On the way down to Spring Training, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Marco Gonzales needed to get a workout in. So what did the former Gonzaga Bulldog and native Coloradoan do–he stopped in Columbia at the University of Missouri, of course.
“Yeah, I had some texts from my college coaches saying what the heck’s going on there,” laughed Gonzales, who explained that his dad was a friend and former teammate of Evan Pratte, the Director of Baseball Operations at Mizzou.
“When you’re driving for four days, you need to throw at some point. It was nice to be able to long-toss inside and actually fortunate enough to throw a bullpen too.”
The Cardinals top overall draft pick in 2013 (19th overall), Gonzales threw his second bullpen in camp on Saturday. And though similar to the team’s 2012’s top pick, Michael Wacha, Marco isn’t bowing to any pressure to follow the same rapid ascent to the big leagues.
“It’s obviously in the back of my mind,” admitted Gonzales. “I watch Wacha all the time and look up to him a lot. He’s just a freak–once in a lifetime type of player. I’m not trying to compare myself to Wacha, just trying to push myself like he did and try and get better. That’s all I can do.”
Shelby Miller knows about the type of expectations that come with being a team’s top draft pick and though only going into his second full season in the Majors, has provided perspective for Gonzales.
“Shelby’s been awesome,” said Marco. “We’ve been pushing each other and challenging. It’s a fun environment for sure.”
“Just to kind of see how he’s gauging himself and pushing the workouts and things like that, just trying to keep up with him. He’s just one guy who’s always working so I’m trying to stay close to him.”
Gonzales went 7-3 for Gonzaga last year in 16 starts with 106 innings pitched with a 2.80 ERA.