Key Stats: Yovani Gallardo went from good to great last season. He always had the ability to strikeout one hitter per inning, but last season he demonstrated better control than ever before by posting a career best 2.6 BB/9. That was a full walk lower than the season before. As a result, Gallardo was able to throw more pitches, pitches under less stress (from the wind up as opposed to the stretch), and ultimately made 2 more starts and pitched 22.1 innings.
Skeptics Say: Prince Fielder and his five straight seasons of 30+ home runs are gone from Gallardo’s run support. That will make it hard for him to replicate the 17 wins he had last season. Also concerning were his numbers away from Miller Park. Gallardo’s ERA was more than a run worse on the road last year.
Peer Comparison: Josh Beckett is being ranked behind Gallardo anywhere that you look. That’s called an opportunity. Beckett finished last season ranked 47 spots ahead of Gallardo in Yahoo’s player rater. Beckett has been ranked in the top 75 three times since 2007 – Gallardo has never been ranked in the top 80. Gallardo is six years younger than Beckett, but that won’t be enough with everything else on Beckett’s resume to surpass him in the rankings in 2012.
Why is Beckett being so disrespected then? Fried chicken. To me, that’s all the more reason to believe in Beckett in 2012. Beckett has a humungous chip on his shoulder coming into this season and if he comes into camp looking thinner, he could be a top five starter this season. On the other hand, if he comes into camp looking heavier I take back everything I just said.
Team Outlook: There was a big gap between the Brewers ERA and xFIP last season. The fact that Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez are replacing Yuniesky Bettancourt and Fielder in the field should help the pitchers some in lowering the ERA. That is the main reason why Gallardo is being ranked this high after finishing last year as the 83rd overall ranked player and losing run support in Fielder and potentially one-third of Ryan Braun.
What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline: #15 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #17 Starting Pitcher & #67 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #14 Starting Pitcher & #71 Overall; RotoChamp: #87 Overall
Projection: The home run to fly ball rate was high for Gallardo last season. Just another reason to believe his ERA will continue to come downward.
15 wins 3.36 ERA 1.20 WHIP 207 K in 204 innings