Every other day over the next two months, John Nagel and Kyle Reis will announce a new prospect on The Redbird Daily’s Top 30 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect List. For each prospect, John and Kyle will reveal where that prospect landed on their personal lists and also few thoughts on the prospect. We hope you enjoy!
Prospect #23: Zac Gallen – 3rd Round, 2016
2016 Stats: GCL Cardinals – 0-0, 1.86 ERA, 9.2 IP, 15 K, 0 BB
Kyle Reis (Ranked #20 On Personal List)
The first thing that I want you to know about Zac Gallen is that he is boring. He’s as much of a “ho-hum” prospect as you’re going to find on our list. If our #24 prospect, Jordan Hicks, is the oldest brother in the family, the brother with the most promise that your parents won’t stop talking to their friends about, then Gallen is that middle child that your parents describe to their friends as “the artist of the family”, only to quickly change the discussion back to their oldest.
The good news is that the Cardinals success as an organization has been built on the backs of players like Gallen. There is very little mystery as to what kind of pitcher he is. He is as much of a safe bet as you can draft. He’s the safety blanket that every organization looks for.
When I evaluate Gallen, he reminds me of a right-handed version of Tim Cooney. Both pitched in the ACC. Both were starters as freshmen, which is rare in the top conferences in college. Both basically top out in the low 90’s, although Gallen has topped out in the 95 range. They’re both about the same size (6’2, 190-195). They both throw a ton of strikes and hardly issue walks.
What differentiates Gallen from Cooney is that Gallen’s best secondary pitch is probably his cutter. He also throws a change-up that’s above average, but I believe it’s just a tick below where his cutter is. Gallen also throws a curve, but it’s a work in progress. It might be an offering that he dumps by the time he makes it to the upper levels.
I’ll leave you with a tease about our top prospect list. My list specifically. Even though Gallen was the third pitcher drafted by the Cardinals in the 2016 draft, I have him ranked the 2nd highest. The sample is small and at a level below him, but when you don’t walk anyone and strike out 15 in 9.2 IP you get my attention. When you add those early results on to his pitching profile, you earn a jump in my book. And, what can I say? I’m a fan of boring!
John Nagel (#24 on personal list)
I am a little more bearish on Gallen than Kyle is, however, Kyle hits the nail on the head with his middle child analogy. Gallen is not an exciting prospect, but he is an extremely safe one. It is kind of ironic that Gallen falls in front of Hicks, who has a much higher upside, but is also much riskier.
Kyle had Gallen as the second best pitching prospect from the 2017 draft, which also featured Dakota Hudson and Connor Jones. I had Gallen third of the three, but that is not really a knock on him. I am a big fan of the other two.
Gallen has a four pitch mix with no pitch really above average, but he can throw all four for strikes and has confidence to throw all of them at any count. If you believe in “pitchability” — meaning strong mound presence and a great feel for pitching — Gallen has it, big time.
BaseballAmerica had Gallen as their 97th best prospect from the 2016 draft. If you tend to believe BA’s rankings (like I do), you will notice how much of a steal Gallen was for the Cardinals who drafted him at pick 106. I think Gallen’s upside is that of a #4 starter, but his floor his very high as well.
It’s tough to pick a starting spot for Gallen in 2017 as he only has 9 2/3 professional innings under his belt (by design). If we look at his ability, Gallen would probably succeed at the Double-A level, but I don’t think the Cardinals will push him that far. My guess is he begins at High-A Palm Beach, but he could start lower due to depth. If that is the case, he will move quickly.
I would put a MLB ETA on Gallen for either late 2018 or 2019. Pitchers like him tend to move very quickly, just ask Marco Gonzales, Luke Weaver, or Michael Wacha.
Gallen isn’t flashy, but he is one who will sneak under the radar.
How we rank prospects: Click Here
Best of The Rest: Click Here
#30 Prospect: Daniel Poncedeleon
#29 Prospect: Jonathan Machado
#28 Prospect: Jeremy Martinez
#27 Prospect: John Gant
#26 Prospect: Alvaro Seijas
#25 Prospect: Nick Plummer
#24 Prospect: Jordan Hicks
#23 Prospect: Zac Gallen
#22 Prospect: 2/19
#21 Prospect: 2/21
#20 Propsect: 2/23
#19 Prospect: 2/25
#18 Prospect: 2/27
#17 Prospect: 3/1
#16 Prospect: 3/3
#15 Prospect: 3/5
#14 Prospect: 3/7
#13 Prospect: 3/9
#12 Prospect: 3/11
#11 Prospect: 3/13
#10 Prospect: 3/15
#9 Prospect: 3/17
#8 Prospect: 3/19
#7 Prospect: 3/21
#6 Prospect: 3/23
#5 Prospect: 3/25
#4 Prospect: 3/27
#3 Prospect: 3/29
#2 Prospect: 3/31
#1 Prospect: 4/2