Outlook Update – Richard Gallardo's missing post from last winter calls into question what his future role will be

Richard Gallardo – Photo by Todd Johnson

Editor's note – This article was supposed to appear about 3 different times over the past year. It was originally supposed to be released in May last year, then again at some point last fall and finally in Series 5 in January. Now that Gallardo is on the 60-day IL, his future status for 2024 and beyond is a bit murky, as is his future role as starting pitcher.

In May 2023, I was excited to see Richard Gallardo pitch in Beloit. At that point in the season, he was throwing very well. He had pitched 34.1 innings in seven starts with a 2.83 ERA. He had struck out only 28, but his opponents were hitting just .205 against him. I was really interested to see how Gallardo would fare against one of the best teams in the division at this time of year.

Gallardo signed as an international free agent in the summer of 2018. At the time, he was considered the best pitcher in that international free agent class. He didn't start playing until 2019, where he started the year in Arizona, rather than the Dominican Republic. He posted a 4.15 ERA. Opponents hit .256 against him. He struck out 23 in 30.1 innings and earned a late-season lead against Eugene for two games with a 2.25 ERA in just four innings.

After the pandemic, Gallardo reappeared in Myrtle Beach. He spent his entire 19-year-old season in the Carolina League. He logged 91.9 innings with a 4.57 ERA. He struck out 75 and walked 32, but his opponents struck out .257. He seemed to have times where he could throw well and then get bombed out. He really had two different halves. In the first half, his ERA was above 5.00 and then below 4.00 in the second half.

So, yes, there were improvements, but it wasn't enough to get him to South Bend when baseball resumes in 2022. Then again, Gallardo would only be 20 years old for the entire 2022 season. He had some of the weirdest splits I've ever seen. He started 2022 in Myrtle Beach with a 2.53 in April. This figure increased to 3.33 in May and to 4.22 in June. In July, it was after 6 o'clock that month when he was sent to help South Bend.

During his time in Myrtle Beach in 2022, he had a 4.05 ERA. His ERA for South Bend was 3.73, which wasn't too bad. He made one start for Tennessee in the final week of the season and it didn't go very well. It was no surprise to see him back in South Bend to start 2023.

The first thing I noticed at Quad Cities on opening weekend of 2023 was that he was in much better physical condition and you could tell he had taken care of himself over the winter.

I finally got the chance to see him throw against the Sky Carp.

At that time, Beloit was at the top of the division. I wanted to focus on three things that evening. First, how much movement he was making on his pitches, especially his fastball. I also wanted to see how many different pitches he threw. I wasn't really concerned about speed, but more about movement and location. Those last two things probably mean more at Double-A than at this level.

But I digress…

Well, he got torn apart that night. When he faced the Sky Carp again in May, they tore him apart again. However, Gallardo seemed to thrive against certain teams. He dominated Peoria for a total of 11 innings. Ditto for the Quad Cities. He pitched well twice against Dayton and even performed well against eventual champion Cedar Rapids.

And that's the problem for me, I never know which Gallardo was going to show up. And he was still only 21 years old.

Gallardo was strangely pushed to Tennessee in late June of last year as his replacement and struggled mightily in 3 games with an 8.38 ERA. His season ended on July 14 after a serious ankle injury.

As 2024 approached, the innings eater Gallardo was going to have to step up. An 8+ ERA wouldn't get him to Iowa from Tennessee. He would have to dominate.

Editor's Note 2 – Gallardo has been competing in the 60 Day IL in Tennessee since May 8. He appeared in 4 games for the Smokies and had a 6.06 ERA. The apparent injury could explain this absent ERA. As usual, most MiLB teams are pretty tight-lipped about injuries and what Gallardo's injury entails is being kept a national secret.

There have been no posts or photos about the surgery on her Instagram or other accounts. Whether he returns this year or next remains a mystery. As for what role he will play when he returns, that is also a mystery. He is only 22 years old and will only turn 23 in September this year. It is still too early to abandon it. Worrying about your future would be a natural reflection.

We will see what role he will have in the future when and where he returns.

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