Zac Gallen is a possible addition to the Miami Marlins rotation in 2019.
Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 216 of 286.
Zachary Peter Gallen is a 6’2″, 191 lb. right-handed pitcher from Gibbsboro, New Jersey, population 2,247 (US Census Bureau). Born on August 3rd, 1995, Gallen would be the first from the small town to make it to the majors.
After playing high school ball with Bishop Eustace Prepatory School, Gallen attended the University of North Carolina. In three seasons of Division I play, he went 14-13 with a 3.36 ERA and 231 K’s in 259 1/3 innings. In the 2016 MLB Amateur Entry Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals chose him in the third round.
Taken with the 106th overall selection, Gallen joins a fraternity that has placed 24 percent of its members in the major leagues, or 13-of-54. The group is led by Hall-of-Famer and former Florida Marlins outfielder Tim Raines (1977, Montreal Expos, 69.4 career WAR) and seven-time all-star Dave Stieb (1978, Toronto Blue Jays, 56.7 WAR).
After coming to terms with the Cardinals for $563,100, Gallen was assigned to the rookie-level GCL Cardinals, in the Florida-based Gulf Coast league. He struck out 15 in 9 2/3 innings over six games, allowing two earned runs. You can follow Gallen on Twitter @zacgallen23.
The 2017 season would start for Gallen, then ranked the number 24 Cardinals prospect, with the high-A Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida State League. In two months of play, he went 5-2 with a 1.62 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP, striking out 56 in 55 2/3 innings. Promoted to the double-A Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League, he whiffed 15 in 23 2/3 innings, and posted a 3.04 ERA and a .275 opposing batting average. Here’s an extended look at Gallen from early in 2018 with the Baby Cakes, courtesy of Baseball Census.
Despite his slight signs of struggle with more advanced opposition, Gallen was promoted to the triple-A level in late June to the Memphis Redbirds in the Pacific Coast League. Over three starts, he struck out 20 batters in 15 2/3 innings, going 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA. He then spent most of the remaining campaign back in Springfield.
On July 16th, in his first start back in double-A, Gallen pitched seven innings of near-perfect ball, striking out six and surrendering only one hit in a 6-0 Springfield win over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. He racked up a 4.15 ERA over his next 47 2/3 innings, and allowed a .314 OBP with only 27 K’s. Following the season, the Cardinals traded Gallen with Sandy Alcantara, Daniel Castano, and Magneuris Sierra to the Miami Marlins for Marcell Ozuna.
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Gallen had a rough debut for the Miami Marlins in 2018 Spring Training, allowing 18 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings for a 37.38 ERA. Those figures are untenable, to say the least, so Gallen was relegated to the PCL’s New Orleans Baby Cakes for the season.
"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. – MLB Pipeline"
Gallen, who started the season as Miami’s number 14 prospect according to the MLB Pipeline (see above), led the Baby Cakes rotation with 25 starts, and posted an 8-9 record with a 3.65 ERA. He struck out 9.2 batters per nine innings, with a club-best 136 in total and a 1.470 WHIP. On April 21st, Gallen struck out five over seven shutout four-hit innings in a 2-0 victory against the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Two starts later on May 3rd, he put up his best start of the year, striking out six over another seven inning of four-hit shutout pitching in a 1-0, 10-inning win over the Round Rock Express.
Gallen is one of many pieces in play who could end up in the Miami Marlins Opening Day rotation in 2019. He could make a case with a solid Spring Training showing. More likely than not, though, he’ll join the Baby Cakes for another season and make a late-season debut with the Miami Marlins.
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