Monday, August 4, 2008

Watched: Oakland @ Toronto - 8/4/08

I wanted to check out Sean Gallagher, one of the main pieces Oakland received when they traded away Rich Harden. At the time of the trade, some analysts insisted that Gallagher would win more games in the next five years than Harden and some others went so far as to claim that Gallagher might even win more games in the rest of this season than Harden will (of course, predictions like those are easy to make - if you are wrong no one remembers, if you are right you can quote yourself in a later column to show that you are a genius). So far Harden and Gallagher are even at 1-1 since the trade. Of course, wins and losses don't tell the whole story. Gallagher has made five starts since the trade (including tonight) and has thrown 25.1 innings in those five starts, and while he has struck out twenty seven men, which is excellent, he has also walked nineteen batters and has an ERA of 4.26. Harden, on the other hand, has made four starts since the trade, lasting 24.1 innings in those starts. He has only walked eight, while striking out thirty nine batters and he has an ERA of 1.11.

Anyway, I wanted to see what Oakland got in Gallagher and the numbers above were indicative of his performance. He clearly has good stuff, but he needs to learn to reign it in a bit. His fastball seemed to top out at about 92 and he had a good sharp slider, which was his strikeout pitch. He was very inefficient with his pitch count and only lasted three innings on the night. During his brief appearnace he was able to accumulate four strikeouts and four walks. He also hit two batters.

Clearly, Gallagher did not pitch well enough to win, and with an average of about five innings per start, he's really not giving his team much of a chance to win when he's on the mound. But Gallagher is only 22 years old and he seems to have the talent to become a solid major league pitcher. There are innumerable stories of pitchers with great stuff that never learned to harness their abilities and burned out without ever making an impact in the major leagues. Gallagher could easily become one of those guys, or he could mature into his talent and make himself into a solid #2 or #3 starter.

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