Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Armando Galarraga, Former Nationals Prospect

Former Nationals prospect Armando Galarraga is back in the news, and inevitably you'll be hearing about how he was a "throw-in" in the Alfonso Soriano trade, how no one ever thought he would be any good, how you can't blame the Nationals for losing out on a good young arm, etc.

So it seems like now's a good time to remind people that Galarraga was in fact a pretty highly regarded prospect and a key piece of that trade. No, I didn't expect him to throw a perfect game, and yes he was bad last year and didn't even make the Tigers rotation out of spring training. But it's wrong to say Galarraga was not a "real" prospect.

Here's the Baseball America write-up on him from the 2006 Prospect Handbook, in which Galarraga was ranked #5, right behind Ian Desmond:

Background: Because of 2002 Tommy John surgery, Galarraga pitched just 54 innings in his first three seasons in the United States. He stayed healthier once he began to take baseball more seriously in 2004, and he had his best year yet in 2005, earning a berth in the Futures Game and a promotion to Double-A.

Strengths: Galarraga has a lively 92-94 mph sinker and a hard, sharp slider that he can throw for strikes and use as an out pitch. He has a strong, athletic frame and attacks hitters from a three-quarters arm slot. He’s very competitive and shows a mean streak.

Weaknesses: For Galarraga to stick as a starter, he needs to complement his two plus offerings with a third pitch. He must continue to develop his changeup, which shows some promise. He doesn’t walk many batters but sometimes misses his spots inside the zone.

The Future: Galarraga can be a No. 3 starter if his changeup emerges. If that doesn’t work out, he could be a powerful bullpen arm. He figures to start 2006 back at Harrisburg but could earn a big league promotion late in 2006.


Harper said...

Oh no. It's the return of the rare ugly side of FJB.

The argument is over this point : Is it worth trading the arguably third best arm in a weak farm system (behind Desmond yes - also behind Clint Everts and just ahead of Kory Casto) if your team is years away from success? You say no. Others say yes.

That time you would have been right. I'm sure we can find counter examples just as easily.

Steven said...

No, I just get annoyed when people say that trade was Soriano for Wilkerson, or that Galarraga was a toss in or that no one ever could have known that Galarraga wouldn't be a nothing.

Harper said...

I think the first part is valid - he was more than a throw in. I wouldn't say "key" but necessary. It would have been him, or Everts or Hinkley or some young decent arm.

I do think the odds against Galarraga being "something" though were high enough that it wasn't a bad bet to make. It looked like a damn perfect bet for 3 years. Let's face it - every team has 5 arms that project to a #3...

Positively Half St. said...

Guys, what's the big deal? It's not like he's thrown a perfect game or anything.

Eric said...

I have no problem with trading Galarraga in that specific deal, in fact over all I would say without the J-Zimm injury we were way ahead on that deal.

However, when you make yourself a trader of those mid-minor pitchers instead of buyers (like getting Martis for instance) you will have "throw-ins" turn out to be stars.

In General a good GM stockpiles those players rather than sells them, so while I don't have a specific problem with that 1 trade, this is indicative of the philosophy that made JimBow the bad radio commenter instead of even worse GM.