Why Yovani Gallardo Is A 2010 Fantasy Ace

Outside of my Wild Prediction (click here to view), we haven’t talked much about Yovani Gallardo this preseason.  He is one of my favorite pitchers entering 2010 and I didn’t really think it was necessary to discuss him.  While many think highly of him, it turns out a little conversation is needed.

Last season there were a lot of questions surrounding him, as injuries had cost him all but 24 innings in 2008, but he responded with flying colors:

13 Wins
185.2 Innings
3.73 ERA
1.31 WHIP
204 Strikeouts (9.89 K/9)
94 Walks (4.56 B/99)
.288 BABIP

The concern that jumps out at you immediately is his control, though to me it just shouldn’t be such a concern.  I know, it wasn’t just his time missed sue to injury considering the walk rate actually regressed as the season progressed:

  • First Half – 4.3 BB/9
  • Second Half – 4.9 BB/9

However, he had proven prior to 2009 that he is a pitcher whose control is not erratic.  In 110.1 innings in the Major Leagues in 2007 his walk rate was 3.0.  For his minor league career (396.1 innings), his walk rate was 3.2.

I know it was a struggle last season, but given his history I just can’t go into 2010 expecting them to be repeated.  A track record is a track record and it’s going to take more than just one blip on the radar to deter me.

The thing is, that’s the only real negative to point to.  Was he slightly lucky with a 77.9% strand rate?  Sure, but it’s not an outrageous mark.

Did he not win enough games for an elite pitcher?  Yes, but how much is that him due to the offense surrounding him?  With an ERA of 3.73, you would expect him to be able to get a few more Ws out of it.  In fact, with the Brewers offense behind him, if he just repeats last season’s performance I’d figure him for at least one or two more victories.  All he needs is more run support.

Outside of those things, what exactly are you discouraged about?

Is it his strikeout rate?  Don’t think he can maintain it?  Granted, he may regress some, but if you expect him to repeat his 8.2 in his rookie season you would be mistaken.  Over his minor league career he posted a 10.4 mark.  I know, clearly he just feasted on low level opponents.  Think again:

  • Double-A – 2006 – 9.9 K/9 in 77.1 innings
  • Triple-A – 2007 – 12.7 K/9 in 77.2 innings

Don’t believe the fact that he generated a groundball rate of 45.0%?  It may be slightly high, but his minor league mark was at 48.2% and in ’07 at Triple-A he was at 43.3%.  While he may not match last year’s mark, he also should not be very far off.

The BABIP is reasonable and repeatable.  The home run output (1.02 HR/9 and 12.3% HR/FB) is not a deterrent.  The fastball, averaging 92.3 mph, is electric.

He’s just a young ace in the making and I’m expecting big things from him in 2010:

190.0 IP, 17 W, 3.41 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 200 K (9.47 K/9), 74 BB (3.51 BB/9)

I have him ranked as the 11th starting pitcher on my draft board (click here for the most recent rankings), meaning that I wouldn’t mind taking him as my #1 starter, though as a last resort.  The truth is that he actually has the potential to outperform those numbers and finish the season as a top six or seven pitcher.

I understand the concerns about the control, but I just don’t see it.  There’s so much to like about him and I just don’t understand why he’s the 17th starting pitcher off the board according to Mock Draft Central, behind guys like Cliff Lee and Tommy Hanson.  For me, I take Gallardo every time.

What about you?  Is Gallardo someone you wouldn’t mind having as an ace?  Why or why not?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5) now including a Top 50 Prospects for 2010 List, click here.

For some 2010 projections, click here.  Among those we’ve already covered include:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

 

Posted on by Rotoprofessor. This entry was posted in Player Analysis. Bookmark the permalink.

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6 Responses to Why Yovani Gallardo Is A 2010 Fantasy Ace

  1. M J says:

    I think he could become an ace, but for now I’d rather him be my #2 starter.

  2. C BASS says:

    Rotoprofessor,

    Will you be posting any articles on auction values or auction draft strategy?

  3. GT says:

    As a Milwaukeean, I can attest that Yo’s lack of Wins was not due to a lack of offense, rather a number of sure-wins negated by a crappy bullpen. The Brewers made a marginal upgrade this offseason in Latroy Hawkins, but most importantly will not be requiring middle relievers Todd Coffey, Chris Narveson, Mitch Stetter, or Carlos Villanueva to throw spot starts, keeping them fresh to secure YO’s W’s.

    25 wins baby!

  4. Hippeaux says:

    Dig it. I’m definitely happy with Gallardo as my #1, although I especially like him as co-Ace with another slightly undervalued top 20 starter like Lee or Jimenez. I think Yovani has a Cy Young season in him somewhere down the road.

  5. Matt says:

    I second the article about auction strategies and values… it could be a good nitch… not many people talk about auctions although its the superior way to play

  6. David_C says:

    Yovani is a K pitcher, him having a 77 percent strand rate isn’t unlucky for him…

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