It was just 12-months ago that we all were sitting here raving about Yovani Gallardo and the endless success that should be in store for him. It’s amazing how things change 1 year and 2 injuries later. There aren’t as many expectations, as many people craving his services. Luckily, both injuries were to his knee (torn meniscus & torn ACL) as opposed to his shoulder, meaning that neither should influence the hopes of success in 2009.
He did manage to make a few starts in 2008, posting the following numbers:
20 Strikeouts (7.50 K/9)
8 Walks (3.0 BB/9)
It’s a small sample size, but there really isn’t much not to like about those numbers. The numbers from his rookie season, when he went 9-5 with a 3.67 ERA over 110.1 innings are much more indicative of his skills. There is room to improve on the strikeout potential he’s shown so far (8.24 K/9 in ’07), as he posted a 10.4 K/9 over 396.1 minor league innings.
Before you say that those numbers were probably a result of strong performances at the lower levels of the minor leagues, in 77 Triple A innings in ’07 he posted a K/9 of 12.7. He also dazzled in the Pacific Coast League (which we know at this point is a true hitters league), with a 2.90 ERA. There’s just no doubting how good he can be. Granted, the layoff of ’08 could prove to be a problem, but I don’t think it will. He didn’t show any ill effects at the tail end of ’08, nor in the playoffs where he didn’t give up an earned run over 7 innings of work (3 unearned runs).
The biggest difference is that in 2009 he could be seen as the ace of the staff, with C.C. Sabathia already heading out of town and Ben Sheets likely not far behind. That certainly will add extra pressure on the 22-year old (he’ll be 23 by the time the season starts), though there’s no reason to think that he won’t be able to live up to it.
Pitching for the Brewers, he should get plenty of chances to get victories, to go along with the strikeouts and what should be a solid ERA and WHIP. With a career WHIP of 1.12 in the minor leagues and a solid number since his major league debut, there’s no reason to believe 2009 will be anything different.
Let’s take a look at what I’d project for him next season:
192.0 IP, 16 W, 3.47 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 188 K (8.81 K/9), 67 BB (3.14 BB/9)
As you can see, I’m expecting ace type stuff from Gallardo in what should amount to his first full season in the major leagues. With the injuries he sustained last season, he’s likely to slide a bit on draft day, which makes him a tremendous buy in my opinion. Keep your eye on him and pounce if you get a chance.
It’s likely that he goes around Round 11, which seems like the perfect spot for him. I know he’s still young and lacks the experience of other pitchers, but he’s just too good of an option to ignore.
What does everyone else thing? Do the injuries worry you?
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