6'5/220, L/L, Junior, 20.54 on Draft Day
I don't have a lot of history with Gomber as last week was the first time I saw him. I asked around with some scouts and they said he was a super lanky kid in high school at Orlando's West Orange HS, weighing just 165 or 170 pounds and sitting in the mid-80's. He sat 87-90 most of his first two years at FAU and in the Cape Cod League, but some scouts said they saw him touch 93 mph a few times last spring. I got a tip from a scout in January of this year that Gomber had hit 94 mph in a pre-season scrimmage then heard again after the opening weekend of the college season that he sat 90-92 and hit 94 mph against Notre Dame.
It's worth noting that West Orange HS has been emerging in the last five years, producing two top prospects and likely big leaguers in Yankees CF Mason Williams and Astros SS Nolan Fontana. The pipeline is still producing as they have one of the most loaded prep teams in the country, led by senior RHP Andrew Karp (2nd-3rd round prospect, Florida State commit), sophomore RHP Austin Bergner (I ranked him #2 nationally in his class and saw the 6'3 righty hit 93 mph this fall) and two more standout sophomores in 3B/RHP Rylan Thomas (UCF commit, I saw him hit 90 mph this fall) and 3B/RHP Garrett Milchin (Florida commit) on a very deep roster.
Fastball: 50/55+, Slurve: 45/55, Changeup: 45/55, Command: 45/50
The reports that I referenced above turned out to be very accurate on Gomber. He sat 92-94 mph in the first inning, only giving up a few runs after some well-placed bleeders and defensive miscues piled up, compounded by Gomber falling behind in the count a few too many times. He settled in at 90-93 mph the next few innings and sat 88-92 mph the rest of the way. Gomber's heater had above average two-seam life down in the zone and he showed the ability to locate it down and to each side of the plate, though he still left the ball up more than you'd like to see.
His 77-80 mph slurve was fringy early but he found the feel for it in later innings, throwing a 3/4 breaker that flashed above average potential. Gomber's 79-81 mph changeup had been his best off-speed pitch the last few years and was more consistently average while also flashing above average potential with good late fade and sink.
Putting This In Context
When scouts that didn't see this outing asked me how Gomber looked, their first question was about his breaking ball and the second one was about his command. His breaking ball has been below average his whole career and was for the first inning of this game, but the makings are there and he flashed a 55 pitch more than a few times. Gomber's command was also spotty early, but even in the midst of a long first inning, he struck out one hitter looking on consecutive sinkers to either side of the plate that were placed perfectly.
The reason I point these things out is that Gomber's past and relatively recent velo bump caused this inconsistency. He's been a control if not a command guy his last two years: 106 IP/28 BB/103 K as a sophomore, 29 IP/10 BB/14 K on the Cape, 16 IP/3 BB/17 K this year. If a long-limbed kid that's very young for his class goes through a recent velo jump, you're going to see growing pains like when a puppy with disproportionately big paws moves awkwardly. The inconsistent breaking ball and command are both functions of syncing his delivery and timing effectively, so it'll take some time to work that out consistently.
What's more important is that Gomber has a track record of throwing strikes and that he shows you good command in flashes now while also showing the ability to have a useful, if not good breaking ball. I'm confident that Gomber will continue to improve this spring for these reasons and the elements are there in his delivery to not hold this back. I like his athleticism, clean arm action and low-effort, online delivery that has just enough funk to it to create some deception, though I wish he were a little more upright at release.
I talked to a scout that was concerned about Gomber's breaking ball and command issues and said he didn't want him, so he turned Gomber in as a 4th rounder, knowing he wouldn't get out of the 3rd round this year. I had written in my notes earlier that night that Gomber was a 3rd rounder right now just based on that outing, but if he can make some strides as I think he will, the 2nd round is very attainable.
For example, the Royals took a similarly-aged juco arm at 46th overall last year in LHP Cody Reed. Reed was a little more physical but otherwise is pretty similar to what Gomber looks like right now. I'll put a 2nd-3rd round grade on Gomber for now, but if he takes a big step forward this spring rather than just making some smaller adjustments, the late first to sandwich round is still in play.
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