Austin Gomber had received an indication that he was on the Cardinals' short list, but he had no idea what to expect as he listened to the First-Year Player Draft on Friday afternoon.
With the final pick of the fourth round, Gomber heard his name. The Cardinals, who he says were one of the teams that showed the most interest, selected the junior left-hander out of Florida Atlantic.
"For me, there's not a better place to go than St. Louis," Gomber said. "They have the best baseball fans in America and you're competing for a championship every single year. I don't know what else you could ask for."
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 12 p.m. CT.
Gomber has been Florida Atlantic's ace for the past two seasons. He has has a three-pitch arsenal, and has developed a strong changeup to go with a fastball that touches 90 mph and a slider.
"He's probably a No. 4 starter with a higher floor," MLB.com's Jim Callis said following Gomber's selection. "I think the changeup is his pitch."
"My changeup is definitely my best pitch," Gomber added. "I take pride in having a good changeup. I throw a fastball, changeup and slider. The changeup is definitely my go-to [pitch]."
In three seasons at Florida Atlantic, the lefty has made 41 starts and posted a 3.27 ERA in 244 2/3 innings, proving to be dependable.
With a 6-foot-5, 215-pound build, Gomber has a downhill angle and has good control of all three pitches. He was the fifth straight pitcher selected by the Cardinals to begin the Draft, but the first left-hander.
"When I got to college, our pitching coach stressed throwing strikes and getting ahead, making the guy beat you and not help the guy by walking him," Gomber said. "That's kind of my mentality when I'm out there -- not to go out there and strike everybody out, go out there and throw strikes and make them earn whatever they get."
Gomber has had contact with the Cardinals' organization since early fall and participated in a pre-Draft workout a week and a half ago at the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, Fla.
When he was told he would be on the team's short list if he remained available, there was excitement. Gomber said he'll sign "as soon as possible" to begin his professional career.
"Since the get-go, I've actually always wanted to play for the Cardinals," Gomber said. "They do an exceptional job with all their pitching, and I know they have a good Minor League system. Obviously, they're playing for a world championship every single year, and that's the goal."
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less