springfield, Gonzales is 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 46 strike outs. He was the Texas League player of the week (06/16) recently. And logic would say that anyone the Cardinals are taking in the 1st round of a draft is probably pretty good.
However, he’s not totally killing it in AA ball. He’s given up 33 hits in 38 1/3 innings, but has used a low walk to strikeout rate (10 to 46) to keep the ERA down. People are making contact on Gonzales. But he’s making up for the base-runners with strikeouts.
That being said, Gonzales was scheduled to pitch in the Texas League All-Star Game last night, according to the Denver Post – so overall he’s been a top performer in MiLB during 2014.
He’s always close to the strike zone and tops out around 91 MPH on his fastball. He features a ++ change-up and throws curves and sliders. He works quickly, according to Matheny.
What can we expect today?
In Gonzales’ 7 starts at AA the deepest he’s gone into a game was 7 innings. And he’s only averaging about 5 1/3 innings per outing. So if you’re in the Cardinals bullpen, expect to play today.
He’s experienced in pitching at altitude, which may be worth something?
But we also know that Mike Matheny has a quicker hook with young guys and prefers to go with his veterans when he can. With 7 games coming up against the Dodgers and Giants and the Rockies a bottom feeder in the NL West, he’ll try to sneak out a win here against a lesser team.
Don’t forget, the Rockies are also using this game to debut a MLB pitcher – Yohan Flande. Not that you bet on baseball, but if you do, this would be one to sit out. Anything is possible today.