The Memphis Redbirds have dominated the Pacific Coast League this season and the Cardinals number-14 prospect Austin Gomber continued that dominance Monday afternoon against the Iowa Cubs.
The left-handed starter threw eight innings, gave up zero runs and set a Memphis Redbird record with 16 strikeouts. In Gomber’s 112 pitches, 85 of them were strikes.
Gomber ties the record of strikeouts in a single game with Lance Lynn who struck out 16 back in 2010.
A fourth-round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic University by the Cardinals in 2014, Gomber now has a record of 2-0 with 27 strikeouts and a 2.45 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched this season.
After winning the PCL Championship last year, the Redbirds have showed no signs of slowing down in 2018. The team is off to a 15-4 record; the best record in the PCL.
A few Redbirds have been sent up to the big leagues as a result of their performances in Memphis. Right-hander Jack Flaherty started for an injured Adam Wainwright earlier this season and outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader are currently on the 40-man roster in St. Louis.
The Cardinals could use a left-handed arm in their rotation or even the bullpen, but a log-jam of pitching prospects might prevent Gomber from seeing the big leagues in the near future.
The aforementioned Jack Flaherty would almost certainly be the next pitching call-up for the Cardinals. Since returning to Memphis, Flaherty has a 2.25 ERA and a microscopic WHIP of 0.75 in 3 starts with one of those starts being a complete game.
John Gant is another prospect who might see the big leagues before Gomber. Gant, who started two games for the Cardinals a year ago, is off to another impressive start with an ERA of 2.25 in 24 innings pitched this season. Gant’s numbers are similar to Gomber’s but Gant’s big league experience would more than likely give him the nod before Gomber.
With talent like Flaherty, Gant and Gomber, it is easy to forget about the Cardinals number one prospect who just happens to be one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball: Alex Reyes. The 23-year-old phenom is still working back from a 2017 Tommy John surgery and is unlikely to see a return to the Cardinals until the end of May whether that be as a starter or coming out of the bullpen.
The Cardinals now have a problem that most teams would love to have: a plethora of young pitching. It will be interesting to see what the club does this season with these young pitchers. Do big league starters like Wainwright or Wacha have a shorter chain with these younger arms nipping at their heels? Or does this allow the Cardinals to package together a group of talented pitchers when the trade deadline comes around in July?
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