ST. LOUIS (CARDINALS) – The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have purchased the contracts of left-hander pitcher Austin Gomber, right-handed pitcher Derian Gonzalez and outfielders Oscar Mercado and Tyler O’Neill. All four players have been added to the team’s 40-man Major League roster which currently stands at 39.
The Cardinals, and all of MLB have until 7 p.m. Monday to protect eligible players from the Rule 5 Draft, placing them on the 40-man roster keeps other team’s from selecting them in the draft.
Gomber, who turns 24 later this week, was the Cardinals 4th round (135th player overall) draft selection in 2014 out of Florida Atlantic University and was named the Cardinals Minor League co-Pitcher of the Year in 2015 when he led the Midwest League (A) with 15 wins while pitching for Peoria. The 6-5, 228-pound lefty paced the Springfield Cardinals (AA) in wins (10), ERA (3.34), strikeouts (140), innings pitched (143.0) and games started (26) this past season. He finished 2nd among Texas League leaders in strikeouts, was 3rd in ERA and T5th in wins.
Gonzalez, 22 and a native of Santa Barbara del Zulia, Venezuela, was signed by the Cardinals as an international free-agent in September of 2012. The 6-3, 190-pound Gonzalez completed his 3rd season in the States this year, and went 4-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 18 games (15 starts) for the Palm Beach Cardinals (A) who were co-champions of the Florida State League. Gonzalez has allowed only seven home runs in 330.1 career innings pitched, five of those coming during this past season with Palm Beach.
Mercado, 22, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 2nd round (57th player overall) in 2013 out of Tampa’s Gaither High School as a shortstop and he was converted to a full-time outfielder this past season, putting together an All-Star season as the centerfielder for the Springfield Cardinals (AA). The 6-2, 190-pound Mercado batted .287 with 13 home runs, and 46 RBI in 120 games for Springfield this season with a team-high 137 hits, 76 runs scored, four triples and a Texas League-best 38 stolen bases. Mercado, who has 159 career stolen bases in the minors, also led the Appalachian League in steals (26) in 2014 and the Midwest League with 50 in 2015. The right-handed hitting Mercado just completed a 22-game stint with Surprise in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League, batting .264 with six steals in six attempts.
O’Neill, 22, was acquired by the Cardinals in a July trade from Seattle in exchange for pitcher Marco Gonzales and hit .246 with 31 HR’s and 95 RBI in 130 combined games between triple-A Tacoma and Memphis, helping the Redbirds to the Pacific Coast League title. The 5-11, 210-pound O’Neill, a native of British Columbia, Canada, has cracked 101 homers in 455 games in the minors, including 32 with Bakersfield of the class-A California League in 2015 and 24 for Jackson of the double-A Southern League in 2016. The right-handed hitting O’Neill, who owns a career .508 slugging pct., ranked 4th among PCL leaders in both home runs & RBI in 2017 and ranked 5th in total bases (247).