I’m becoming increasingly infatuated with Zac Gallen. Like any good researcher, I’ll first call attention to a significant bias. I could chuck a rock from my hometown and hit his hometown. South Jersey for the win. But home cooking aside, Gallen is currently the best pitcher in Triple-A, and it isn’t particularly close. This year that kind of dominance is especially impressive. Triple-A started using the same juiced ball as MLB, and the Pacific Coast League of Triple-A was already notoriously friendly to hitters. To quote a caller from the Mike Francesa show on Friday: “They took the juice out of the players and put it into the ball.”
We’ll dive deeper into the specifics of Gallen’s performance after the jump. In the meantime, take a hard look at stashing Gallen in all formats if you haven’t already done so. He’s begun to appear in Grey’s buy column, and has been a member of both the May and June stash lists. Consider today’s individual spotlight on Gallen similar to the giant neon sign I put up about Austin Riley a few weeks ago.
Gallen was one of the chips the Cardinals gave up when they acquired Marcell Ozuna. His first run through Triple-A with the Marlins in 2018 wasn’t bad, but wasn’t anything spectacular either (3.65 ERA with 136 strikeouts in 133 innings pitched). I’d quote myself from the offseason Marlins preview here, but he wasn’t even on my radar, so there’s nothing to quote. I did find him ranked 13th on Ralph’s list heading into 2018, but it’s not like he was predicting anything like what we’re seeing now either.
On to 2019. Gallen’s ERA (1.29), strikeouts (99), innings pitched (81), and wins (8) are best among all Triple-A pitchers. One of the largest improvements from last year has been his success against lefties. Lefties went from hitting .312 against Gallen in 2018 to just .127 in 2019. Meanwhile, his strikeout percentage has risen by 10% while his walk percentage has settled back to 5%, after it had steadily increased to 8% over the past three seasons. It’s all good. Statistically, there’s nothing that hasn’t improved. Reportedly, there’s also been an increase of ~2 MPH on his sitting velocity. For Gallen, that’s sitting 94-95 instead of 92-93. Big difference.
As far as opportunity, the 23-year-old Gallen is now on the brink of a call to Miami. While he is not on the current 40-man roster, that can be arranged. Plus, it’s not like the Miami rotation is set in stone. In fact, when you look at their depth chart, the starter for Tuesday is listed as TBD. Could it be Gallen? His last start for New Orleans came on June 4th and he’s scheduled to pitch today against Sacramento. I’d pay attention to how the Baby Cakes use him. Even if it’s not Tuesday, the Marlins will most likely bring Gallen up by the end of this month. If you set his call at the All-Star Break, I’d bet a cold Coor’s Light (the most valuable thing I own) on the under.
What can we expect going forward, especially for this season? Steamer is projecting an ERA right around 4.00 with 70 strikeouts in 69 innings pitched. That’s serviceable in all formats, especially considering that I’m currently rostering guys like Trent Thornton (4.73) in the back of my rotation. I’d easily swap a guy like that for the upside of Gallen. Are there prospects with better stuff and more upside that you can stash for the second half of this year? Absolutely. Are any of them pitching better than Gallen right now? Nope.
Is smelter worth holding onto in a 16 teamer with 5 na slots?
Yeah I think it makes sense in that format.
What SP level would you expect Gallen to perform for 2nd half (if he comes up)?
I’m assuming you believe 25 – 30-ish; ie., Wheeler/Boyd.
Yup, anybody around that 4.00 ERA mark.
Thanks for all Mike why does espn only have McKay as a 1b not pitcher.
Anytime…I guess they have the luxury of not having to try. Everything I’ve seen leans he’ll be an arm.
10 team 5×5 obp league
1)My Ryu/Daniel Murphy/Clint Frazier for
2) muncy/ryu for jo ram
Waiver replacements for CI Smoak, Moran, yandy diaz have Nate Lowe in my minors. Yordan Alvarez just got called up hoping for 1B eligibility need 7 games
You’re the man, Mike. This was the best explanation I’ve seen for Gallen’s change in results. Seems like I’ve seen more than a few comments that didn’t believe in him because the improvement was inexplicable.
I grabbed him for cheap a few weeks back in my Ottoneu 5x5s. Thanks for getting me even more excited for his potential call up!
Nice! Thanks! Check out Matty above too. He has even more tidbits.
We have a minor league roster of three. I currently have Hiura, Bichette and Taylor Trammell. Would you drop Trammell for Casey Mize?
I’d swap yeah.
Thanks. Will you be porting one of your top 20 or so rankings any time soon?
Most likely a midseason rankings update in July. At the start of each month I do a a stash list too.
In a Dynasty would you take Gallen over any of the following:
Brujan, Lux, Chisholm, India, Hayes, D. May?
Probably May or Lux
Adding Gallen to the list I posted, who are your top 2?
I like Brujan and Hayes
Who do you like more ros and in the future for a dynasty l?eague? and w?hy?? Meadows or Harper?
Just curious any specific reason why?
Power…you’ll get about 15 points more in BA from Meadows but you’ll likely get ten more homers by year’s end from Harper. That makes it a bit needs specific but I lean Harper there.
Cool! Side note…which side do you like more in a dynasty?
Gary Sanchez Meadows or Harper Alonso?
Harper Alonso…Alonso looks like the real deal
From Razzball, I want 24/7 Gallen content and less Plesac content
I’ll start working on my puns.
At least it wasn’t the 5th play made on Razzball over two days on the phrase ‘nut sack’
Ha Well I’m sure they got more hits than my Uriah Heep reference from Dickens. World is changing. Sacks sell.
Sacks 4 life, RIP Haniger’s sack
Zac Gallen pitched the worst he ever had the first half of 2018. He made a slight tweak to his delivery lowering his arm slot & that played up the movement on his cutter which was always his best pitch.
Second half of 2018 he pitched much better & that’s the only reason his season stats ended up being serviceable. He looked great & MLB ready in Spring Training & has been even better in possibly the hardest pitching environment in all of baseball. Lights out since making the adjustment in arm slot & has kept it up now a full year.
After his first 20 innings in AAA & the lede in one of Ralph’s articles, I stashed him in my Dynasty & NL only leagues which are limited to only 10 & 5 in season adds all year. Welcome aboard the Gallen train…
(Shin Soo) Choo, choo, I’m on!
Plus he threw 140ish innings in 2017 and 130ish in 2018 I believe. He could throw 160ish this season and be up to 200 next year for those stashing in keepers. I love this guy.
Are we accounting all of the improvement on velo? New pitch or mix? Thanks!
See post below. He lowered his arm slot mid-season 2018 & has been lights out since. Plays up his cutter which has always been his best pitch. Saw some Marlins articles on it this Spring explaining his jump & that was before this season…
It’s usually a mix of things when there’s this big of a jump. Many’s got some info here on that.
Im intrigued by this offer 12 team keep 6
My Y Alvarez and a 7,8,9 pick next year for his Fried, Carrasco, Renfroe and a 3,4,5 pick next year
Keepers looking like 6 of Soto, Robles, Lindor, Hoskins, E Rosario, Bauer, Othani (p)
So none of the trade guys really factor in at this point. It’s really the picks and a bit of pitching help this year.
What do you think?
I’d take it. Cash in on the hype.
5×5 keeper league – been offered Benintendi and Tatis Jr. for Vlad. Thoughts?
Who do you like more long term, Gallen or Kay?
Me too but I meant Anthony Kay from NYM
My bad…in that case I’d go with Gallen.
Thanks for the writeup Mike!
I’ve had Gallen and Yordan stashed for about 3 weeks now. Yordan got his call today, thank God!
I’m hoping Gallen does soon, but how do you rank Gallen vs Luzardo? I was toying with the idea of swapping them on my bench. Odds are as soon as I do, Gallen gets the call haha.
Luzardo is still the “better prospect”, but Gallen is the “now” guy. If that makes sense.
AVE-HR-RBi -SB. ( no Runs)
Now that Shaw is back I have to drop him or Garret Cooper for the rest of the Year. Will shaw turn it on ?
Who to cut ?
ugh, I guess hold Shaw. Looks like Brewers will give him every chance to figure it out.
Do you think it’s time to write off Tyler O’Neil? His struggles are now real at AAA and with a crowded outfield, it seems like Dylan Carlson might be the next guy to get a shot.
Yeah, I’d look elsewhere.
Just stashed him. All I had to see was the Austin comparison, coupled with Grey buying him
Side note, I’m shopping Betts. Pondering offing him for Rizzo and Gerrit Cole. You think I get enough in return or should I am higher? 10 team H2H, 4 player keeper
My other keepers consistent of trout, bregman, and Nola (assuming he turns it around). I’m not opposed to keeping Betts, but when I traded for him, my intent was to flip him for an ace and a high end bat.
I, too am a Betts owner, and would look long and hard at an offer like that. Yelich has followed up his 2018 MVP season with an even better 2019. Betts on the other hand….not so much. Take a look under the hood. Betts is 63rd in OPS, in the Buxton, DJ LeMahieu neighborhood. If you can get a Kings Ransom for Betts, you gotta take a serious look.
Yeah I’d make that swap.
Allowed to keep 1 na on my roster and I currently have forrest whitey…should I drop him for wander Franco?
I’d go Franco