TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #19: John Gast

The lefty had a 2013 MLB rotation introduction before being sidetracked with shoulder problems. Will he recover? Today's article is FREE!

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

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
20 LHS 2/16/1989 6-2 190 L L 2010 6th

School: Florida State University

Selected 2013 stats

Mem 3 1 1.16 2.63 7 7 0 38.2 28 6 0 13 35 1.43 0.214 0.277
StL 2 0 5.11 4.02 3 3 0 12.1 11 7 1 5 8 1.33 0.234 0.263

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (15): Number 18 on the community list last year, John Gast actually moves up to #15 after a season in which he threw only 50 total innings between Memphis and St. Louis. That indicates a glaring weakness for left-handed starters in the organization. The good news is there are already some up and coming ones developing below the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate in Tim Cooney, Marco Gonzales and Rob Kaminsky, among others.

It is hard to draw any conclusions from Gast's time in the majors as he only made three totals starts with the Cardinals. It was a pretty small sample of innings even including Memphis since he missed so much time with the torn lat in his shoulder - an injury that cost Gast his 40-man roster spot.

To me, Gast's future role depends on if he can stay healthy and prove his shoulder is healthy enough. Being left-handed does give him an advantage to start over the rich crop of right-handers already in the rotation mix for 2014.

A bullpen role could always be possible, but probably not as a left-handed specialist since Gast does not have a true wipeout pitch to use against left-handed batters. Shoulder injuries have really hampered Gast throughout his pro career. You can only hope it is not a chronic injury from which he works to recover. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (21): In all fairness to the message board community, they ranked Gast prior to his November removal from the Cardinals' 40-man roster. Today, they would likely place him lower. I knew about the situation when I placed the injured lefty just outside my personal top 20, however.

Gast's three-start MLB audition in May definitely indicated promise as did his phenomenal April with Memphis, when he was the system's Pitcher of the Month, facts we took into account. Interestingly, 2014 is Gast's fourth year in our top 40, as the lefty landed between number 19 and 28 each time.

My personal ranking of Gast at 21 for 2014 is really not a change, either. In the Cardinals' left-handed minor league pecking order one year ago, I had Gast third, behind both Kevin Siegrist and Sam Freeman. I still see it the same way today, with one exchange. That is the ascension of Lee Stoppelman into the middle of the lefty mix, replacing Siegrist, who now seems established as a major leaguer.

Even without the 800-pound gorilla in the room that is Gast's unknown left shoulder recovery, I felt his likely future was going to be in the Cardinals' pen. That was due to his rotation competition and specifically having less dominating stuff than several others.

There is enough general concern about Gast's current state that no other MLB organization took a gamble on him in the Rule 5 draft earlier this month. To assert that 2014 is going to be his make or break season in this organization is not exaggeration.

Getting back onto the 40-man and into the group of the highest-placed 12 pitchers in the system (the major league staff) would be difficult, but certainly not impossible. Gast still has a number of strong supporters in the organization. Here is hoping his health will enable him to give it his best.

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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