Gomber, a 2011 graduate of West Orange High and a left-handed pitcher in St. Louis' minor-league system, was added to the club’s 40-man roster Nov. 20 after a strong season in Double-A Springfield.
Just six years removed from his senior season at West Orange High, Austin Gomber is one step closer to his lifelong dream of making it to “The Show.”
Gomber, a left-handed pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals’ minor-league system, was added to the Cardinals’ 40-man roster Nov. 20. Gomber was among four prospects added to the team’s 40-man to protect them from being eligible for this month’s Rule 5 Draft, which will take place Dec. 14 at the MLB Winter Meetings at Disney.
Although the move does not guarantee Gomber will be on the Cardinals’ 25-man “active” roster for Opening Day next spring, it is an acknowledgement that the former Warrior — the eighth-ranked pitching prospect in St. Louis’ farm system (15th overall) — is on the right track.
“Obviously, it’s exciting because it’s kind of just getting one step closer to the ultimate goal — to play in the big leagues,” Gomber said. “Not a lot of people have the opportunity to be on a Major League roster — I think it bodes well for this upcoming year.”
The promotion means Gomber, who pitched for the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate in Springfield, Missouri, will start the 2018 season at the team’s Big League Spring Training for a third consecutive year — but for the first time as a roster-invite.
Gomber says Spring Training with the Big League coaches is a balancing act.
“It’s a balance of wanting to go out there and be in midseason-form in front of the Major League staff, but understanding that that ’s unrealistic,” Gomber said. “The whole point of Spring Training is getting ready for the season. For me, I try to soak up as much as I can.”
If Gomber does not make the 25-man roster to begin the 2018 season, several publications that regularly cover the organization suggest he would open the season with a promotion nevertheless — in that case to Triple-A Memphis.
In the 2017 season, Gomber pitched a career-high 143 innings for Springfield while compiling a 3.34 ERA and striking out 140 batters.
Whatever the case, Gomber said he is focused on consistency going forward.
“What I’ve noticed from being around Big League guys (during Spring Training) and being in Double-A is it’s really just about consistency,” Gomber said.