TCN 2013 Cardinals Prospect #20: John Gast

The lefty pitched well in Double-A, but less so in his Triple-A debut. 2013 offers another chance to advance.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
21 LHS 2/16/1989 6-2 190 L L 2010 6th

School: Florida State University

Selected 2012 stats

SPR 4 2 1.93 3.69 8 8 0 51.1 38 13 5 13 41 1.15 0.211 0.243
MEM 9 5 5.10 4.02 20 20 0 109.1 124 69 10 42 86 0.98 0.286 0.331
Total 13 7 4.09   28 28 0 160.2 162 82 15 55 127 1.03 0.264  

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (16): In retrospect, I'm not sure why I ranked John Gast as high as I did. He certainly did not deserve it based on either traditional statistics (except maybe win percentage) or on more advanced saber-type statistics.

Gast always gets high marks for his strong pickoff move, but is that really enough to justify such a high ranking? Maybe Gast has just been moved too fast - reaching Triple-A in his second full year. Of course, he did dominate in Double-A at the start of 2012 - maybe that is how I am justifying my ranking! - before struggling at Triple-A.

Gast was only mediocre in a late 2011 stop in Springfield before having success there at the start of 2012. Maybe the same thing will happen in 2013 when he will put a mediocre 2012 in Triple-A behind him and dominate there in 2013. If not, there is always the LOOGY option for any left-handed pitcher that can throw near 90 mph and has a pulse.

Message board community (18): Number 18 on the Community list, Gast moved up slightly from #20 despite a schizophrenic 2012 season. In Double-A, the 23-year-old posted a splendid 1.93 ERA, but Triple-A wasn't nearly as kind to the 2010 sixth-round draftee. For Memphis, Gast staggered to an ERA over 5.00, with mediocre peripherals to match.

It is pretty hard to see the southpaw as a future MLB LOOGY, as his splits (at least for Memphis) weren't very, um, splitty. So is Gast a plausible mid-rotation starter by 2014 or 2015, as John Sickels among others has opined? If Gast can perform in Triple-A in 2013 the way he did for Springfield in 2012, then I think the answer is a resounding "yes."

Whether the Cardinals organization, with their plethora of high-octane pitching prospects, can find a way to shoehorn the "live-armed lefty" into their rotation is another question altogether. - BobReed

Brian Walton (25): Here is where my view of the Cardinals left-handed pecking order differs 180 degrees from the other voters. Not only do they have Gast ahead of Kevin Siegrist, they also have him in front of Sam Freeman, with Gast as their top lefty in the system. My order is reversed, with Gast behind both of the others. (Fellow lefty Tyler Lyons also placed, but is farther down the page.)

In 2011, Gast had been on top of the world. He flew from the edges of the prospect radar into the big spotlight that spring. Gast pitched very well in major league camp and remained much longer than expected despite having finished 2010 at short-season Batavia. In 2012 spring training, it was a totally different story, however, as Gast was one of the very first cuts.

Though Gast and Freeman were both returned to Springfield to open 2012, it was Freeman who ascended to St. Louis during the season. Still, Gast's Memphis numbers suggest he may have been more unlucky than bad. He was also slowed a bit because the Cardinals kept him in the rotation, but I think that it is just "for now."

Current course and speed, I find it hard to see him beating out the top prospects in the organization to seize a rotation spot in St. Louis. In Gast's favor is the fact that it has not yet been required to add him to the 40-man roster. For that reason, there is still considerable development time ahead before any difficult decisions might have to be made.

Our 2013 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

There's more! Monthly and quarterly subscribers who upgrade to our annual pass will receive in the spring the 2013 FOX Sports NEXT Prospects Guide, a $4.95 value, for FREE. The perfect hardcopy companion to "40 Days" includes the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.

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