The three players I was most interested in seeing when I visited the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes a couple weeks ago in Stockton, California, were Garrett Gould, Zach Lee, and Joc Pederson. I got to see both Gould and Pederson, but missed out on Lee.
I did a scouting report on Pederson on Tuesday, and now it’s time for my thoughts about Gould.
How He Got Here
Gould, 20, was the Dodgers second-round draft pick in the 2009 MLB Draft out of Maize High School in Kansas. Before the Dodgers popped him in the second, he was committed to play ball at Wichita State, Darren Dreifort’s alma mater. He was a guy I had my eye on for the team’s first-round supplemental pick (No. 36). Instead, the team took Aaron Miller and ended up with Gould at No. 65. I was thrilled. The Dodgers signed him on August 14th to a $900,000 bonus, which was $337,500 more than the slot amount for the position.
He began his professional career with the Ogden Raptors as virtually all high school draftees do for the Dodgers. He appeared in three games and got knocked around a little: 2 2/3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, HR, 2 BB, 4 K. Gould also started the 2010 season with the Raptors and fared much better this time around: 4.06 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 8.1 K/9, and a 2.60 K/BB. Not great numbers on the surface, but not bad for an 18-year-old in a hitter’s league.
Last season, Gould got his first taste of full-season ball, pitching for the Great Lakes Loons. He actually out-pitched the Dodgers top prospect Lee in a number of categories, as he finished with a 2.40 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 7.4 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.7 BB/9, 7.6 K/9, 2.81 K/BB, and a 3.23 FIP.
So far in 2012, he’s pitched the entire season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and has been up and down. He owns a 4.90 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 9.7 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 9.3 K/9, 3.18 K/BB, and a 3.45 FIP. His FIP is close to his 2011 mark, and his K/9 is up to an impressive rate.
Why the struggles then? Well, he seems to be lacking a little this season in BABIP, which is .349 — 26 points higher than league average. So to this point, he hasn’t been that bad; just a little unlucky.
Gould is listed at 6’4″, 190 pounds, but as you can tell by the photo, he’s a little bit more than 190 pounds. That’s not to say he has a bad baseball body, but he’s probably closer to 220 or 230 pounds, and he’s a legit 6’4″. Gould has a big frame and his bottom half reminds me a little of Chad Billingsley.
He’s just 20 years old, so there might be a little bit of projection left, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Gould has a classic four-pitch arsenal:
- Four-Seam Fastball
He also incorporates a two-seam fastball.
For Gould, his success depends on his fastball velocity. During the 2010 season, his velocity sat more in the upper-80s than the low-90s, but in 2011, he was closer to the low-90s on a consistent basis. When I saw him live, he was sitting between 87-91 MPH with his fastball, and he threw his two-seamer in the 86-88 MPH range. He touched 91 MPH with his four-seamer and generally sat around 88-90 during his five innings of work. To be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with his fastball. He located it well at times, but it also got him into a little trouble during the game. His control was adequate, but he walked three batters in his five innings.
Gould’s curveball is his bread and butter pitch, as it’s the best in the system and ranks among the best in the minors. He throws his curve 12-6 and it sat in the 77-78 MPH range, which is on par with scouting reports. It had really good, late breaking action and is definitely advanced for the competition.
He also threw a few sliders, but it’s only his fourth-best pitch. He threw it in the 82-84 MPH range and it had a little depth and bite to it. It’s a fringe-average pitch right now.
Gould’s changeup surprised me most. He threw it a lot more than I expected and got a couple swings-and-misses. The pitch was clocked at 80-82 MPH and had good diving action away from left-handed hitters. He threw it with the same arm speed as his fastball most of the time, and he didn’t throw many to the right-handed hitters.
Gould’s delivery, despite not being picturesque, is repeatable. It has a little “funk” to it, which is the word a scout used to describe Gould’s delivery. He said it wasn’t particularly a bad thing, though, as the deception is a good thing. The funk he’s referring to is the slightest of turns after Gould goes into his wind-up.
Gould’s arm slot is true overhand, and he throws the ball “the way you’re supposed to”. You know, from the time you’re in Little League, you’re taught to throw the ball over-the-top. Gould does exactly that.
When he pitched out of the stretch, he didn’t show much of a slide-step. And he still had the “funk” when delivering from the stretch. That’s something he’ll have to work on as he moves up, but base-stealers have only been successful on nine of 17 attempts this season, so he must be doing something right.
Gould is in a good fielding position after delivering the ball. He doesn’t fall off too much to the first-base side, which is a good thing. His front leg is somewhat stiff, and his back leg doesn’t break down when he pushes off as much as some pitchers.
Here’s how I would grade his pitching tools:
For June 2012.
At best, Gould could be a No. 3 starter in the majors. His curveball is definitely his best pitch, but his changeup is about on par with his fastball (from what I saw). More likely, Gould could be a nice No. 4 option, but either way, he should be a contributing member of the rotation.
The primary thing that will determine his rotation slot is his fastball velocity. If he pitches in the 90-93 MPH range with good command and control, he’s a No. 3 starter. If he’s in the 87-90 MPH range, he’s probably another Aaron Harang (as he is now, not as he was in his good seasons in Cincinnati). There’s nothing wrong with a No. 4 starter, but it’d obviously be better to see his stuff take a tick up.
With the surplus of right-handed starting pitching prospects in the Dodgers system, Gould’s future with the organization could end with him becoming trade bait.