Batavia Muckdogs Starter of the Year: 2010

Southpaw John Gast is The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Batavia Starter of the Year.

While John Gast's selection as the top starting pitcher with Batavia this past summer is not quite the ‘no brainer' that Jose Rada's was as Reliever of the Year, the decision was fairly clear cut. The only hesitation was over Gast's overall lack of innings since he appeared in only eight regular season games that encompassed 35 innings. But the quality of those starts was so overpowering it overcame any uncertainty about the limited number of innings.

Gast was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the fifth round in June 2007 out of Lake Brantley High School in Florida, about one month after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He opted to attend Florida State University from where St. Louis drafted him in the sixth round in June 2010. The junior's signing was announced on July 8th, at which time he was assigned to Batavia.

Gast's professional debut came on July 14th when he pitched an inning out of the bullpen (July 14th was also the day Batavia's tandem rotation was officially eliminated.) He resurfaced five days later on July 19th, pitching three innings in relief. Gast moved into the rotation on August 1st where he remained for the rest of the season.

Overall, Gast was undefeated with a 6-0 regular season record and a no decision in his only post-season start. He gave up 27 hits, including one home run and eight walks in thirty-five innings for a 1.00 WHIP and a .227 batting average against (.286 BABIP). Gast allowed six runs, all earned, which resulted in a 1.54 ERA, 2.29 FIP. He recorded 38 ground outs and 19 fly outs.

Gast struck out 36, including an August 13th start against Hudson Valley in which he K'd 11. That start earned him New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week honors and was his best start of the year. His worst start of the year was his last appearance, game one of the post-season. Gast gave up seven runs, all earned, on nine hits and a walk over five innings. Six of the seven runs allowed came via two three-run home runs in the first inning of that game.

Gast turned 21 in February (DOB 2/16/89) which made him five months younger than Batavia's average roster age of 21-11-28.

While John Gast was the best starter at Batavia this season, let us take a look at the other starters.

Justin Edwards (DOB 12/03/87) (29th Round, 2009 Draft – Kennesaw State): Spent all of the 2009 season at Batavia, 2010 New York-Penn League All-Star selection.

Justin Edwards
Period Covered IP ERA FIP H BB SO
Overall 77.1 3.38 3.14 76 22 66
through July 31st 43.2 2.27 2.47 35 13 37
Aug 1 to Sept 5 33.2 4.81 4.00 41 9 29
             
  WHIP BAA BABIP BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Overall 1.27 0.256 0.282 2.6 7.7 3:01
through July 31st 1.10 0.217 0.250 2.7 7.6 2.9:1
Aug 1 to Sept 5 1.49 0.301 0.322 2.4 7.8 3.2:1

Edwards' overall numbers looked pretty good until you see the dramatic difference in performance pre- and post- August 1st. During the post-season, he pitched two innings in support of Zack Russell in Batavia's victory in game two. Edwards gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk. He struck out three.

Anthony Ferrara (DOB 09/02/89) (7th Round, 2008 Draft – Riverside High School, Florida): Spent 2008 season with the GCL Cardinals and 2009 at Johnson City. Ferrara made just three starts as part of the tandem rotation with Matt North before suffering a groin injury during a July 1st start. He pitched out of the bullpen upon his August 26th return and was not nearly as effective as he was prior to his injury.

Anthony Ferrara
Period Covered IP ERA FIP H BB SO
Overall 18 6.00 3.42 23 4 17
through July 31st 12.1 1.46 3.12 7 2 10
Aug 1 to Sept 5 5.2 15.87 4.08 16 2 7
             
  WHIP BAA BABIP BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Overall 1.50 0.299 0.339 2.0 8.5 4.3:1
through July 31st 0.73 0.163 0.176 1.5 7.3 5:1
Aug 1 to Sept 5 3.17 0.471 0.536 3.2 11.1 3.5:1

For what it is worth, Ferrara's stats out of the bullpen are inflated by a horrific appearance on September 4th in which he gave up seven runs, earned, on five hits and two walks. However, since he only pitched 18 innings plus another inning in the post-season, Ferrara's 2010 season appears to be a developmental wash-out.

Nick McCully (DOB 09/05/88) (9th Round, 2009 Draft – Coastal Carolina College): Pitched out of Quad Cities' bullpen in 2009.

Nick McCully
Period Covered IP ERA FIP H BB SO
Overall 68.2 4.19 3.51 68 17 44
through July 31st 35 2.31 2.89 28 7 24
Aug 1 to Sept 5 33.1 6.15 4.15 40 10 20
             
  WHIP BAA BABIP BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Overall 1.24 0.263 0.274 2.2 5.8 2.6:1
through July 31st 1.00 0.228 0.248 1.8 6.2 3.4:1
Aug 1 to Sept 5 1.49 0.294 0.296 2.7 5.3 2:1

McCully, like Justin Edwards, faded as the season progressed. On the plus side his control improved over his 2009 performance when he walked an average of 6.3 batters every nine innings. On the down side McCully did not strike out many opponents. That is notable in a league of players that have not generally learned a great deal of plate discipline. McCully did not pitch in the 2010 postseason.

Andrew Moss (DOB 10/08/86) (35th Round, 2009 Draft – Lincoln (MO) College): Spent all but a week of the 2009 season with the Johnson City Cardinals before being called up to Batavia. New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week for 06/28/10 to 07/04/10. MiLB Pitcher of the Postseason – NY-Penn League 2010.

Andrew Moss
Period Covered IP ERA FIP H BB SO
Overall 75.1 3.35 3.65 68 23 61
through July 31st 45.2 3.35 3.22 40 14 40
Aug 1 to Sept 5 29.2 3.34 4.31 28 9 21
             
  WHIP BAA BABIP BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Overall 1.21 0.238 0.252 2.8 7.3 2.7:1
through July 31st 1.18 0.237 0.264 2.8 7.9 2.9:1
Aug 1 to Sept 5 1.25 0.239 0.236 2.7 6.4 2.3:1

Moss was the ‘Steady Eddie' of the rotation and his pitching splits are strikingly similar. The climb in FIP from 3.22 to 4.31 was mainly due to a decline in strikeouts combined with three hit batsmen. Moss pitched an absolutely superb complete game three in the postseason where he gave up just a single run, earned, on four hits and no walks with five strikeouts. He took the extremely tough loss in that game. At nearly 24 by season's end, Moss was the oldest player on Batavia's roster.

Zack Russell (DOB 07/27/89) (49th Round, 2007 Draft – Harmony Grove High School – Arkansas): Made his Short-A debut this season after spending all of 2007 and 2008 plus part of 2009 with the GCL Cardinals. Finished the 2009 campaign with Johnson City.

Zack Russell
Period Covered IP ERA FIP H BB SO
Overall 61.1 2.93 3.30 41 31 61
through July 31st 26 1.73 2.74 13 13 27
Aug 1 to Sept 5 35.1 3.82 3.71 28 18 34
             
  WHIP BAA BABIP BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Overall 1.17 0.192 0.209 4.6 9.0 1.97:1
through July 31st 1.00 0.149 0.171 4.5 9.4 2.1:1
Aug 1 to Sept 5 1.30 0.222 0.234 4.6 8.7 1.9:1

Like most of the starters, Russell's numbers jumped after August 1st. While his average walk rate of 4.55 batters every nine innings was the highest in the rotation, it is a dramatic improvement over his career-to-date average of 9.0 going into this season. Russell started and won game two of the postseason with only one hit allowed over six innings. Unfortunately, he walked four against just two strikeouts.

When comparing each starter it becomes clear that John Gast was the best of them. Congratulations to him on being named our Batavia Starter of the Year for 2010.

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