Exit Interview: Marco Gonzales

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.  Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Marco Gonzales

Season stats: 0-0, 13.50 ERA, 1 games, 2.2 IP, 7 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 K, 3.000 WHIP, 3.00 FIP, -0.2 bWAR

Hero/Goat: None

Overall grade: C-

Positives: Was able to pitch after being diagnosed with a shoulder impingement and a pectoral injury, so at least he wasn’t shut down with those issues….also, with the injuries, there was some reasons behind a season that saw him take a step back statistically….had a stretch in Memphis in mid-August where he allowed just two runs in 15.1 innings over three starts….his rehab starts in Palm Beach and Springfield in July went well, as he didn’t allow an earned run over 11.1 innings in four appearances over the two levels….threw two scoreless innings in his one major league start before things went downhill.

Negatives: Hopefully because of injury, but Gonzales’s numbers at Memphis weren’t impressive at all, going 1-5 with a 5.45 ERA in 14 starts (coming just shy of 70 innings)….Gonzales’s K/BB ratio at AAA was just over 2.00, but he walked 24 batters in that span….his one major league outing, against Washington, was unsurprisingly short as the Nationals scored four runs in the third inning to chase him from the game….was not called back up when rosters expanded, as the club decided to let him start his offseason early.

Overview: It’s so difficult to know where the club stands with Gonzales.  Most of us would like to assume (and perfectly rationally) that the injuries were the biggest reason that this was a lost season for the 2013 first round draft pick.  Couple that with the fact that he’d had such a meteoric rise to the big leagues in 2014 and it’s not surprising that there were some adjustments to be made.  All in all, though, Gonzales didn’t look like the guy that became a trusted part of a postseason bullpen the year before.

Not that anyone should be panicking about this, of course.  Gonzales was still almost four years young for Memphis last season and could easily spend another year down there developing without being hampered in his major league career.  We so often expect prospects, once they show some success in the big leagues, to always stick, but it doesn’t necessarily happen that way.  There’s a number of players over on the other side of Missouri that could testify to that, I believe.

Outlook: Even if John Lackey goes elsewhere and the Cardinals don’t bring in a free agent, there’s still not going to be an obvious place for Gonzales on this team next season.  There’s talk about using him out of the pen, but that would seem to be a better spot for Tyler Lyons.  As noted, Gonzales is still young for Triple-A and it would seem feasible to let him spend most of the year there, developing strength and having success again, before perhaps a late-season call to the ‘pen with an eye toward the 2017 rotation.

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