When the St. Louis Cardinals drafted Marco Gonzales in the first round of the 2013 draft they expected him to move quickly through the system, but no one thought that he would move this quickly. With injuries ravishing the rotation, the young left-hander has already earned his promotion. In the heat of the pennant race, he will be expected to learn on the fly and keep the club in the race.
The major reason that Gonzales was drafted in the first round and the highest player ever drafted out of Gonzaga was his pinpoint command of the strikezone. In his three years in college not only did Gonzales not have an ERA over three, but he also rarely walked batters, averaging just two free-passes per nine innings. He also showed his dominance of the zone by keeping opposing batters to a miniscule .212 batting average in his first two seasons.
As a professional, Gonzales has been just as good. In 21 appearances and 19 starts, he has a 2.08 ERA. This season, through two levels he has been even better allowing only 16 runs in over 76 innings. He has continued to show his impressive command by averaging over a strikeout per inning in AA.
While he is not a power pitcher, the Cardinals have showed their trust in him by giving him a promotion with very little professional experience. With an average fastball that he is able to locate, Gonzales utilizes his off-speed and breaking pitches to control the game. Many viewed his changeup as the best in the draft.
For years with the St. Louis Cardinals it seems that if one young player goes down, another on is instantly ready to step in and take over. While he only has 19 career starts behind him in the minor leagues, there is no reason to doubt that Marco Gonzales will be a successful major leaguer. Being a location specialist, Gonzales has never been fazed at any level and the big leagues should be no different. It took less than a year and a half, but he is ready to carry on the Cardinal way and live his dream in the major leagues.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference