2019 MLB Season: Six Relievers to Believe in

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - AUGUST 03: Nick Anderson #70 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches to the Miami Marlins during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on August 03, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - AUGUST 03: Nick Anderson #70 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches to the Miami Marlins during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on August 03, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

2019 MLB Season: Six Relievers to Believe in

Giovanny Gallegos, St. Louis Cardinals

Giovanny Gallegos is the reason Cardinals executives don’t cry themselves to sleep at night. As Luke Voit has blasted his way into the national conversation, the Cardinals have been relegated to the role of the swindled party for their part in Voit’s trade to the Yankees.

That Voit has performed as well as Paul Goldschmidt during the 2019 MLB season surely smarts, but at the end of the day, the Redbirds have a stellar first baseman on their roster today. They also have a flame-throwing righty to bridge the middle innings to Carlos Martinez, and they wouldn’t have that guy if they didn’t trad Voit away.

No, Giovanny Gallegos is not, likely, as valuable as Voit in the long-term. Voit has to stay healthy, however, and that’s no small thing for the big first baseman.

This season, Gallegos has been just about as valuable to Voit (1.6 fWAR to 1.5 fWAR). Especially since Jordan Hicks went down, Gallegos has taken on a larger share of the responsibility in the Cardinals pen, and if he keeps it up that role will grow.

In 46 games, he’s totaled 55 innings, a clear demonstration of his ability to throw multiple innings at a time, which these days can make the difference between a good and a great reliever. His 1.96 ERA/2.41 FIP plays in whatever role you ask of him.

Gallegos’ stuff will play no matter how the Cardinals want to use him. A future bullpen with a healthy Hicks and a settled-in Gallegos will look pretty terrifying to the rest of the NL Central. 12.44 K/9 to 1.80 BB/9 demonstrates Gallegos’ ability to miss bats while filling up the strike zone with both his heater and his slider.

He’s a two-pitch guy for now, but so long as he masters a snarl or windup affectation, that’s all he needs at the back end of a bullpen. His 37.3 K% is an elite number, as are these numbers: .183 expected batting average against, .207 wOBA. He followed up a 0.61 ERA in June with a 0.69 ERA in July. In August he has yet to allow an earned run. He’s good and he’s getting better.

The Cardinals mostly deploy Gallegos in the 7th or 8th, but don’t be surprised to hear his name called during the highest-leverage moments as the Cardinals hunt for a playoff spot.