Garret Gould - SP - Dodgers - A second round pick, Gould is arguably the jewel of the 2009 draft class for Los Angeles. With only Aaron Miller and Blake Smith drafted ahead of him, and Angelo Songco and Brian Cavazos-Galvez doing anything of note behind him, that may not be the compliment I intended it to be. Gould worked his way up into the second round of the draft by breaking Nate Robertson's (remember him? He wore funny goggles, pitched for Detroit/Seattle among others and walked too many people) Maize High School record by striking out 95 batters in a mere 57 innings. He also outdueled future first rounder Shelby Miller at the World Wood Bat Association championship quarterfinals in 2009.
Learn more about Gould after the jump...
Gould made his full season debut in Lo-A Great Lakes in 2011 jumping from 57.2 IP to 123.2 IP in the process. He didn't show any appreciable effects of wear and tear, actually decreasing his walks per nine from 3.12 to 2.69. His strikeout rate did fall in turn, from 8.12 to 7.57 per nine innings, though given his ability to limit the walks, I think that is a tolerable number. Gould has also been proficient at keeping the ball in the park, with a HR/9 in the vicinity of .6. The Midwest League is a forgiving pitching environment, and Gould did benefit from a .260 BABIP so the California League will present a nice challenge for someone with his skill set. It can be easier for pitchers with good control and a solid mix of pitches to take advantage of hitters in the lower minors, so this might be a case where Gould will have to prove himself at each level. He made a good first impression in the Cal League, striking out seven and walking only one, in five innings.
Standing 6'4 Gould has a nice pitchers frame and he showcased his athleticism as a three-sport star in high school. Gould's fastball registers in the low 90s reaching as high as 94 with a bit of arm side run. Gould gets good deception through a herky-jerky delivery that requires a good bit of effort, but it allows him to generate plenty of torque in his hips. While his fastball is above-average, it is his curveball that has gotten him where he is today. A true power curve, Gould gets 12-6 action with hard, late break and it rated as one of the best curves in the 2009 draft class. He also brings an average change-up to the table that has a bit of fade and sink, though he could use some more. This gives him three average-to-above pitches to work with right now, and all three project as above-average down the line. While none of his pitches are dominant, Gould is able to pound the strike zone with the three pitch mix, though he needs to do a better job of throwing quality strikes. He projects as a back end starter right now, with a chance to be a number three if it all clicks. I like his chances of being at least a four, if not a little more
I know, I know, Gould isn't the belle of the ball in terms of prospects. But if you're in an NL-only league, or deep mixed leagues he is the type of under the radar prospect that can generate value down the line. How well Gould can develop his change-up as a third pitch will determine where he can pitch in the rotation. If he can't cut it in the rotation, his stuff my play up well in the bullpen, and he has the kind of advanced mix that would play well in short stints. All that said I don't see any reason he can't make it as a starter, as he's shown the ability to handle an increased workload without wearing down, and even if his pitches don't advance, he profiles at the back end of the rotation. As I said earlier, Gould is the type of no-hype prospect who will generate value when he gets closer to the majors and is definitely worth a stash now. In an NL-only or deep mixed league he can be a staple of your fantasy rotation who can help in WHIP, while posting solid ERA and strikeout numbers. I wouldn't expect to see him in the majors until 2014, though he could earn a September call-up with a strong showing in Double-A next year.
I can't even tell you how many "Gould mining," "Jay Gould (Black Friday)" and "Stephen Jay Gould" jokes I wanted to make but didn't because they were so awful...so you're welcome for that.