Get to Know a Prospect: Luiz Gohara

Luiz Gohara, about to deliver a pitch for the Clinton Lumberkings. (Photo: Paul R. Gierhart/MiLB.com)

The Player

Luiz Gohara, LHP
Age: 20
Rank: 12
2016 Level: Class A Clinton

The Results

2.50 ERA
3.04 FIP
15 G, 15 GS
79.1 IP
3.06 BB/9
10.66 SO/9
(includes rookie and class A levels and playoff appearances)

The History

Gohara was an international amateur free agent signee by the Seattle Mariners in 2013, receiving an $880,000 signing bonus, which is still a record high for a Brazilian ballplayer. The Mariners took a very unusual course with Gohara and sent him immediately to Pulaski of the Appalachian League as a 16 year old. For the next three seasons, Gohara kicked around the short-season leagues, demonstrating tantalizing talent but never putting together a string of successful performances. There were both conditioning and maturity issues in play, and the Mariners challenged him before the 2016 season to focus. He was held back in extended spring training for a fourth consecutive season to work on conditioning. In 2016 this re-focus paid off in a very successful season, as he pitched well in low-A Everett, then dominated at class-A Clinton. Baseball America recently rated Gohara as the team’s #3 prospect and the #11 prospect of the Midwest League.

Gohara represented the Mariners in the Arizona Fall League and was very impressive, regularly throwing in the upper-90s with movement on the fastball. Gohara came over to Atlanta in the Braves’ first trade of 2017, along with left-handed reliever Thomas Burrows for outfielder Mallex Smith and right-hander Shae Simmons.

The Report

Gohara’s profile is fairly unique in the minors right now. There just aren’t that many left-handed starting pitching prospects that regularly sit in the high ’90s, with reports that he can occasionally touch 100. Gohara generally keeps that heater down in the strike zone to induce weak contact. That also plays into his evolving slider, a pitch that reportedly showed some significant improvement last season. Gohara also reportedly throws a change-up and a curveball, both rating below average. Gohara has historically had control issues, but, again, he showed significant improvement in that area as well.

Gohara is a large man, listed at 6′-3″, 210 pounds but likely a little heavier. Despite his size, Gohara is athletic and should be able to build stamina as he climbs the organizational ladder.

What’s Next

Atlanta collects high-upside lefties like my exercise equipment collects dust, and Gohara will likely move up to class high-A Florida along with fellow left-handers Kolby Allard and Ricardo Sanchez. They, along with righties Touki Toussaint and Mike Soroka, will form possibly the most talented low-minors pitching rotation in a decade or more. Gohara’s main goals for 2017 are to pitch efficiently to build innings, refine the slider, and develop a third pitch. For a 20-year-old that hasn’t pitched more than 70 pro innings in a year, his floor is exceptionally high; at the least he could become a high-leverage relief ace. However, the Braves will work to see if they can get more out of him as his stuff could put him in the top half of a major league rotation.

 

Outfield Fly Rule Prospect List:

  1. Dansby Swanson, SS
  2. Ozzie Albies, 2B/SS
  3. Kolby Allard, LHP
  4. Mike Soroka, RHP
  5. Sean Newcomb, LHP
  6. Kevin Maitan, SS
  7. Touki Toussaint, RHP
  8. Max Fried, LHP
  9. Ian Anderson, RHP
  10. Ronald Acuña, OF
  11. Austin Riley, 3B
  12. Luiz Gohara, LHP
  13. Dustin Peterson, OF
  14. Rio Ruiz, 3B
  15. Patrick Weigel, RHP
  16. Alex Jackson, OF
  17. Travis Demeritte, 2B
  18. Cristian Pache, OF
  19. A.J. Minter, LHP
  20. Lucas Sims, RHP
  21. Joey Wentz, LHP
  22. Kyle Muller, LHP
  23. Braxton Davidson, OF
  24. Juan Yepez, 1B/3B
  25. Bryse Wilson, RHP
  26. Yunior Severino, SS
  27. Derian Cruz, SS
  28. Brett Cumberland, C
  29. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP
  30. Jonathan Morales, C
  31. Ray-Patrick Didder, OF

 

About Andy Harris 58 Articles
Andy Harris has been a baseball fan since seeing the Big Red Machine in 1978 and hardcore baseball fan since reading Bill James's Historical Baseball Abstract in 1990. Andy moved to the Atlanta area in 1991, which turned out to be a pretty good year for the local team.

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