The St. Louis Cardinals will be represented in fashion in the annual Futures Game on Sunday. Starting pitcher Marco Gonzales of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds and outfielder James Ramsey of the Double-A Springfield Cardinals will make the trip to Target Field in Minneapolis for this year’s game.
Based on their statistics, both Gonzales and Ramsey deserve to play in the exhibition contest. Gonzales has been stellar on the bump and Ramsey has blistered the ball all season.
As the Futures Game looms, let’s take a look at the scouting reports for both of the Cardinals' representatives:
Gonzales won’t overpower anyone, nor will he serve as an intimidator on the hill. He’s not known for throwing smoke.
However, the 19th overall pick from a year ago prefers finesse to horsepower. Gonzales’ heater tops out at 90 mph. Once he gets ahead in the count, the 22-year-old will drop in a devastating changeup, his out pitch.
Gonzales began the season with Palm Beach of the Florida State League. There, the lefty went an even 2-2 in a half-dozen starts. His 1.43 ERA was impressive over those outings, considering he didn’t receive much run support over that span.
The FSL proved too novice for Gonzales, who was soon promoted to Double-A Springfield of the Texas League. With Springfield, he went 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA in seven starts.
Gonzales was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 15. The former first-round pick made one start that week, leading the Cardinals to a 2-1 triumph over Northwest Arkansas on June 13. Gonzales allowed just two hits—a pair of singles—in six innings of work. He struck out a career-high 10 and walked none.
When the parent club lost 40 percent of its rotation to injury (Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia), the Cardinals called up Gonzales, who bypassed Triple-A and joined the big league club.
Gonzales’ big league stay was brief, but memorable nonetheless.
The Fort Collins, Colorado, native made his major league debut at Coors Field back on June 25.
Making the leap from Double-A to the show is hard enough, but Gonzales was fearless on the hill in the Mile High City.
In the bottom of the first, Gonzales struck out Drew Stubbs and Troy Tulowitzki on a total of seven pitches. The rookie left Tulowitzki—the National League Home Run Derby captain—looking foolish on three straight changeups.
Gonzales, who went 0-2 with an ERA over seven, was optioned to Memphis last week. While at the Triple-A level, he will need to work on his fastball and off-speed pitches to complement his changeup.
Whether or not Gonzales will pitch in the Futures Game remains up in the air because of his promotion to the big leagues. However, the left-hander is on track to become an established pitcher.
If you like grit and determination, Ramsey has plenty of it.
Taken 23rd overall in the 2012 draft, Ramsey leads Springfield in nearly every major offensive category. The lefty batter uses every muscle of his 6-foot, 190-pound frame to lace extra-base hits, launch home runs, draw walks, drive in runs and get on base. In a nutshell, he does it all.
Ramsey, 24, was named Texas League Player of the Week for the week of April 14—a span in which he went on an offensive tear—going 16 for 39 (.410) with three doubles, a triple, four homers and 11 RBI.
Defensively, Ramsey is as sound as they come. He is the only Springfield starter without an error this season.
It would be easy to overlook Ramsey because of his short build, but that would be a grave mistake.