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They say baseball is 90 percent mental. So it don’t matter if you got 95-plus mph juice like Zach Wheeler or Taijuan Walker or He-Man-esque skills at the plate like Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. If we open up your head and find a pile of rocks or all sorts of Milton Bradley crazy or some actual problems, it could really screw up your season.

Just ask Yovani Gallardo. The derailment of his 2013 season began in November of 2012, when his mom died. Then came his much-publicized booze-cruise in April 2013, when he was charged with a DUI for driving around Milwaukee at three times the legal limit. Then he missed a chunk of the year with a hamstring injury.

Sounds like a Hefty bag of excuses to explain how a dude could go from a 16-17 game winner with four straight 200-strikeout seasons and a sub-4.00 ERA between 2009 and 2012 to 12-10 with a 4.18 ERA and a K/9 rate that dipped to 7 per (from 9 per) in 2013. And it is.

So how does Yovani get back to being a top-of-the-rotation guy for the Brew Crew in 2014? First things first, you take out the trash. Family tragedy? Over. Booze incident? History. Injury concerns? It was just a hammy, not a shoulder or forearm or elbow.

It won’t be that far to climb back to the upper echelons of the rotation when you have Marco Estrada, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza to vault to get there. But it’s what’s in the batter’s box, and not on the mound, that could contribute more to Gallardo’s turnaround.

Yeah, Ryan Braun was a juicer. Yeah, not being on the juice will hurt his power numbers. But the guy can still hit, and plugging him back into the middle of a lineup that might actually make sense (44-steal guy Jean Segura at leadoff) and includes my 2013 fantasy man-crush Carlos Gómez (CarGom if you’re nasty), a potential 2014 fantasy man-crush in Khris Davis, a back-from-injury Aramis Ramirez and Creole catcher extraordinaire Jonathan Lucroy, and the Brewers could potentially score more than 3.95 runs per game, good for only 18th in the league in 2013.

That was potentially the longest sentence I’ve ever written.

So far this spring Gallardo has been pretty dang good, posting a 1.13 ERA. On March 5 against the A’s, he flashed some good (1 ER, 4 K in 2 2/3  IP) and displayed some bad (gave up a long dong and three hits). But on Monday, in his most recent start against the White Sox, Gallardo looked like his old self, striking out three in 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

I foresee 15-ish wins, an ERA in the 3.50 range and a return to 200 IP and 200 K. I’m not saying you draft Gallardo to be your second or third starter, I’m just saying there’s no way you let him go undrafted.

From Around The Web

  1. Buzzdainer says:
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    I’m in a deep keeper league, and probably the two best available draft-eligible starters to round out the back of my rotation this year are Gallardo and Dillon Gee. Which do you like better?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      Gallardo@Buzzdainer: Gallardo

      • Buzzdainer says:
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        @Pete Nice: Thanks!

  2. CL says:
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    I dumped Gallardo last week to pick up Brad Miller, middle infielder.

    Now let me ask… I’ve got RA Dickey and Paxton (a gamble) as my 5th and 6th starters. Is Gallardo a better pick than one of those guys? Also, I noticed De La Rosa is out on the wire and seems to be having a fine spring too.

    Which two of these 4 are you taking?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @CL: I’d go Dickey, Gallardo, Paxton, De La Rosa. Although I wouldn’t be too upset about having Yovani instead of R.U.A. Dickey

  3. de nachos says:
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    not for nothing, just 10 minutes ago somebody just crammed Yovani onto his RCL team. And this player also drafted Ryan Howard. You may have a secret admirer!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @de nachos: It might be me … you never know.

      • de nachos says:
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        @Pete Nice: woah, potentially mind blown. but the real move -

        • de nachos says:
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          @de nachos: as patented by Sky, is pick up said player in all leagues THEN post promotional article. but either way, good stuff.

  4. pedsRus says:
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    Good thoughts to think on Pete. Thanks for the info. So, would u choose him over walker? Also, would you prefer Howard or Morneau?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @pedsRus: no. and no.

  5. JoeC says:
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    No.

  6. LucasB says:
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    I’m trading Kershaw and Gyrko for Cano and Gallardo. Good trade? I have Wainwright, Verlander, Miller, and Lincecum. It’s a K/9 and QS H2H league. Thanks

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @LucasB: na

    • That guy says:
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      @LucasB: I think he meant to say “Oh hell na.”

  7. Joe G says:
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    Pete would you trade Nelson cruz and Zack grienke for michael wacha?

  8. PhatBoy71 says:
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    Excellent read…….Least I’m not alone in believing in a bounce back year !

  9. Brooke says:
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    This guy is the biggest piece of garbage in the league, apologies to BJ Upton. He should mow lawns for a living. I’d rather have a pap smear than roster him….no thank you.

    • Tehol Beddict says:
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      @Brooke: hahhaahhahaahhaahhaahah

  10. Clint says:
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    What do you make of his drop in velocity? As a Brewer fan, I kept reading reports the team was so worried about that they were looking to unload him before the serious drop off in his abilities hit, which seems absurd to me given how young he is. But as a fantasy owner, watching Halladay & Sabathia seemingly fall off the cliff with their velocities, it worries me to draft him again.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Clint The leg injury could have contributed to the loss in velocity, plus he pitched for Mexico in the off season. Aside from last season he has a good track record and he’s looked good this spring. Therefore I see a bounce back season.

  11. Swfcdan says:
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    God it pains me to believe in him again, PAINS me. The guy killed me last year, listen to this. Dealt CarGom for him a month into the season when I thought Gallardo was a great buy low and Gomez a sell high! Picturing his face makes me wanna punch the guy, especially as the guy has locked Gomez up in our keeper league now.

    But I’ll consider Gallardo with a bench spot if he’s around late, and happily throw him to the Wolves with glee if he defecates all over my team again!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Swfcdan: He’s going late but he’s going. He’s worth a shot!

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