MLB.com’s St. Louis Cardinals’ reporter Matthew Leach was kind enough to get more information about newly signed Dominican right-hander Fernando Gonzalez from farm director John Vuch. Check out Leach’s full blog here. If you don’t read his article at OYNAG or on MLB.com, you are severely missing out. He and Derrick Goold are the two go-to beat writers for Cardinals news. Anyway, to the money quote from Vuch:
“Gonzalez is an intriguing young kid. He’s 6’4 and very lean right now, making him very projectable. He’s got a very nice changeup already that projects as a future out pitch. While his velocity is currently a tick below average, with his age and size there’s plenty of reason to believe he’ll pick up additional velocity as he matures. Also throws a curve for his breaking pitch, and looks to be at least an average pitch for him down the road.”
I guess now we can see why the Cardinals got Gonzalez for only $66k. Speed sells, even in the Dominican market. Pitchers like Carlos Martinez, who already have an 80 fastball (on the 20-80 scouting scale) go for $1.5 million, but the Cardinals nab Gonzalez for considerably less.
I’m certainly not saying Gonzalez will not be a great pitcher some day, but players that are younger and pitch with less velocity are going to be less in demand, while the scouts gravitate to the pitcher that’s knocking over catchers on the other field. Additionally, this is not a bad approach by the Cardinals either. They have picked up a pitcher, whom all of their scouts like at age 16 and can get him into their coaches and develop him over a long period of time. Just like AZ said, it is time to forget about Gonzalez for a few years until he will appear finally in our DFRs stateside.
And lastly, take John Vuch’s comments with a grain of salt, because it is in his best interest to talk up a new Cardinals signing. I’m not sure what MPH equates to “a touch below average”, but that’s a telling line from a quote that is all positive except for that.