School: Florida State University
Selected 2010 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (16): Before heading to Florida State University, John Gast was considered a top pick coming out of high school. But Tommy John surgery derailed those hopes and he took his talents to Tallahassee.
His recovery was slow but by the end of the 2010 spring season he began to show flashes of what had made him such a highly regarded talent as a prep. As the spring moved to summer, he seemed to get stronger which included a phenomenal professional debut. The 21-year-old posted an ERA of 1.54 to go along with a K/9 rate of 9.26 and a BB/9 rate of 2.06.
His fastball is back up to the low nineties to go along with a solid average changeup. Gast's curveball shows the potential of being a plus pitch. His pickoff was reportedly one of the best in college baseball, a great asset in an organization like the Cardinals.
In a system lacking in quality starting pitching, I could definitely see Gast as a fast riser. It would not surprise me to see him start 2011 at Palm Beach and it is not out of the question for him to see action at Double-A Springfield at some point next season.
Message board community (37): The message board community played the curmudgeon on Mr. Gast, ranking him our 37th prospect in his first season in the Cards' system. (One of our group voted for him much earlier than that.)
The Cardinals thought well enough of Gast to take him in the sixth round this year. He fanned 36 in just 35 innings at Batavia while walking only eight and giving up just one home run. He's a lefty, yet in a very small number of appearances, righties' batting average against him (.227) was virtually identical to lefties (.226), though he walked more righties.
Gast received six appearances as a starter, so perhaps he has a future in the rotation. But suppose he ends up in the pen. How long has it been since the organization has developed a lefty reliever who has stuck with St. Louis? Tyler Johnson had a nice run, but didn't last that long.
I think there was some hesitancy to rank Gast higher based on the brevity of his time in the minors. Hopefully he takes our ranking as a challenge and moves quickly next year! - Gagliano
Brian Walton (33): The Cardinals have been roundly criticized in some quarters for taking "safer" college picks with lower ceilings. At first blush, Gast might appear to fit that profile. Yet he was a bit unique in that he actually put up better results as a professional than he did in the NCAA. As Dustin noted, Gast, like many youngsters, suffered through injury and a period of recovery.
Cardinals minor league field coordinator Mark DeJohn likes what he has seen from the 21-year-old.
"Gast is a real interesting guy," DeJohn said. "He's got pretty good stuff. I like him a lot. He was throwing 90, 91, 92 (MPH). His fastball is pretty darned good. An excellent changeup. He needs to improve his breaking ball. But he throws strikes and has one hellacious move to first. You go, ‘Here's a lefty with a move!' He's a guy that everyone is excited about."
Gast, The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Minor League Rookie Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2010, seems ticketed for Class A next summer, perhaps starting with Quad Cities. His manager in Batavia, Dann Bilardello, agrees that Gast is ready for the next challenge.
"John pitched at a more mature level than we were playing at," Bilardello observed. "I am looking forward to seeing him pitch at a full-season club next year."
Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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