LA Angels Top Prospects Countdown: #26 Joe Gatto
The LA Angels have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. However, they have a good mix of prospects who will help soon and some with star potential down the road. In this series, we will evaluate each of the Angels Top 30 prospects. Today, it’s pitcher Joe Gatto.
The LA Angels selected Gatto in the second round of the 2014 Amateur Draft. The right-handed power pitcher attended St. Augustine prep school before being drafted by the Angels. Gatto was committed to the University of North Carolina, but opted for a professional career (and a nice $1.2 million deal).
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Gatto’s claim to fame is his fastball. It tops out at 95 mph, and has deceptive movement to go along with it. He pairs that with a powerful curveball that has excellent drop to it. His third pitch is his changeup, which definitely needs to be developed to give him a strikeout pitch against left-handed batters.
Gatto is a natural athlete, starring in both basketball and football at some point in his prep career. At six-foot-five and 200 pounds, his long body causes some inconsistency in his delivery. His release point is his biggest problem, but the more innings he throws the more consistent it will become.
Gatto did not have the best start to his professional career. In 2014, he threw in 11 games (seven starts). He had a 5.33 ERA in only 27 innings pitched. His inconsistent delivery caused poor control. He walked nine batters while only striking out 16.
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He improved slightly in 2015, throwing 12 starts. In 54.1 innings pitched, Gatto had a 4.31 ERA. While that is still not an impressive number, it does show improvement. His strikeout-to-walk ratio also improved. It sat at 1.78 in 2014 and rose to 2.24 in 2016.
Things finally seemed to be coming together for Gatto. However, he took a huge step back in 2016. In 15 starts, he had a 7.03 ERA in his first season in Single-A.
Gatto showed up to Arizona early this year to work on his development further. It seems to have paid off this season, as he owns a 3.74 ERA in Single-A. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is not great a 19:10. However, Gatto has improved in nearly all parts of his game so far this season. Gatto is definitely out to prove himself this season, and is doing a good job so far.
Next: Which Angels prospects are hot so far this year?
The Angels are (and should be) confident in Gatto’s ability to be a starter in The Show. He has been making progress, albeit at a rather slow pace. The big leagues are in Gatto’s future, as his development appears to be on the uprising. Look for 2020 to be the year Gatto debuts for the Halos.