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2022 Mets Draft profile: Paul Gervase

With their twelfth-round selection in the 2022 MLB Draft, 359th overall, the Mets selected Paul Gervase, a right-handed pitcher from Louisiana State University.

As a freshman at Harnett Central High School in Angier, North Carolina, Paul Gervase already stood an impressive 5’10”. By the time he graduated in 2018, he grew almost another foot and stood an imposing 6’7”. While he did play basketball, it was only recreationally with friends and in gym class; his heart was on the baseball diamond. Despite his size and desire, Gervase wasn’t a particularly great player for most of his career with the Trojans. His fastball topped out in the low-80s, he was often timid and afraid to go after hitters, and because he was not getting the results that wanted, he was beginning to doubt himself and his future. Challenged by Lance Honeycutt, his coach, Gervase began working with Brandon Young, a Raleigh-based physical therapist specializing in pitching biomechanics prior to the start of his senior season. Young changed his mechanics, and the results were immediate. Now throwing in the mid-to-high-80s, the big right-hander had a career year, posting a 2.39 ERA as a senior. Still, his future as a ballplayer seemed bleak, as he had no college offers. Towards the end of the season, Honeycutt got a visit from Jordan Stampler, the head baseball coach of Pfeiffer University, a small D3 university in Misenheimer, North Carolina. Stampler was looking for pitchers to play for Pfeiffer in 2019 and Honeycutt recommended Gervase, who signed a letter of intent and attended the school after graduating.

The right-hander spent one year at Pfeiffer, and it wasn’t particularly impressive. Making 3 starts and appearing in 9 games in total, Gervase posted a 4.19 ERA in 19.1 innings, allowing hits, walking 15, and striking out 17. The season reignited his passion, however, and he transferred to Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina for the 2020 season. In 2021, he transferred to and played for Pitt Community College in Winterville, North Carolina. Following the conclusion of the season, he played for the Bristol State Liners- formerly the Bristol Pirates- of the newly reorganized Appalachian League and posted a 3.63 ERA in 17.1 innings, allowing 8 hits, walking 13, and striking out 30.

Improbably, during his time at Pfeiffer and Wake Tech and Pitt, Gervase kept growing, and with the additional growth, his fastball continued improving. With solid numbers and a fastball that was now touching the high-90s, he entered the NCAA transfer portal and transferred to LSU for the 2022 season. Appearing in 29 games and serving as the Tigers’ closer, the redshirt junior posted a 1.85 ERA in 39.0 innings with 22 hits allowed, 15 walks, and 52 strikeouts. After the conclusion of the season, he appeared in Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League and posted a 1.59 ERA in 11.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, walking 9, and striking out 15.

The 6’10”, 230-pound Gervase is an imposing presence on the mound. The right-hander throws from a low-three-quarters, almost sidearm, arm slot. Combined with his high leg lift, size, and extension, and his pitches can be difficult for batters to pick up on. His size sometimes makes it difficult for him to keep his body in sync, leading to command issues.

His fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s, 90-94, topping out as high as 96, 97 MPH, featuring late arm-side run. Because his extension off the mound and long limbs, the ball jumps on hitters quickly. He complements the pitch with a slider, his main weapon against right-handed batters, and a changeup, his main weapon against left-handed batters. His slider sits in the low-80s and features sweepy break with more horizontal movement than vertical drop. His changeup tunnels well with his fastball and has swing-and-miss fade and tumble.