Joe Gatto

Position: RHSP
Level: High A
Affiliate: Inland Empire 66'ers
League: California League
Born: 06/14/1995 (Age: 27)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 220
B/T: Right / Right
Acquired: 2nd Rd., 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft (LAA)

Prospect Spotlight

Gatto was the Angels’ second-rounder in 2014 from St. Augustine H.S. (N.J). He finished 2017¬†in High A Inland Empire, and he’s off to a hot start repeating the level in 2018, striking out nearly 12 hitters-per-nine innings. The bat-missing potential of his (largely) two-pitch mix was on display during my late-April viewing, as I saw him strike out nine Lancaster JetHawk batters across six innings of shutout baseball.

He pitches primarily off his fastball and curveball, but flashes a crude changeup that’s behind in its development. Sitting 91-to-93 mph and touching 94 mph, his fastball shows plus movement with heavy turnover down and in to righties. Gatto commands it more reliably to his arm side because of the movement on the fastball. A power curveball is the go-to secondary and has a chance to play as a bat-missing¬†pitch, coming in at 79-to-82 mph with solid 11-to-5 shape and depth. His mid-80s changeup is often out of the zone or floats over the plate with limited movement.

I’m dubious about his ability to increase the effectiveness of a third pitch, and Gatto likely winds up in the bullpen. His fastball could up-tick a half-grade there, and paired with his curveball, he projects to have two 55-grade pitches. The likely ceiling is that of a 7th-inning middle reliever, lacking the pinpoint command and/or double-plus pitch to profile in high leverage situations.