John Gall, selected by the Cardinals in the 11th round of the 2000 draft, has been a fan favorite since day one and they are going to get a chance to cheer for him now in the postseason.
Gall has long been considered one of the Cardinals best hitting prospects in the minors. He hit .300 in his first three full pro seasons, before hitting a very respectable .292 with 22 home runs for AAA Memphis in 2004.
A standout in college, Gall left his mark at Stanford, setting records during a four-year career there. He's the Cardinal's career leader in at-bats (1,027), hits (368), doubles (80) and RBI (263) and he also set Pacific-10 Conference standards in at-bats, hits and doubles.
In college, Gall played first and third base, but at the pro level, he is considered a significant defensive liability at third and as such, has spent most of his minor league career at first base and left field.
At the start of the 2005 season, in a system that is void of blue chip position player prospects, Gall was ranked #19 among the Cardinals' top prospects by Baseball America.
The knock on Gall in the past has been his lack of power and athleticism. He's one of those guys Cardinal fans love, like David Eckstein, Bo Hart, Rex Hudler and others. He's an intelligent player with a love for the game, who plays above his tools and finds ways to get the job done and win.
Last season at AAA Memphis, Gall found his stroke with those 22 home runs with 84 RBI and a system-high 34 doubles. As a result, Cardinal fans were crying for St. Louis to call him up at the end of last season to add some pop to the bench.
The 22 home runs from Gall were a welcome sign, because while Gall has always been able to hit, to play first or even in left, major league clubs were going to expect some more power from those positions than Gall had traditionally delivered.
The call from St. Louis never came in '04. Gall wasn't swinging the bat well at the end of the season, because of some shoulder problems. He hit just .252 and two home runs over the final two months of the season. You add that to the fact that Gall wasn't going to see much playing time in St. Louis, there wasn't a reason to bring him up.
The call for 27-year old outfielder did come this season. On July the 25th, he came up from Memphis and joined the Cardinals on the road in San Diego. In his first game, on the 26th, against the San Diego Padres, Gall went two-for-four, including a double and scored two runs. You know he is looking for another shot to showcase his talents against the San Diego Padres this week in the first round of the NL playoffs.
Still considered somewhat of a defensive liability, you won't see Gall starting in left or playing at first in the postseason. While he's considered adequate in left, he has a below-average arm and isn't the fastest guy in the world and with Albert Pujols at first, well bring something to read to the ballpark if you're a first baseman.
Gall should get the opportunity to come off the bench and pinch hit during the playoffs. He's hit .316 in September, including two home runs and a double and eight RBI in just 19 at-bats.
You will most likely see him get an at-bat against left handed pitching. Since July, he's hit .313 against left handers and .238 against right handers. More importantly, he's 5-for-14 as a pinch-hitter and that is something for fans to cheer about.
The Cardinal fans have been calling for Gall to come to St. Louis for three years and here he is on the postseason roster. You've got some Gall now.