|Seattle Mariners – No. 32|
February 16, 1992 |
Fort Collins, Colorado
|June 25, 2014, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
(through September 12, 2017)
|Earned run average||5.76|
Marco Elias Gonzales (born February 16, 1992) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has played in MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals. He attended Gonzaga University, where he played college baseball for the Gonzaga Bulldogs as a pitcher and first baseman.
At Gonzaga, Gonzales won the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Freshman of the Year awards. Gonzales also was chosen as an All-American and named the John Olerud Award winner for 2013. The Cardinals selected him with the 19th overall pick in the first round of the June 2013 MLB draft. In Minor League Baseball in 2014, he was a Texas League midseason All-Star and Pitcher of the Week selection and the Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He made his MLB debut in 2014, and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2016 for a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. The Cardinals traded him to the Mariners in 2017.
Gonzales attended Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado. He lettered in baseball in all four years. In his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, he was named All-Colorado and All-Front Range. As a senior, he was named the Colorado High School Baseball Player of the Year after compiling an 11–0 won–loss record (W–L) with a 2.20 earned run average (ERA) and 87 strikeouts (SO) in 54 innings pitched (IP). He also batted .486 with seven home runs and 36 runs batted in (RBI). He started the Class 5A state championship game for Rocky Mountain in all four years of his high school career, winning all four.
The Colorado Rockies selected Gonzales in the 29th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball (MLB) draft. As the Rockies did not make a significant offer and advised him to attend college, Gonzales opted not to sign. Instead, he enrolled at Gonzaga University to play college baseball for the Bulldogs. That summer, he played collegiate summer baseball for the Wenatchee AppleSox of the West Coast League.
As a freshman at Gonzaga, Gonzales finished with an 11–2 W–L and 2.57 ERA, and was named West Coast Conference (WCC) co-Player of the Year and co-Freshman of the Year, along with Kris Bryant. As a sophomore, he had an 8–2 W–L and a 1.55 ERA, and was named WCC Pitcher of the Year and an All-American. That summer, he played for the United States national collegiate baseball team in tournaments in Cuba and the Netherlands, being named most valuable player of the Netherlands tournament.
In 2013, his junior year, he pitched a 7–3 record with a 2.80 ERA, and led the team in hitting with a .311 average, two home runs and 26 RBI, earning him Co-West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors. Gonzales was named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award. In 2013, he won the John Olerud Award, awarded annually by the College Baseball Foundation to the best two-way player of the season.
Gonzales was widely considered to be a first-round pick before the 2013 MLB draft The St. Louis Cardinals selected him 19th overall. He signed on June 19 for $1.85 million. Baseball America rated him #28 in their Top 500 prospects.
The Cardinals assigned him to the Gulf Coast League Cardinals in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, then promoted him to the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. He completed 23 1⁄3 IP with a 2.70 ERA between the two squads. In addition, he allowed 18 hits and eight walks for a 1.114 walks plus hits per inning pitched ratio (WHIP) while striking out 23.
Gonzales began the 2014 season with Palm Beach, and received a promotion to the Springfield Cardinals of the Class AA Texas League in May. His statistics after seven starts at Springfield included 38 2⁄3 IP, a 3–2 won-loss record, a 2.33 ERA. He allowed 33 hits, two home runs, and 10 walks while striking out 46. He was rated the #4 prospect in the Cardinals' organization. The Cardinals called him up to the major leagues, and, the day before he made his MLB debut, he was named to the 2014 All-Star Futures Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
St Louis Cardinals
Filling in for the injured Jaime García, Gonzales made his major league debut as the starter against the Rockies on June 25. Due to his promotion to the major leagues, he was removed from the Futures Game roster. He doubled in his first major league at-bat. Left fielder and former Rockie Matt Holliday singled him home to score his first run. On the mound, he gave up five earned runs and seven hits, with one home run in five innings, walking two, striking out three, facing 24 batters, and received a no-decision. Gonzales began with three scoreless innings, but got into trouble in the fourth by giving up a lead-off home run to Drew Stubbs, two doubles and two singles. The Cardinals eventually won, 9–6. Gonzales became the first Cardinals' starter to make his debut without playing at the Triple A level since Cliff Politte in April 1998.
Gonzales' second MLB start came against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The outing went similar to his first MLB appearance, he started with three scoreless innings but yielded multiple runs in the fourth. In 4 1⁄3 IP, he yielded five earned runs, seven hits, four walks and two strikeouts. The Giants won 5–0, giving him his first MLB loss. After posting a 7.07 ERA in first three MLB starts, the Cardinals optioned him to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds on July 7, where he appeared for the first time.
On August 30, the Cardinals recalled Gonzales, and he gained his first MLB win in a 13–2 romp over the Chicago Cubs. He completed six innings, allowed one run on three hits, two walks, and struck out five. Gonzales' third win of the season came against the Rockies by a score of 4–1 on September 14 as he struck out nine in 5 2⁄3 IP. The nine strikeouts were the most by a Cardinals left-handed rookie since Rick Ankiel on September 13, 2000. He made 10 total MLB appearances, five as a starter, completing 34 2⁄3 IP, allowing 32 H, 21 BB, 16 ER and a 4.15 ERA with a 4–2 W–L. In 31 total games – including 26 starts – between three minor league levels and the major leagues, Gonzales allowed a 2.81 ERA with a 13–7 W–L record and 148 SO in 156 2⁄3 IP.
The Cardinals made the playoffs in 2014, and Gonzales made his MLB postseason debut, pitching in relief. He recorded three total scoreless innings in the National League Division Series (NLDS) against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He picked up two of the club's three wins, including the series clincher. He pitched another three innings against the Giants in the National League Championship Series (NLCS), giving up three earned runs as the Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason. In December, the Cardinals named him their Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Having struggled with a shoulder injury for much of the 2015 season, Gonzales totaled 13 starts and 64 innings with Memphis, allowing a 5.20 ERA with 81 hits and a .315 batting average against. His record was 1–4. The Cardinals activated him with the roster expansion on September 1. He made his first major league appearance and start of the season against the Washington Nationals that day, allowing four runs in less than three innings. Prior to the 2016 season, Baseball America ranked him as the fifth-best prospect in the Cardinals' system.
He was sidelined on April 13, 2016, after a diagnosis on a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. The injury required Tommy John surgery in April 2016, putting Gonzales out for the entire 2016 season. He was ranked the seventh-best prospect in the Cardinals' organization.
|Award/honor||# of times||Dates (Ranking or event)||Refs|
|Major League Baseball All-Star Futures Game||1||2014|||
|All-Star||1||2014 (Texas League midseason)|||
|Pitcher of the Week||1||June 15, 2014 (Texas League)|||
|St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year||1||2014|||
|Tournament Most Valuable Pitcher||1||2012 (Netherlands)|
|John Olerud Award||1||2013|
|West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year||1||2012|
|West Coast Conference Player of the Year||1||2011|
|West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year||1||2011|
Gonzales throws a fastball between 88 to 91 miles per hour (142–146 km/h). He features a changeup that was regarded as one of the best in his draft class. His command is above average, and throws two different breaking pitches with his curve being better than his slider. After his first MLB stint from June–July 2014, manager Mike Matheny advised him to add a curveball and cut fastball to keep hitters from focusing on his four-seam fastball and changeup.
Gonzales' father, Frank, played baseball at La Junta, Colorado High School, leading it to a state championship in the 1980s. He went on to pitch at Colorado State University and was drafted in the 16th round by the Detroit Tigers in 1989. He then played some ten years in the minor leagues, coached high school and continues as a pitching coach the Colorado Rockies’ Class A minor-league club. Gonzales' mother, Gina, is a firefighter; his brother Alex also plays baseball for Gonzales' Rocky Mountain H.S. alma mater.
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- Ulm, Cody (June 25, 2014). "Cards cap big comeback with clutch two-baggers". MLB.com. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
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- Langosch, Jenifer (August 31, 2014). "Holliday's swings, big eighth give Cards the split". MLB.com.
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- Goold, Derrick (December 19, 2014). "Someone old, someone new are Cards' best". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
- Langosch, Jenifer (October 7, 2014). "Up and Adams: Cards mold NLCS berth out of Clayton". MLB.com. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Timmerman, Tom (September 1, 2015). "Cards win another stunner, beat Nationals 8–5". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- Lytle, Kevin (September 2, 2015). "Marco Gonzales struggles in MLB season debut". Fort Collins Coloradoan. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
- Manuel, John (November 16, 2015). "St. Louis Cardinals top 10 prospects". Baseball America. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- Cardinals' Marco Gonzales To Undergo Tommy John Surgery - MLB Trade Rumors
- Marco Gonzales, former 5A Lobo, recovering from Tommy John surgery
- Langosch, Jenifer (April 13, 2016). "Cards prospect Gonzales lost for season". MLB.com.
- "Marco Gonzales profile". Scout.com. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- Branch, John (October 16, 2014). "A mother's phone buzzes: Her son is in again". The New York Times Company. Retrieved October 16, 2014.