On Sunday the Kansas City Royals promoted catching prospect Cam Gallagher to the major league roster. He was having a solid campaign with Triple-A Omaha and the promotion was deserved. Let’s take a look.
Gallagher was drafted in the second round in 2011 out of high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Committed to East Carolina for college, he signed instead with the Royals for $750,000.
At the time, Gallagher was seen as a possible regular with above-average potential as both a defender and hitter. He showed some offense in the Appalachian League in 2012, hitting .276/.331/.425, but his bat stagnated when he reached full-season ball.
His hitting picked up a bit in 2015 (.245/.323/.364 in High-A) and that trend continued in 2016 (.259/.348/.359). Pre-season, Gallagher was rated as a Grade C prospect, ranked 20th on the Kansas City Royals Top 20 prospects list for 2017 with the following comment:
20) Cam Gallagher, C, Grade C: Age 23, second round pick in 2011; bat has never really developed but defense has turned out very well; added to 40-man roster this past weekend; hit .259/.348/.359 in Double-A but threw out 50% of runners and maintains very low passed ball and error rates; glove will get him to the majors; at one time his bat was well-regarded and perhaps it can still come around someday. ETA; 2017.
Gallagher has continued to progress on the surface in 2017, hitting .294/.339/.408 for Triple-A Omaha, although in context this is actually slightly worse than 2016: his wRC+ stands at 91 as opposed to 101 last year in Double-A. That said, he’s matched his career high with five homers and overall has handled the transition to Triple-A pretty well.
Listed at 6-2, 230, the right-handed hitting Gallagher looks like he should be a power hitter physically but hasn’t consitently sustained it for more than a few weeks at a time. A pull hitter, he can hammer something out to left field occasionally but goes through phases where his swing gets long. Most of his power comes against left-handed pitching.
Gallagher has been respected for his defense since high school and that’s continued to improve. He’s quite mobile for his size, very reliable, gives up few passed balls (only three so far this year) and controls the running game efficiently (37% caught at Omaha, 35% for his career).
The glove got Gallagher to the majors and he could have a long career as a defense-oriented backup and platoon player. If he ever learns to tap his physical strength into game power especially against right-handed pitching, perhaps he can be something more.
Here’s some of the pull power and he did this one against a right-hander.