Brooklyn, New York- In his two most recent starts, Giovanny Gallegos pitched like two very different pitchers. In his first year of short-season ball with the Staten Island Yankees, that’s unsurprising. While he got hit hard in his final start of June, it was good to see manager Justin Pope leave him in to work it out through three innings, despite coughing up an early 4-0 lead to the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Gallegos (pronounced Guy-A-Gos) struggled to throw strikes in the early part of his June 27th outing, unable to consistently locate his fastball. His fastball overpowers hitters low in the zone, but on that day, he couldn’t move it around the strike zone effectively.
He ended June with a 5.54 ERA, allowing 8 runs, all earned, on 15 hits over thirteen innings. Despite the bit of trouble he ran into in two consecutive starts, there’s a lot to like in all four, and the biggest positive is that he hasn’t allowed a walk. He also has twelve strikeouts.
As for velocity, he got his fastball up to 91 mph, throwing it consistently between 86-90 mph. All his breaking pitches were clocked in the mid-70’s, which is about right for him. But the breaking stuff didn’t have much snap, and will need to improve.
His first start of July was a vast improvement. He cleaned up the wildness, hit the corners for strikes, and confidently attacked the strike zone. He shut out the Brooklyn Cyclones offense that night, giving up six hits and striking out three. His fastball reached 93 mph, he threw his breaking pitches more often for strikes, and consistently got guys swinging to strike out.
In the fourth inning, with a guy on second and one out, he worked his way through, mixing in a slider, what looked like a slurve, and a lively fastball. His body language was much better in pressure situations. He worked slower, got out of innings with fewer pitches, and pitched to the zone with command.
Gallegos has a history marked with injury, and that’s surely slowed his progress. At 22, he’s late for the New York Penn League. The Yankees signed him a non-drafted free agent out of Mexico in 2010, and he made his professional debut in 2012 in the Gulf Coast League. He was solid at that level, pitching twenty-seven innings, giving up just five earned runs through four starts. The walks were impressive there too- he surrendered just two. He finished with a 1.67 ERA, and twenty-two strikeouts.
He pounded the strike zone and mixed speeds, working the corners and coming in and out on guys in his July 2nd outing. He didn’t try to overpower guys, but threw his fastball with easy power and trusted his ability to get guys out with it. His secondary stuff was far more consistent, with sharper break, and he had good downward angle. He needs to be more consistent with his arm angle in order to move forward.
In his first two starts, he pitched into the fifth, and after that rough June ending, he cranked out a quality start that exhibited mound composure, good secondary stuff he’s still getting a feel for, and a fastball with late movement hitters couldn’t catch up to.
This year is about him getting innings, and sharpening his arsenal. He needs to be challenged, as he was in that rough June game. Last year was an indication of someone healthy and reliable. If he stays consistent this season, he could put himself in position for a promotion to Class-A Charleston.