Scouting Yanks Prospect #35:Giovanny Gallegos

It's all about staying healthy for Gallegos

The New York Yankees signed right-handed pitcher Giovanny Gallegos out of Mexico back in November of 2010. A knee injury and subsequent surgery cost him nearly two years at the start of his career, and another nagging injury cost him in the early part of the 2013 season, but he still offers a significant long-term ceiling.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Giovanny Gallegos
Position: Pitcher
DOB: August 14, 1991
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

His numbers in 2013 were okay, posting a 4.27 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees and a solid three to one strikeout to walk ratio, but they were a far cry from his 1.67 ERA and eleven to one strikeout ratio posted the year prior.

It wasn't just his numbers that fluctuated either. His stuff was up and down for a good portion of the season too but it was to be expected considering 2013 was really his first full season since signing back in 2010.

Throw in some nagging shoulder tendonitis that he battled in Extended Spring Training last season and it was a bit of a rollercoaster season for the Mexican hurler.

"It felt good when I came, but there was a tweak in my shoulder that was bothersome," Gallegos said earlier in the season through the help of a translator. "I feel better [as the season goes on].

"I trust in myself and I feel comfortable. It was hard for me to come back from the shoulder [injury]; it was really tough. But I kept working and thankfully everything is going well. I just don't want to go through that again."

While being 21 years old during the season put him on par with the New York Penn League average last year, he was still very green in many respects considering he had amassed a grand total of just 27 official minor league innings entering the season.

With that inexperience comes a certain degree of expected inconsistencies and they clearly showed in his 2013 campaign. When he was good, he was very good. In fact, he posted two earned runs or less in eleven of his sixteen starts for Staten Island. However, he posted a 10.19 ERA in his five other starts and that skewed his numbers dramatically.

While the overall numbers were somewhat pedestrian, it is difficult for those empowered with his development to not get excited when he's going right.

"There's a whole lot to say about him," Staten Island pitching coach Carlso Chantres said during a four-game stretch when he allowed just one earned run. "He's something special right now. I think he can locate his fastball very well, throw strikes, [and] he's got a good curveball. The changeup is a work in progress right now.

"He's going after hitters and doing his thing right now. The good thing about him is that he goes out there every five days and throws strikes with all his pitches. The walk total has kind of been unexpected, but he throws strikes and goes right after these hitters.

"He doesn't give them time to think. He gives them his best stuff and if they hit him they hit him, and if they don't, it's [to] his advantage."

For now it's all about getting consistent for Gallegos; consistent fastball velocity, a more consistent changeup, and locating his plus curveball consistently. Still, for a player with as high an upside as Gallegos has, the first real step towards gaining that consistency is simply staying healthy.

"For me, his biggest goal is to stay healthy," Chantres added. "He missed the year before so we're working on delivery, balance, and separation, but once he gets that repeated delivery and that curveball back I'd like to see him pitch in higher baseball. For every guy that's here, our goal is to get them to the big leagues."

Gallegos and the Yankees firmly believe he has the foundation to be something special should health be a non-issue, especially given the looseness in his delivery and advanced stuff.

"I'm working hard on keeping myself healthy because I know I'm going to gain velocity anyway if I remain healthy," Gallegos concluded.











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Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Gallegos' fastball velocity fluctuated quite a bit in 2013 after dealing with the shoulder tendonitis, sitting anywhere from 87-93 mph over the course of the season, but most days he was still averaging 92-93 mph like he had the year prior and topped out at 95 mph more than a few times. Given the looseness in his delivery and a frame that should get stronger in the coming years, there is a decent chance that velocity could creep up a tick or two more. Whether it was because of the shoulder or not remains unclear, but his command wasn't quite as sharp as it was in 2012. Still, he has shown in spots to have plus command and the fastball shows good movement and late life.

Other Pitches. Just like his fastball, Gallegos' curveball velocity fluctuated a bit last year, sitting anywhere from 77-83 mph. When it's going right it averages 81-83 mph with great 12 to 6 action and he is able to flip it in consistently for strikes. It is a true plus big league offering. While the fastball and curveball were a bit inconsistent a year ago, his changeup saw some real progress. He began to throw it more often and it has become a more consistent big league average pitch that shows some long-term above average potential.

Pitching. Gallegos doesn't just have stuff, he has real pitch-ability. He employs a fast tempo pace, one which doesn't really allow batters to set up well, and he is extremely efficient on the mound because he throws so many strikes. While that is a big-time positive for any young pitcher, it can be his Achilles heal too. He is still learning how to not throw so many quality strikes and expand the zone more. Truly effortless in his delivery, he has the requisite foundation to be a true innings eater, one who could pitch deep into games, just as long as he remains healthy.

Projection. Gallegos has shown glimpses of the plus fastball, plus curveball, and high level of pitch-ability combination to potentially pitch in the front half of a big league rotation someday, but further advancing the consistency in those areas and also developing a better changeup are needed to fulfill that kind of ceiling. In a lot of ways he resembles a young Ivan Nova type, one with a truly sky-high ceiling but also one who could take some time towards tapping that kind of potential. He best projects as a middle of the rotation big league starter who has the potential to be much more if things break right.

ETA. 2016. As long as he is healthy he should open up the 2014 season in low-A Charleston and be a mainstay for the RiverDogs. Should the changeup come along and the other areas of his game begin to be more consistent he could begin to move quickly though because the stuff and pitch-ability are pretty advanced already.

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