Prospect Profile: Yovani Gallardo
Yovani Gallardo was drafted by the Brewers in the second round in 2004, out of high school in Fort Worth, Texas. He had a scholarship to Texas Christian, but the Brewers convinced him to sign. Gallardo has exceeded even optimistic expectations, reaching Double-A in just his second full year and dominating the level at age 20. Although he hasn't received as much national attention as phenoms like Homer Bailey and Phil Hughes, Gallardo is an outstanding pitching prospect in his own right.
Gallardo was drafted in great part because of his athleticism: he was a fine soccer player in high school. He was 6-2, 190 when drafted, but has added an inch and 25 pounds of muscle to his frame. The increase in size and strength has boosted his fastball. It was 89-93 MPH in high school, but hits 95-96 MPH at times now, with movement. His curveball, slider, and changeup have all improved, particularly this year. Mechanical refinements have sharpened his control, enabling him to locate his pitches where he wants to in the strike zone. As a result, he shows the ability to finesse hitters as well as overpower them when necessary. He is not an extreme ground ball or fly ball pitcher, with neutral overall tendencies, although hitters seem to have a tough time driving the ball for distance against him. He is cool on the mound and doesn't get emotional.
Gallardo has improved at each level, which is what you want to see. Note the steady decline in his ERAs as he has moved up the ladder. Note his strong K/IP and H/IP ratios, and the low home run rate. His main flaw last season was occasionally spotty control, but that hasn't been much of an issue this year. His platoon splits are very slight (.635 OPS for lefty hitters, .501 for righty hitters) and he seems to do a good job bearing down with runners in scoring position (just .373 opposition OPS RISP for Huntsville so far). Overall, there are no flaws in his numbers. Add in the fact that he is 20 years old and pitching great in Double-A, and you have yourself a top prospect.
No problems thus far. His athleticism should help him stay healthy, although there is of course no guarantee when pitchers are concerned.
Gallardo is an excellent pitching prospect. There isn't much more that can be said. He isn't far behind Bailey, and has actually outpitched Hughes since being promoted.