Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 1/18/13
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I’m constantly torn on whether I like Yovani Gallardo. In 2011 it looked like he’d finally turned a corner, lowering his walk rate to just 2.56 BB/9, putting up a respectable 1.22 WHIP, and lasting more than 185 innings for the first time in his career. And then 2012 came and Gallardo reverted to the pitcher he’d been for the majority of his career, a high strikeout starter with only moderate control who could deliver a solid ERA but at the expense of his WHIP. That doesn’t mean there aren’t positives to be taken from Gallardo’s 2012 season. He did drop his fly ball rate to a career-best 31.5%, something that will certainly help him going forward in one of the 10 worst pitcher’s parks in the majors, but overall the season was a step back. He lost almost a full mile-per-hour off his fastball, found the strike zone just 39.3% of the time (a career-worst), induced swinging strikes just 7.8% of the time (worst since 2008), and allowed contact on 79.8% of batters’ swings (also worst since 2008). This year will be Gallardo’s fifth full season (I know, it feels like it’s been a lot longer), and if he can’t correct some of those trends he’s going to forever be regarded a so-so fantasy option. If he can get back to what he did in 2011, people on the fence like myself might just give him the benefit of the doubt. At a Glance Strengths: W, IP, QS, K, K/9 Neutral: ERA, WHIP, L, BB Weaknesses: none Player Comparisons Best-case scenario: James Shields (TB) Likely scenario: Matt Moore (TB), Ian Kennedy (ARI), Jon Lester (BOS) Worst-case scenario: Jeff Samardzija (CHC) Yovani Gallardo 2013 Fantasy Projection It might seem contradictory to openly bash Gallardo in the intro and then list his weaknesses as “none.” I’m only so tough on him because I see so much potential. He has what it takes to be a 2o0-inning, 200-strikeout monster with a 3.20-3.40 ERA and a mid-1.20s WHIP. In fact, he almost did that in 2011, just missing that best-case season with his 3.52 ERA that year. Gallardo could be a top-50 player overall, and he’s definitely good enough to turn in a top-75 season in any given year, but it seems like he’s a top-125 or top-150 player at this point. He’s topped 200 innings in each of the last two seasons, so you can draft him knowing the strikeouts will be elite and he’ll be at least average in ERA, but his average-to-below average WHIP counteracts any positives his ERA might bring, and that just leaves us with an average fantasy pitcher who can really bring the Ks. Tweet
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