St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Profile: Marco Gonzalez

Steve Mitchell – USA Today Sports

Most informed baseball fans are aware that the St. Louis Cardinals have a plethora of pitching talent at the major league level and in their minor league system. Now as the elite pitchers are moving to the major leagues, a whole new crop of prospects is working their way through the minors. Right in the middle of that group is left-hander Marco Gonzalez.

Don’t expect Gonzalez to pitching for the Cardinals this season; the highest level of baseball he’s competed at is High-A ball. However, in four starts there he had a 1.62 ERA. It’s a small sample size, but the Cardinals believe that he’s destined for the major leagues within two years.

The really crazy thing about Gonzalez is that he’s been able to generate hype after pitching in just eight professional games in his career. He was actually first drafted out of high school by the Colorado Rockies in the 29th round, but he decided to go to college instead. Good choice, Marco.

After attending Gonzaga University and re-entering the MLB draft, Gonzalez was taken 19th overall by the Cardinals in last June’s draft.

With his 6-foot frame he may never develop into an ace-type pitcher, but that’s not always the case. Several of the Cardinals’ pitchers that came up last year and contributed are a similar size. After all, the Cardinals aren’t necessarily looking for a bunch of aces when they draft pitchers. If they have one ace and three No. 2 caliber pitchers then they’re golden.

As they continue developing their young pitching, look for the Cardinals to focus on moving Gonzalez through the minor leagues. With so much talent in the majors already, there’s no rush with his development. With that being said, he will likely start the season in High-A ball or in Double-A if the organization feels that he’s taken the next step in his progression.

Jacob Kornhauser is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. Add him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google+ network. 

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