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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scouting Report Armando Galarraga

Armando Galarraga
29 years old
5th major league season (81 starts)
6'4" 180 pounds (Acosta-esqe weight)
Bats R/Throws R

Everyone knows Galarraga's name and he will forever be linked to Jim Joyce and what is now universally known as the "imperfect game." What most people don't know is his background and if he's going to be remember for anything else in his career (my opinion: NO). The 29-year old was signed as an international free agent by the Expos when he was 16, and was traded to the Rangers in 2005 in the deal for Alfonso Soriano. He was then traded to the Tigers in 2008 for a minor leaguer (Michael Hernandez). Everyone loved his slider, and he used it often, but had numerous injury problems (Tommy John and recurrent elbow pain since), and he also lacked a development of a 3rd pitch to get lefties out consistently. In 2008 for the Tigers, his first full year in the majors (debuted in 2007) he was 13-7, with a 3.73 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, finishing 4th in ROY voting and the Tigers thought they had a future rotation fixture. He was getting by laregly based on luck, as his advanced metrics predicted his impending doom. He had a below league average K/9, and had an unsustainable BAPIP of .247 and a high LOB % rate. His FIP for 2008 was 4.88. Well last year his stats did correct, and he went 6-10 with a 5.64 ERA and 1.56 WHIP (largely due to normal regression of BAPIP to .302). Righties have a tough time with his fastball/slider, as they have only hit .235/.292/.397 versus him in his career. Lefties are a different story; .272/.354/.499. As we will see below, he doesn't have an out-pitch/anything he can get lefties to swing and miss consistently.

He has a clean motion, where he stays tall and throws from a 3/4 arm slot. He throws a 91 mph sinking fastball to both sides of the plate (56% of his pitches), and his plus slider that is very tough on righties (86 mph). As mentioned previously, he relied heavily on his slider and threw it > 38% of the time in 2008 and 2009, but this year that's increased to 41%.  He throws his change-up only a few times a game (3% down from 12%) and he tends to telegraph it, slowing both his arm and his body down. His slider has been his best pitch this year/and in his career, and when he gets to 2 strikes, he throws his slider > 50% of the time.  He has been getting a lot more swings and misses switching over to the National League this year, which is close to 11% (league average 8.5%).

During his 'imperfect game', he did a great job of throwing his fastball inside to righties and then got them to chase his slider low and away. Versus lefties he did a great job locating his fastball on the outer half of the plate; but he only got one swing and a miss from a lefty during that game.

This year, he's 3-0 in his 3 starts, with a 6.00 ERA, and 1.33 WHIP. He has benefit from the Diamondbacks scoring 5+ runs in each of his starts, and he's needed it, because he's allowed 6 home runs in his starts, and at least 3 runs in each start. He has seen an uptike in his K/9 rate (7.0, career is 5.75).

He faced the Mets once last year and got the win, going 6 innings and allowing 4 runs on 5 hits, 3 walks, and only 1 strikeout. Looking at his stats and his pitches, he seems destined to the bullpen as a righty-specialist. The Mets should definitely start Murphy and Thole today to load up on the lefties versus Galarraga today.

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