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Giving Gallardo Love

Yovani Gallardo is one of four National League starting pitchers with a sub-3 FIP and yet only three posts have included him this season. Two April posts on his extension and fantasy availability and then Gallardo’s entry into the Trade Value series. Otherwise, Gallardo’s season is one of the fertile patches around these parts thanks to Jack Moore’s tears cried from neglect.

Workload appears to be the reason Gallardo’s name is absent from the best pitching season talk. He missed time with an oblique injury, limiting his innings total to 149 innings. Most of Gallardo’s company is at 180 innings and rising, making Gallardo’s innings supply appear bare. Still, 2010 is an impressive season. Gallardo is the same age as that Felix Hernandez guy and his FIP this season (and for his career) is comparable to the King.

Now, Gallardo has something like 640 innings fewer than Hernandez and his ability to get groundballs and limit walks is clearly trailing Hernandez’s, but that he can stand next to Hernandez and not look like a complete second-class citizen is a compliment. The hierarchy effect does come into play when comparing Gallardo to his slumdog rotation mates. While Gallardo himself has accrued 3.9 WAR, the sum of the next five pitchers with the highest starts total (Wolf, Bush, Narveson, Parra, and Davis) is 1.1. You can triple that and Gallardo still wins.

Gallardo’s fastball is a fine pitch that sits in the low-90s. It does not miss bats as often as one would expect, however, Gallardo supplements that aspect with precision. The true seductresses in his arsenal are his breaking pitches. A delightful pair, indeed, which tempt but rarely fulfills batters’ need for contact. Both pitches have a whiff rate over 10%, leading the rest of the Gallardo’s pack.

The smudge on Gallardo’s Mona Lisa is simply durability. Simply not because durability is the easiest thing in the world to alter or fix – just ask the last great starting pitcher the Brewers’ system produced – but in the sense that the number of issues with his play is one. To compete next year, Milwaukee needs insurance, not just from Lloyd’s of London, but also in the form of an upgraded rotation in order to complement their young ace. They also might need a spotlight to ensure Gallardo gets the shine he deserves.