Since joining the Miami Marlins organization, Zac Gallen has been expected to make an impact on the rotation with the parent club. That may happen sooner rather than later if he repeats performances like he did in last night’s game.
Gallen hung a zero on the Memphis Redbirds for six innings on Tuesday night en route to a 5-0 win. He struck out six on his way to victory, allowing three singles, a double, and a pair of walks. Of his 104 pitches, 63 were over the plate, and he finished with a 70 GameScore.
Gallen, Miami’s current number 19 prospect, joined the Miami Marlins organization via trade on December 14th last year in the Marcell Ozuna deal. He arrived with LHP Daniel Castano, formerly ranked prospect RF Magneuris Sierra, and Miami’s number two current prospect RHP Sandy Alcantara.
According to the MLB.COM Pipeline, the Marlins were getting a low ceiling and high-floor type of prospect:
"Gallen is all about command and control, with three pitches that routinely play above their modest grades. His fastball sits in the low-90s, touching 94 mph, but he throws it downhill with good life and excellent command, allowing it to play up. He keeps hitters honest with a good cutter in the upper 80s and knows how to effectively change speed with his changeup and curveball, with the former currently ahead of the latter. With a clean and repeatable delivery, he throws a ton of strikes and consistently works down in the zone."
Initially a third round selection out of UNC for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016, the 6’2″, 191 now-23-year-old right-hander reported to the GCL Cardinals after his selection. He was good in a very small sample size, and quickly moved through the St. Louis system in 2017. Between the low-A Palm Beach Cardinals, the double-A Springfield Cardinals, and the triple-A Memphis Redbirds, he racked up a 10-8 record with a 2.93 ERA. He also could boast a 1.17 WHIP and an oppBA of .245, along with 121 whiffs in 147 2/3 innings.
Gallen allowed 18 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings for the Marlins in Spring Training. Before that happened, it looked like he may have been in line for a starting spot out of camp. Instead, he joined the rotation for the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes.
Gallen has started 23 times for New Orleans this season thus far. He’s racked up an 8-7 record with a 3.86 ERA, 122 K’s in 121 1/3 innings, and a 1.50 WHIP. He’s also allowed an oppBA of .284. He’s been a tick better than that on most days – there’s very little in-between Gallen’s great days and his terrible days, at least judging by the box scores. Last night was one of his good days. He’s a prime suspect for September’s roster expansion, but whether he joins the Marlins sooner or later, he should compete for a permanent rotation spot in 2019 Spring Training.
Other Top Minor League Performances from Tuesday
Robert Dugger (JAX)
Dugger (6-5, 4.20) started for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in their 3-1 victory over the Birmingham Barons. He earned a Quality Start, and then some, striking out 10 in seven scoreless innings for an 82 GameScore. Dugger got 63-of-107 pitches in the strikezone, allowing two singles, a double, and two walks.
Brady Puckett (JUP)
Puckett started and lost for the Jupiter Hammerheads on Tuesday night, but he also racked up a Quality Start despite falling to 5-1. He surrendered a pair of runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out six in six innings.
Henry Valencio (DSL)
Valencio started and earned no decision in the DSL Marlins 5-2 loss to the DSL Astros. He struck out five in five innings, allowing one unearned run on a walk and four hits.
Brian Miller (JAX)
Miller batted third for the Jumbo Shrimp in their win. He was three-for-four with two runs, and also stolen pair of bases off of Barons starter Bernardo Flores.
Peter O’Brien (NO)
O’Brien started in right field and batted fourth for the Baby Cakes in their home victory against the Redbirds. He only collected one hit in four at bats, but it was a big one, as usual. He went deep with a three run shot in the fourth, opening the scoring with what would prove to be the eventual game winning RBI. Only his eighth homer of the season for the Cakes, he’s collected 28 overall this year.
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Braxton Lee (NO)
Lee was expected to challenge for a permanent slot on the major league club out of spring training this season. Instead, he’s struggled to maintain even a .250 minor league average a year after winning the Southern League batting title. On Tuesday night, he led off and showed some of the bang and the bark we were all expecting early on. He was two-for-three for the Cakes, with a walk, a single, a triple, and two runs scored.
Alex Vesia (BAT)
The Batavia Muckdogs dropped a 9-2 decision to the West Virginia Black Bears on Tuesday night. Vesia could only do so much. In three innings of relief, he allowed zero hits and one walk, with four strikeouts.
Alvaro Montero (DSL)
Montero led off for DSL, and was two-for-five with two runs and his 29th stolen base of the season.
Ethan Clark (GSO)
Clark took the loss for Greensboro, striking out six in five innings. He also allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks for a 39 GameScore. He did plate 63-of-86 pitches, demonstrating above-average strike zone placement.
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