One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: Giovanny Gallegos
Season stats: 3-6, 14 SV, 20 SVO, 3.05 ERA, 57 G, 59 IP, 42 H, 6 HR, 18 BB, 73 K, 11 IR, 5 IRS, 2.88 FIP, 1.017 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, 0.6 bWAR, 1.3 fWAR
Statcast: .267 xwOBA, 9.0 barrel %, 89.8 exit velocity, 35.4 hard hit %, 31.1 K %, 7.7 BB %
Best Statcast category: Whiff % (94th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Extension (8th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 10
Positives: Was not charged with a run in all but 13 outings….had a 7.1 scoreless inning streak snapped in his last outing….righties hit .175 with a .495 OPS against him….was better away from Busch, with a 1.37 ERA and a .507 OPS against….was stellar in the second half, putting up a 1.96 ERA and limited batters to a .139 average….had a 0.93 ERA in August….leadoff men had a .305 OPS against him….batters had a .185 average if they took the first pitch….even when batters were ahead in the count, they hit .170….batters had a .693 OPS leading off an inning….they had a .495 OPS when there was one out in an inning….limited hitters to a .514 OPS when no one was on base….batters hit .193 in late and close situations….allowed a .580 OPS on his first 25 pitches….the Cubs hit .238 against him….had a 1.23 ERA against the Brewers….was in the top 9% of the league in strikeout percentage and in the top 8% for expected batting average….batters hit .183 against his slider.
Negatives: Gave up more than two runs seven times….ended the regular season on a down note, walking three batters in the ninth and taking the loss when JoJo Romero forced in one of them….four of the six homers against him came from lefties….had a 4.41 ERA at home….had a 6.43 ERA in the opening month of the season….had a 22.50 ERA in his losses….two of his homers allowed came to men batting ninth….allowed an .842 OPS with runners in scoring position….had an .853 OPS against after 25 pitches….pitched 11 innings on no rest and had a 6.55 ERA.
Overview: Gallegos had a very successful season but it always seems like just when you thought he was automatic, he’d go through a spell where he allowed runs and get you worried again. I guess that’s the fate of all relievers to a certain extent but it felt more pronounced with Gallegos. It was mainly the stretch right before the All-Star Break that stoked concerns, as he allowed runs in four straight outings to the tune of an 11.25 ERA before having a scoreless frame with three strikeouts the Saturday before the break (with the bloggers in attendance). After the break, though, he came out with five straight scoreless outings and after a hiccup against the Brewers rattled off eight more. When Ryan Helsley wasn’t available, you could feel pretty confident if Gallegos was able to take the ninth.
Outlook: That said, Gallegos worries me going forward. First off, he’s one of the game’s slowest pitchers, which means he’ll have to make some significant changes for next year with the pitch clock coming to the big leagues. Second, next year will be his fifth with the Cardinals and relievers tend to have a shelf life. In fairness, he’s been pretty consistent and there’s no obvious decline markers, so that’s pretty much just me being a nervous kind of guy. The last is the fact that John Mozeliak gave him a two year contract extension and Mozeliak’s contract extensions to relievers have often come a cropper. Jordan Waldon, Jason Motte, T.J. McFarland, to name a few. Injuries or ineffectiveness has been the general rule. Hopefully Gallegos will be the exception that proves the rule.