With all the media and social media avenues available today, not much slips under the radar in major league baseball. But maybe Cardinals righthander Giovanny Gallegos has.
The 27-year-old native of Mexico, acquired from the New York Yankees in last year’s Luke Voit deal, has one the top strikeout-walk ratios in the majors at nearly nine to one (61-7) and ranks fourth in WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) at 0.78.
Manager Mike Shildt said, “With his stuff and his mentality, I believe we’re seeing what we can continue to expect to see.”
Pitching coach Mike Maddux said he thought Gallegos could even close at this level. “He closed in Memphis last year and did quite a good job at it,” said Maddux.
“I don’t have control over that,” Gallegos said. “But I like it. I closed a couple of games in the minor leagues (he had 18 saves in the minors). There’s a lot of difference between the minor leagues and here, but I’ll be ready every time for any situation.”
Shildt said, “The thing I appreciate about Gio is he just treats it as any other situation. He doesn’t make it bigger than it is. He pitches and executes with stuff. That’s all you can ask, and his stuff is plenty good.
“Thankfully, there’s not a need for (Gallegos to close) right now, but it’s nice to know on a certain day you could fire him in there.”
Gallegos, an early send-out this spring when he allowed a rash of home runs, has progressed from middle man to moderate leverage to high leverage. He pitched the eighth inning of a tie game on Tuesday. “He’s more than earned that,” said Shildt.
Gallegos, who was one of the few relievers not used on Wednesday, said, “I just focus on throwing strikes. I don’t try to strike out the hitter, just get him out.”
Last year, at the AAA levels and with the Yankees and Cardinals, he had a total of 69 strikeouts and 13 walks. He pitched in two games, both scoreless, for the Cardinals in the last week of the season and, said Maddux, “He really opened our eyes.
“This spring he wasn’t quite tuned in like he is right now. He’s aggressive. He loves to come at you.”
The difference that has enabled Gallegos to stay here rather than ride the AAA shuttle is “confidence. I have confidence in all my stuff,” he said.
Gallegos throws a two-seamer, four-seamer, slider, curve and changeup and he said, proudly, “All my pitches are my best pitches. I can throw them in any count, any situation.”
But his slider seems to cause hitters the most trouble and Gallegos said that the slider and curveball were his “go to” pitches.