TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #26: Sam Gaviglio

Now healthy, the right-hander finally makes his top 40 debut in his third season eligible.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR RHS 5/22/1990 6-1 200 R R 2011 5th

School: Oregon State University

Selected 2013 stats

GCL 0 0 0.00 1.33 2 1 0 8 4 0 0 1 9 2.75 0.143 0.211
PB 4 1 2.72 3.33 7 7 0 39.2 29 13 2 12 30 1.69 0.207 0.239
Total 4 1 2.27   9 8 0 47.2 33 13 2 13 39 1.81 0.196  
AFL 3 0 3.58 4.07 6 6 0 27.2 25 11 3 8 21 2.24 0.25 0.286

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (NR): This is Sam Gaviglio's first time being ranked in the overall top 40, however, he went unranked by the community. Gaviglio missed 100 days of the regular season before making a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League and a move to the Florida State League.

When healthy during the regular season, Gaviglio pitched very well with a 2.72 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 39 2/3 innings. To catch up on time missed during the regular season, the organization sent Gaviglio to the Arizona Fall League as a full-time starter. There, he recorded a 3.58 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.

Gaviglio is literally a groundball magnet as he has averaged elite groundball rates throughout his career, combined with good but not great control. The knock on Gaviglio is his velocity. He sits around 88-91 mph on the fastball, which is considered major-league average by scouting standards.

So he will have to prove himself at every level he pitches, and will still likely struggle to break into the upper levels of the Cardinals prospects given the strength of the system, especially in the starting role.

Gaviglio mixes in an average change-up against righties and a plus slider. The Cardinals are just the club to make the most out of a sinker-slider type of pitcher with some feel to pitch. In 2014, it will be interesting to see if he holds up as a starter against the more advanced hitters in the Texas League. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (19): Absolutely nowhere in this 2014 top 40 is there a greater disconnect between the message board community and me than there is regarding Mr. Gaviglio. Given his injury-plagued history, I can understand the skepticism.

Yet many forget that Gaviglio was the first pitcher drafted by the Cardinals in 2011. He clearly does not bring the heat like Carlos Martinez and some of the others, but a sinker-slider pitcher with decent stuff and considerable pitchability is in the right place in this system.

The reality is that Gaviglio has yet to be able to show what he can do over an extended period. 2014 will provide that opportunity. In 12 months, Gaviglio could easily put himself into a similar position as was Seth Maness last spring.

Doesn't this profile sound familiar? He will continue to be given the opportunity to start, but in the majors, the reality of his competition in St. Louis may drive a change. He will probably end up as a long-man or at the front of the bullpen. Because he generates a healthy amount of ground balls, he could be called upon as a specialist in double-play situations. As we have been reminded, that can be a very valuable role.

In his own words: Last month from the Arizona Fall League, Gaviglio spoke about his ups and downs and what might be ahead. Click here for the interview, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

Our 2014 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 the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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