Possibly 2019 ready rival prospects took the top spots in MLB.com’s last two position rankings. Pete Alonso was the top 1B and Keston Hiura was the top 2B prospect. Alonso’s pretty much going to make or break the Mets’ lineup. Without him their sources of RH power are the catchers, Keon Broxton, a backup corner, and Amed Rosario and their best overall hitter is 36. Hiura’s going to have to pick some slack too, probably/hopefully, since that lineup has alot of potential to go backwards.
The dude I cannot wait to see on this farm is Richard Gallardo. There’s nothing more valuable or coveted in this sport than the guy with legitimate top of the rotation potential and they’re often spotted early, usually about 16/“junior year” in HS, as amateurs. Obviously it’s a pool with lots of misses, particularly since this horsefeathers has been and probably still is more art than science, but it’s also where you find a Greinke, Cole, or Fernandez. Gallardo seems to have many qualities scouts and observers really look for from the highest level guys with a mix of projection, polish, power, pitchability, natual deception, command, and movement. Probably what has me most interested is the consistently reported dominance of his four seam against his peers. Intuitively the best of the best master the four seam, it’s the most natural or instinctual grip and the most basic instincts for throwing will be towards speed and accuracy rather than sink or curve or touch. Some of the stuff that has me hyped is usijg that four seam in a more north/south approach:
Gallardo (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) sat at 89-93 mph, advanced velocity for a 16-year-old with the projection to throw harder. He threw frequent strikes and elevated up and above the zone successfully to generate swing-and-miss. Gallardo also mixed in a 70-75 mph curveball that flashed above-average with good rotation.
He’s really loose, flexible, and athletic, and has some physical projection. He sits 89-93 right now and it plays at the top of the strike zone. He’ll likely throw harder as he matures. Gallardo also has a proclivity for spin and his curveball already flashes plus. He checks all the traditional boxes for a teenage pitching prospect, has advanced pitchability, and his stuff works in a specific way (four-seamers up, curveballs down) that fits with contemporary pitch usage. Teenage pitching is risky, but every aspect of Gallardo’s profile is indicative of improvement.
Louis Elijaua (Cubs’ director of international scouting):
He's very polished for his age. He has a three-pitch mix that he commands very well -- fastball, curveball, change. The fastball is up to 94 [mph] and he sits 90, 92. That's really good for a 16-year old. We feel there's more in the tank. He could end up settling in and have a mid-90s fastball and very good movement."
"There's something in his delivery and hitters don't get good swings on any of his pitches, which is obviously a good attribute to have," Eljaua said. "He's one of those guys who has three pitches, but we've seen from him 70 percent fastballs in his outings. He doesn't need to use the other stuff at this point, and he picks and chooses when he throws the other stuff. He's very headsy, very advanced, knows how to set up hitters -- at least hitters his age."
I consider the fastball up/offspeed down approach
less a comtemporary one and more timeless. From Walter Johnson to Max Scherzer, being able to consistently beat hitters up in the zone with the four seam has been a staple of dominant inning eaters.
When it’s all said and done I think Gallardo can measure out to what is still considered the prototype SP - a loose and athletic 6’3” 225 capable of sitting in the mid-90’s with two above average or better offspeeds (curve and changeup).
Of course the Cubs have kinda sucked at developing power arms so far (even though early on the FO stated power pitching was a goal) and he’s a pitcher...No, I don’t think he’s an Albertos redux as they’re two different body types and even styles of pitching, plus he’s a much higher profile amateur...Also getting excited about this farm was way more fun when it seemed like they were going to grab Harper+ this offseason