The belief around the baseball industry was the Arizona Diamondbacks were going to be sellers at the trade deadline. Pitchers Robbie Ray, Zack Greinke, Andrew Chafin, and Archie Bradley have been bandied about in rumors, although as of right now all four players are in a Dbacks uniform. Instead, the opposite has happened and the Dbacks are adding instead of subtracting to the MLB roster.
In a surprise trade, the Diamondbacks have acquired RHP Zac Gallen from the Miami Marlins. Gallen was originally a 3rd round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2016 draft, but was traded in the ill-fated Marcell Ozuna deal two offseasons ago. Gallen has since developed into a starting pitcher prospect (#5 overall in the Marlins system) that had recently been promoted to the Marlins rotation and has made 7 starts for them already. He features a fastball, cutter, curveball, and a change-up with both Fangraphs and MLB Pipeline projecting all four pitches to be average or better.
His numbers in those 7 starts: 36 1⁄3 IP, 2.72 ERA/3.58 FIP/4.46 xFIP (65/83/101 when park adjusted on a minus scale), 3 HR, 43 K, 18 BB, 31.8% GB rate
His AAA numbers are almost equally as insane. (Source Fangraphs)
The cost was still pretty high for the Diamondbacks, as they sent the industry consensus #1 prospect in the system (I had him 8th) in Jazz Chisholm to the Marlins in the deal. Chisholm is well-regarded for his loud toolset in both power, speed, and glove but had been dealing with a strikeout problem at the AA level and inconsistently quality of contact overall. Jack’s observations from the Fall League suggested Chisholm had some difficulty adjusting to offspeed pitches from some of the top pitching prospects and that he murdered everyone’s fastball. Perhaps the front office felt that hole was too exploitable at the MLB level and figured Gallen with a similar amount of control was the better player. It’s difficult to move on from a player with that level of toolset, because Chisholm had All-Star potential if he make more consistent contact moving forward and capable of playing a glove-first position like shortstop.
The move fortifies a starting rotation not only today, but in the long term. Gallen replaces Young or Clarke in the rotation, with whoever getting bumped getting optioned to Reno. Gallen comes with 6 more years of team control after the season as well, so the Dbacks are getting the full level of control here for a promising SP prospect that can contribute now.
Here’s a bit of a sample of what he provides at the table, courtesy of everyone’s favorite Twitter pitcher analyst:
Zac Gallen, 95mph Fastball (foul) and 87mph Changeup (swinging K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/hWEfwXZygU— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2019
So for those who were hoping the Dbacks would buy or make a major move at the deadline, congratulations you got your wish as this move makes the Dbacks a more potent contender today and in the future.