John Michael Gant
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 175 lb.
- High School Wiregrass Ranch High School
- Debut April 6, 2016
Starting pitcher John Gant began his professional career in 2011.
He had a breakout campaign in 2013, going 6-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 13 starts for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He had 81 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. With the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2014, Gant went 11-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 21 starts. He was a Mid-Season All-Star in both 2013 and 2014 and a Post-Season All-Star the latter campaign. He began 2015 with the Binghamton Mets and went 4-5, 4.70 in 11 games while also spending time with the Class A St. Lucie Mets where he was 2-0, 1.79 in 6 starts. On July 24th, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves along with fellow prospect Rob Whalen in return for major league infielders Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson.
Gant made the Braves' roster out of spring training in 2016 and opened the season in the bullpen. He pitched a scoreless inning against the Washington Nationals in his debut on April 6th, but was then roughed up for 4 runs on 5 hits, including a pair of homers, in his next two outings and was sent to the minors. He returned to make a slightly more successful appearance out of the bullpen on April 27th, when he gave up 2 runs in 4 2/3 innings after relieving Bud Norris in the 2nd inning of a 9-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Shuttling between Atlanta and the AAA Gwinnett Braves, he pitched once in the majors in May, then was given a longer look in June. On June 12th, he made the first start of his career against the Chicago Cubs, but he was charged with a loss after giving up 3 runs in 4 1/3 innings; he had managed to keep things close, but the Cubs teed off against his successors on the mound to roll to a 12-3 win. On June 17th, he earned his first big league win, throwing two-hit ball over 6 2/3 innings to defeat the New York Mets, 5-1. It was the first time in 9 major league appearances that his name had appeared in the boxscore of a game the Braves had won. He ended up with a record of 1-4, 4.86 in 20 major league appearances, including 7 starts. He logged 50 innings. With Gwinnett, he was 3-3, 4.18 in 12 games, also making one rehabilitation appearance with the Class A Rome Braves. On December 1st, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with fellow prospects Luke Dykstra and Chris Ellis in return for veteran starter Jaime Garcia.
Gant made only 7 appearances for the Cardinals in 2017, 2 of them starts, going 0-1, 4.67 in 17 1/3 innings. He spent the bulk of the season in AAA with the Memphis Redbirds, where he was 6-5, 3.83 in 18 starts. In 2018, he started off 5-1, 1.65 in his first 8 starts for Memphis to get the call back to St. Louis. On June 25th, he had the honor of recording the 10,000th win in franchise history when he pitched 7 one-hit innings to defeat the Cleveland Indians, 4-0. He was starting in place of an injured Michael Wacha. On August 30th, he homered and pitched scoreless ball into the 6th inning to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-0, as the Cards were surging to a postseason slot.
Gant has a very unusual delivery - so bizarre in fact that it's a wonder no pitching coach has tried to rebuild it completely. He takes a couple of side steps with his left foot, like he was shimmying, before starting his delivery, then has a big pause right in the middle of his wind-up before finally throwing the ball to the plate. It looks to all the world like he has completely lost his mechanics, but it seems to work for him.