Milwaukee Brewers: Analyzing Yovani Gallardo’s Trade Market
Posted by Jake Dal Porto
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Jake Dal Porto (MLB Reports Writer) Follow @TheJakeMan24
The inevitable fire sale is looming for the last-place Milwaukee Brewers, and among their collection of tradable pieces, Yovani Gallardo will likely be their most sought out asset.
Gallardo has whirled 14 scoreless innings over his past two starts. The Brewers couldn’t be happier because his trade value is gradually increasing after a brutal start to the season. However, Gallardo’s value wasn’t as high as it once was. It will take a few more scoreless innings before he can get back to that point.
Milwaukee might be wise to hold onto him for another year to see if he can bolster his stock. But that approach also entails negative consequences. He ages a year older, and more importantly, there’s always the chance that his stock is further dented.
So, let’s see what Gallardo’s current market is for this year’s trade deadline:
Yovani Gallardo Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised.
It’s suffice to say that Gallardo’s value has been marginalized in 2013. It’s not just the raw stats–4.41 ERA, 6-6 record–that raise some red flags, but his overall nastiness has eluded him.
Most will characterize Gallardo’s struggles as a byproduct of a less-zippy fastball. Gallardo’s fastball has been less zippy, yes. It’s averaging out at just 91.7 miles per hour, which is a solid step down from his 2012 average of 92.6 MPH.
However, the overall effectiveness of the pitch hasn’t dramatically changed. Opponents are hitting .267 off it, and by comparison, the career average against Gallardo’s fastball is .254. A 13-point increase is something to at least take notice of, but it’s not a huge concern.
Gallardo’s off-speed arsenal isn’t getting pounded around either.
Again, the numbers aren’t exactly along the lines of Gallardo’s career mark, but it’s fairly close.
I’ll admit, the batting averages don’t paint a perfect picture because Gallardo is striking out nearly two less batters per nine innings than he did in 2013. His stuff hasn’t been as effective.
A lot of that has to do with the fact that batters are swinging and missing at his pitches less frequently. Per FanGraphs, his SwSR%, which measures the amount of pitches a batter swings and misses at, is 6.9 percent in 2013.
Considering that Gallardo is usually categorized as a strikeout pitcher, that falls short of expectations, especially if you consider that he has posted a SwSr% of nine or more three times during his seven-year career.
However, Gallardo’s problems go beyond the slight diminish in his nastiness. The more concerning area is the fact that he is simply not hitting his spots. His seven-year LD% (Line-drive percentage) averages out at 21 percent. In 2013, it’s soared to 29 percent.
Another indicative of Gallardo’s decreased nastiness and incapability to hit his spots is his IP% (In-play percentage) of 70 percent. His career average in that department is 63 percent.
Gallardo’s shaky pitch discipline hasn’t triggered a spike in home runs as it will often do to many pitchers. His HR/9 rate sits at 0.9, and he’s walking 3.1 batters per nine innings. Both figures are right on course with his career marks.
Opposing hitters are simply hitting him harder. That’s causing him to use more pitches, which is then causing him to pitch a career-low 5.8 innings per start. And, of course, his ERA has taken a beaten too.
Hitting spots sounds like an easy problem to fix, but it’s really not. Thus, the Brewers won’t be able to command much in return for the right-hander until he shows some signs of a break through, which could come via a simple mechanical fix, or it could be a much, much longer process.
At this point, Gallardo’s contract is the only thing the Brewers have working for them. He’s signed through 2014 with a team option for 2015, meaning he’s not a three-month rental. This could potentially narrow down the interest in Gallardo, but the quality of the return would be better.
Potential Suitors: San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians
There are a handful of teams a pitcher away from joining the elite class.
The Baltimore Orioles exemplify that. They are owners of MLB’s sixth-worst ERA and worst HR/9 rate (1.61). We could list all the stats where the Orioles are bottom-feeders, but that would be a pointless exercise. They’re bottom-feeders in practically every major pitching statistic.
After compiling a 3.43 ERA last year, Jason Hammel has a 5.24 ERA this year. Top prospect Kevin Gausman posted a 7.66 ERA in his first five major league starts. The 36-year-old Freddy Garcia has a 4.89 ERA nine starts.
Hopefully you’re starting to see the pattern. Once Wei-Yin Chen, who hasn’t pitched since May 12, returns, some stability will be regained. But “some” is really the key word. Adding a proven starting pitcher is almost a requirement if the Orioles plan on playing October baseball for the second consecutive year.
The San Francisco Giants, meanwhile, don’t desperately need a starter. After all, this is one of the more pitching-famous franchises since 2010. But their rotation is starting to collapse.
Inconsistency and an overall lack of effectiveness has plagued the starting unit. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner have righted that ship with good performances in their recent starts, but they’re only two pieces to the puzzle.
The quartet of Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, Chad Gaudin and Ryan Vogelsong (injured), however, is generally a mixed bag of results. At the very least, plugging Gallardo into the equation would allow Gaudin to return to the bullpen, a much more comfortable spot. Plus, Gallardo could fill a spot in their 2014 rotation that currently consists of just two starters under contract–Cain and Bumgarner.
The Indians might need more than just one arm to change the outlook of their rotation, which has the 10th-highest ERA in baseball. Justin Masterson (3.52 ERA) has been good, but his battles with inconsistency still exist. After Masterson, Cleveland’s rotation lacks identity.
Praying that Ubaldo Jimenez turns back the clock to 2010 may be a bit too optimistic at this point, and relying on Scott Kazmir to anchor down the back-end of the rotation is also a bit hopeful. So, adding Gallardo would be a major upgrade.
As for the Los Angeles Angels, the decision to add Gallardo ultimately comes down to this: Is Gallardo an upgrade over Joe Blanton, who sports a 5.87 ERA? I think the answer is clear.
***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***
A big thank you goes out to our Baseball Writer Jake Dal Porto. Jake is a student from the Bay Area. He has followed MLB for years, and he enjoys writing about the sport.
He is an assistant editor at Golden Gate Sports, and the editor of Blue Man Hoop. If you need to contact Jake, email him: email@example.com or follow him on twitter.
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Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs
About Jake Dal PortoJake Dal Porto is a student from the Bay Area. He has followed Bay Area sports for years, and enjoys writing about the various Bay Area teams. He is an assistant editor at Golden Gate Sports, and the editor of Blue Man Hoop. If you need to contact Jake, email him: email@example.com
Posted on June 18, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged @TheJakeMan24 on twitter, baltimore orioles, barry zito, chad gaudin, chris tillman, cleveland indians, fangraphs.com, freddy garcia, jake dal parto, jason hammel, joe blanton, justin masterson, kevin gausman, kyle lohse, la angels, matt cain, miguel gonzalez, milwaukee brewers, NL Central, ryan vogelsong, san francisco giants, scott kazmir, tim lincecum, trade deadline, ubaldo jimenez, wei-yin chen, yovani gallardo. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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