photo: Steven Gingery (Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY Sports)
The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect countdown for 2020 continues with a promising left-hander who, two years into his career, hasn’t yet been healthy enough to pitch. FREE article.
|2019 rank||Pos.||DOB||Ht.||Wt.||Bat||Thw||Signed||Round||R5/Opt||MLB debut|
|29||LHP||9 23 97||6-1||210||R||L||2018||4th||2021||2022|
Link to Steven Gingery’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.
Selected 2019 stats
TCN Scouting Grade: 4, Risk: high (click here to review scales)
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (39): The Message Board Community, relying on scouting reports, his considerable college achievements at Texas Tech and the TCN rankings, which placed Gingery #37 in August, selected Gingery #35. Last season, the Community placed him at #32 against the overall ranking of #29.
This year, 14Nyquist first placed him at #30 and SoonerinNC was right behind at #31. mudville was very vocal regarding Gingery writing, “2019 would have effectively been his first season since he was still recovering from Tommy John during all of 2018. The Cardinals, for the most part, seem to follow a program of strengthening a pitcher in the pitcher’s first year. He’s a lefty, and if he’s healthy next season, he could move up 15 – 20 places in this ranking.”
Grenadier noted “This is really my favorite part (of the process) – to see who people like and why, this far down on the list.”
Honestly, I can’t see how anyone reading this cannot be excited about seeing what Steven can deliver. He could be the bargain that we’ve been waiting for. That said, I don’t have any good idea where the organization will place him to start 2020. – John Baker
Derek Shore (37): Over a long 18-month recovery period, Gingery made his long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery in 2019, albeit in only ⅔ of an inning for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals in his professional debut.
That was all 2019 had in store for Gingery. He would not pitch the rest of the season as it appeared he had another physical setback with no update on his status.
From a scouting perspective, the lefty had what many scouts considered the best changeup in college baseball prior to elbow surgery. It has excellent deception and late fade as it dives below bats to induce swings and misses.
It’s an easy plus pitch that earns some 70 grades from evaluators. His changeup and above-average control are pivotal to his success on the bump.
That makes it all the more important for him to spot his fringe-average 88-91 mph fastball and an average curveball he can throw for strikes.
Gingery draws comparisons to Jason Vargas and Marco Gonzales with his effortless delivery, above-average control and track record for success. He was expected to be one of the safest bets in his draft class before going down with Tommy John.
Assuming he is healthy entering 2020, Gingery is an ideal back-end starter and he’s advanced enough to be placed at either Low-A Peoria or High-A Palm Beach to open the season.
Brian Walton (34): The Cardinals need left-handed pitching (who doesn’t?), and Gingery could fit the bill. Then again, he has yet to contribute and the organization went ahead and spent even more to get another left-handed starter in the 2019 draft, Zack Thompson.
My vote at no. 34 is less about any confidence in Gingery and more about my faith in him eroding more slowly than the others. The others could be right, though. The fact that Gingery improved four spots in our rankings year-to-year probably says more about the general state of pitching across the system than it does about him.
After all, it is two years into his career with nothing yet returned. The Cardinals spent $825,000, almost $400,000 over slot, to convince Gingery to spend his first-year as a professional rehabbing. It hasn’t gone well since, with just that one aborted July outing to open and close his 2019 season.
It would seem most likely that Gingery would have to head to Class-A if physically ready to open 2020. From there, one just has to hope he can make up for lost time. Not knowing the details of his medical diagnosis, and in fact having never seen him pitch live, make any further projection highly speculative.
I currently have Gingery’s scouting grade at “4”, a spot starter, with moderate work yet ahead to achieve it (“medium” risk). That is down from “5 medium” a year earlier. His mound results in 2020 could easily reverse this trend – if he can get his career train back on the rails.
Our 2020 top 50 series continues
To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 50 countdown and 11 in-depth, follow-up articles coming up at the rate of one article per day into January.
Most of them are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation. If you are not a member, join today so you do not miss out!
Also, please participate in the daily discussion about each prospect at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board.
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