- July 3, 2020: The Cardinals have one player who is delayed in getting to St. Louis. Reliever Giovanny Gallegos has not left his home in Mexico yet, and the Cardinals are unsure of when he will be able to travel to St. Louis.
|Birth City:||Obregon, Mexico|
|Draft:||2011 - Yankees - Free agent - Out of Mexico|
As a kid, Gallegos would save up money to attend games at the nearby home of the Yaquis de Obregone, one of 10 teams in the Mexican Pacific League.
Giovanny found himself captivated with a young pitcher named Joakim Soria, who later graduated to the Majors.
In 2011, Gallegos signed with the Yankees (see Transactions below).
- December 2016: Gallegos committed to play for Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
In 2017, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Gallegos the 25th-best prospect in the Yankees organization. And he was at #29 in the Cardinals organization in the spring of 2019, after being traded from the Yankees for Luke Voit.
Giovanny has known since the summer 2018 where the Cardinals would be the weekend of April 13, 2019. What he didn’t know then was that he’d be in Mexico, too.
Gallegos, the only Mexican-born player on the Cardinals’ active roster, was among the earliest cuts in Major League Spring Training 2019, which made it seemingly unlikely that he’d be one of the first summoned to help the big league team. But that was the case, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
He contributed to the Cardinals’ four-game sweep of the Dodgers on the April 11, 2019, then accompanied the club on its first-ever trip to Mexico. And on April 14, a couple of hours after standing for his own national anthem, Gallegos was summoned in from the ‘pen.
“Obviously I’m really happy, super proud to be here as a Mexican player playing in my homeland,” Gallegos said after facing two batters in the Cardinals’ 9-5 victory over the Reds. “On the personal level, I obviously didn’t want to give up that home run. But I’m really happy for the team win. That’s all that matters.”
That home run was blasted by another fan favorite, Yasiel Puig, on the first pitch Gallegos threw in the eighth. Gallegos rebounded to strike out Eugenio Suarez before manager Mike Shildt replaced him with lefty Andrew Miller.
With the appearance, Gallegos joined Fernando Valenzuela as the only Mexican-born pitchers to appear in a Major League game in Mexico. Valenzuela’s appearance came 23 years ago, just days after Gallegos’ fifth birthday. “That’s a special moment—to perform in front of your country like that,” Shildt said. “It was fun to let him walk off and enjoy the ovation.”
Making it particularly special was having his father, mother and sister make the trip to Monterrey from their hometown of Obregon, Mexico. Gallegos spent the weekend with them and presented his father, Humberto, with the ball from his first Major League win, which Gallegos had earned on the 11th. “There was crying,” Gallegos said of that moment. (Langosch - mlb.com - 4/14/19)
- January 2011: Gallegos signed with the Yankees, out of Mexico, for a bonus of $100,000, via scout Lee Stigman.
- July 28, 2018: The Yankees traded LHP Chasen Shreve and RHP Giovanny Gallegos to the Cardinals for 1B Luke Voit and Future Considerations.
Gallegos has a 93-96 mph FASTBALL that comes out of his hand so easily that it gets a lot of deception. His best strikeout pitch is his 83-85 mph power CURVEBALL that sometimes looks like a SLIDER, because he manipulates the shape and spin of the pitch. It is a knee-bender, and he commands it well. He also has a decent 86-89 mph CHANGEUP. (Spring 2019)
Gallegos' best pitch is the heater that plays plus with excellent downhill angle and tailing action. He couples the heater with his plus Slider and a below-average changeup as his third pitch, that he mixes in against lefties. (Spring 2018)
Giovanny can pitch. He has a lot of late life and command. He is going to pitch in the big leagues for sure, somebody who can give you a couple innings in the middle of the game. (Spring, 2017)
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 59.3% of the time, his Change 5%; and Slider 35.7% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 94.6 mph, Change 87.2, and Slider 85.4 mph.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 55.7% of the time, his Change less than 1%; and Slider 43.7% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93.9 mph, Change 87.5, and Slider 85.5 mph.
Giovanny throws strikes and usually stays ahead in the count. He pounds the strike zone . but sometimes too much as leave pitches over the plate that get hit. (Spring 2019)
Spring 2014: His numbers n 2013 were okay, but his stuff was up and down for a good portion of the season. It was to be expected considering 2013 was really his first full season since signing back in 2010.
"It felt good when I came, but there was a tweak in my shoulder that was bothersome," Gallegos said through the help of a translator.
"I trust in myself and I feel comfortable. It was hard for me to come back from the shoulder (injury); it was really tough. But I kept working and thankfully everything is going well. I just don't want to go through that again," said Giovanny.
2019: Gallegos doesn't have elite velocity, 93.8 mph on average, and he only really throws two pitches: a four-seamer and a slider. He gets solid rise on the four-seamer—two inches more than average at his velocity and release—and the slider is one of the game's better swing-and-miss pitches, since the 62.1% of the time hitters miss when they offer at it is third-best.
Following a breakthrough playing winter ball in Mexico, he began pitching exclusively in relief.
"I never felt comfortable as a starter," Gallegos said. "When I moved to the bullpen, I felt more comfortable. I had a better mindset."
Giovanny shows up early and prepares with an intentional, calculated routine. Then he performs, as Cards' pitching coach Mike Maddux describes, "without a heartbeat."
Gallegos goes after hitters with two weapons; a fastball and slider. He discarded the rest of his repertoire once he made the move to the bullpen, and the key to making the two-pitch approach work is releasing both from the some exact slot. What happens next can seem unfair:
"One stays up" Maddux explains, and "the other drops in the zone." (Jennifer Langosch - Cardinals Magazine - Sept., 2019)
2019 Season: Of all the pitchers who threw at least 30 innings, the Cardinals’ reliever Giovanny Gallegos (0.81) tied for first with Brewers’ reliever Josh Hader … on MLB.com. And ESPN.com. And FanGraphs.com.
- As of the start of the 2020 season, Gallegos's career record was: 3-3 with a 2.98 ERA, having allowed 14 home runs and 76 hits in 105 innings.
2011: Gallegos missed the entire season, and part of 2012, because of a knee injury and subsequent surgery.
2013: Another nagging injury cost him in the early part of the season.
May 27-June 6, 2014: Giovanny was on the D.L.
May 13-23, 2015: Gallegos was on the D.L.
- April 5-May 10, 2018: Giovaanny was on the DL.