Every other day over the next two months, John Nagel and Kyle Reis will announce a new prospect on The Redbird Daily’s Top 30 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect List. For each prospect, John and Kyle will reveal where that prospect landed on their personal lists and also few thoughts on the prospect. We hope you enjoy!
Prospect #27: John Gant – Trade, 2017
2016 Stats: MLB Atlanta Braves – 1-4, 4.86 ERA, 50 IP, 49 K, 21 BB
Kyle Reis (#29 on personal list)
On December 1st the Cardinals agreed to a trade that sent Jaime Garcia to the Atlanta Braves for three prospects. That trade drew mixed reviews, with many criticizing the deal as an insufficient return for Jaime. While the other two prospects involved in that deal (Chris Ellis and Luke Dykstra) didn’t make our top 30, John Gant absolutely has a place on our list.
Everything about John Gant is delightful. He’s the living example of the fun in baseball. From his much publicized windup to the changeup (his best pitch) that he grips by spreading his fingers in the shape of the Vulcan “live long and prosper” hand signal from Star Trek, Gant is nothing if not an entertaining guy to watch.
Some have shown concern that his wacky delivery might hinder his all around pitchability. I am not one of those people. Gant’s numbers are, surprisingly, a tick better with runners on base than with the bases empty, indicating that he pitches just as well with the funky motion as he does without it. I don’t think I can overstate enough how vital I view this when appraising his potential for sustainable success in the majors.
His fastball sits low 90’s, but has topped out at 95 and his changeup shows flashes of a plus pitch. He also throws a curve, while still inconsistent, that shows signs of being an average offering. The 24 year old Gant definitely profiles as more of a control-first type pitcher, but has K’ed 445 in 462 innings in both the majors and minors since being drafted.
I believe that Gant is perfect for the Maness/Bowman type role in the bullpen, but the starting depth and MLB experience that he offers at Memphis is a needed and welcomed commodity.
John Nagel (#28 on personal list)
John Gant just barely meets the criteria to be on this list with 50 major league innings pitched. The Cardinals acquired the tall righty from the Braves this off-season when they sent Jaime Garica down south. Gant fills a definite hole in the Cardinals minor league system — a need for major league ready pitchers at the Triple-A level. It’s rare that you can find a guy with decent MLB innings that can be stashed in the minors.
Gant has been a solid strikeout pitcher in the past, routinely getting more than 9 strikeouts per 9 innings, however he has had mixed success at limiting hits.
Gant does not have a very high ceiling, in fact, I think his future is in the bullpen. However, since he is so close to the major leagues, he becomes a pretty important piece for the Cardinals, and the reason he finds himself on this list. I think the Cardinals will use Gant as a starter to start 2017, but if they find depth elsewhere, they could move him to the bullpen mid-season.
There is thought that if you combine Gant’s unique delivery with the Cardinals’ ability to develop pitchers, Gant could thrive in the Cardinals organization. I don’t think this is likely but could be possible. At worst, Gant is a MLB ready pitcher in the minor leagues. At best, he becomes a #4 or #5 starter. I think the end result is in the middle.
How we rank prospects: Click Here
Best of The Rest: Click Here
#30 Prospect: Daniel Poncedeleon
#29 Prospect: Jonathan Machado
#28 Prospect: Jeremy Martinez
#27 Prospect: John Gant
#26 Prospect: 2/11
#24 Prospect: 2/15
#23 Prospect: 2/17
#22 Prospect: 2/19
#21 Prospect: 2/21
#20 Propsect: 2/23
#19 Prospect: 2/25
#18 Prospect: 2/27
#17 Prospect: 3/1
#16 Prospect: 3/3
#15 Prospect: 3/5
#14 Prospect: 3/7
#13 Prospect: 3/9
#12 Prospect: 3/11
#11 Prospect: 3/13
#10 Prospect: 3/15
#9 Prospect: 3/17
#8 Prospect: 3/19
#7 Prospect: 3/21
#6 Prospect: 3/23
#5 Prospect: 3/25
#4 Prospect: 3/27
#3 Prospect: 3/29
#2 Prospect: 3/31
#1 Prospect: 4/2