Austin Gomber might not be a name Cardinals fans will have on the top of their radar to start 2019, but they probably should.

Gomber could end up being more influential in the Cards' quest to return to the playoffs than most people might think.

We sat down with the lefty at spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

Right now the candidates for the 2019 Cardinals rotation go like this:

Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, John Gant, Dakota Hudson, Alex Reyes and Austin Gomber.

With Reyes likely to spend most of the year in the bullpen to limit innings, you could make the argument Gomber is one of the five best options for a starting slot.

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He also has a rare, unteachable talent that the Cardinals are short on when it comes to starting pitching. He's left handed.

It's not 100% clear whether the front office and manager Mike Shildt really believe they need a lefty starter, but if they are looking for a bit of variety among the starters, Gomber is literally the only viable option right now.

In 11 starts last season, Gomber was an impressive 5-2. He also had a 4.26 ERA as a starter compared to a 5.00 ERA as a reliever.

As Cardinals fans know, injuries are bound to happen in spring training and throughout the season.

Expect Gomber to get a shot as a starter again at some point in 2019.