Austin Gomber has been a man on a mission as of late. Following a rough Peoria Chiefs debut, the 21-year-old southpaw turned it around with a 2.30 ERA, 40 strikeouts to just six walks, a complete-game shutout, and a .191 opponents average over 43 innings pitched to date in 2015.
With these numbers, the Cardinals 2014 fourth-round draft pick puts himself in a great position for a potential Midwest League All-Star slot and pitch in front of the home crowd at Dozer Park this June 23rd.
I sat down with the lefty this week prior to his one-hit, complete-game shutout against Cedar Rapids to discuss things off the field.
Gomber will next take the mound Monday afternoon as part of a double-header against the Quad Cities River Bandits.
Q: Where is home for Austin Gomber? Do you have a big family?
A: Winter Garden, FL. It’s a small town about 30 minutes west of Orlando. I’m an only child, but I have a huge family. Everyone in my family went to the same high school, so big family but I am an only child.
Q: What is the support system from your family like right now?
A: The support system is big, especially from the family. I keep in touch with them. I also talk to my high school pitching coach. He’s a good guy and we talk at least once a week or every time I throw.
Q: What made you decide to play baseball? Any inspirations growing up?
A: I always just played baseball. It was the only sport I played growing up, so obviously it’s my favorite. When I was a little kid, I would always watch my cousins, who were about 15 years older, play high school ball. I was also a big Braves and Chipper Jones fan growing up. I actually have the same agent as Chipper Jones and I’ve gotten to meet him so that was pretty cool.
Q: What are your thoughts on having the same agent as Chipper as well as any other opportunities you’ve had in your career so far?
A: It is pretty surreal when you go through the process of selecting an agent. My agent started with Chipper and has added other players like Brian McCann and other guys I’ve idolized growing up. That is pretty cool to be in the same agency and with them working on my behalf. Hopefully, I’ll be in the majors one day and have half the careers they had. They’re all Hall-of-Famers but it’s a good feeling.
Q: You had a rough outing to start the season, but then the last few weeks you’ve turned it around with some outstanding outings that won you Midwest League Pitcher of the Week. What are some of the changes you’ve made after that first start?
A: I try to take the same approach every night. I’ve faced Cedar Rapids twice and I’ve had some success against them. I have a pretty good game plan against them. It’s easier when you get to face teams you’ve seen before. But, really, I just try to take the same mentality in every start. You’re going to be able to go eight shutout every night. I had some bad starts but you can’t focus on that too much. After a night like that, I’ll shake it off and focus on the next night. You’ve got to take it week-by-week and that’s what I try to do.
Q: What was the first thought when you were informed on winning Midwest League Pitcher of the Week?
A: There are a lot of prospects in this league so to be recognized by the league is a huge honor. Hopefully, I can get that again, be an all-star, and maybe even get to Palm Beach. We’ll see where it goes from there.
Q: Off the field, what do you like to do?
A: I like to play golf or fish. In the off-season, I’ll go hunting with my buddies. On off days, we like to golf a lot. I really like to take it easy on the off days because sometimes I’ll get back late the night before an off day so I’ll just relax. But, if I’m feeling good that day, I’ll go out and have a relaxing time with my buddies.
Q: Anything you’d like to fans to know about you? Maybe a fun fact?
A: I don’t really have a fun fact. I’m a pretty ordinary guy to be honest. I think I’m like everyone here in the clubhouse. I want to work hard and hope to make it up to the majors one day.
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