Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #25 Cam Gallagher

25. Cam Gallagher Catcher


Age: 21
Height: 6'3" 
Weight: 210
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft 

2013 Rank: 16

2012 Rank: 13

Landon Adams @Landon_Adams (25): Entering 2013, Gallagher was my breakout prospect pick in the Royal Revival preseason poll. If you asked me why I made Lancaster, Pennsylvania product my selection I would have pointed to his impressive approach at the plate, his glove skills, and his rumored power potential. A year later, I am still confident that Gallagher possesses those abilities despite his lackluster results in Lexington.

Full season ball can be a tough adjustment for any player, this is often especially true from players from colder climates. Not to make excuses for Gallagher, because he is from Pennsylvania, not Antarctica, but he hasn't played in the same volume of games as players from southern states. There is another caveat to Gallagher's 2013 results. He had the worst batting average on balls in play of all prospects listed in the 2014 Baseball America Handbook. 

Of course, a low babip doesn't necessarily mean hard luck for a player. It is always important to note that babip is in large part a reflection of how hard a player hit the baseball. In the case of Gallagher, his line drive percentage 14.6% was 2.3% lower than the South Atlantic League average. This ranked 34th among South Atlantic League players with at least 200 plate appearances. For a guy whose speed isn't winning any hits, a low line drive percentage is going to result in a low babip. It is easy to chalk up Gallagher's season to bad luck, but it should also be noted that he needs to start squaring up the ball more frequently before his babip can approach average levels.

Paden Bennett @PadenBennett22 (19): The 2nd round pick in 2011 hasn't really figured it out yet in his minor league career, but I have a feeling this year will be a year of Cam Gallagher turning the corner.  One of the main reasons he has struggled to find a rhythm is because of the plethora of injuries he has endured so far in his early career.  For some reason, I'm thinking those injuries will be put behind him this season and he will make strides in his development.  Gallagher has always had a good knack for talking walks and limiting his strikeouts; as shown by his 24BB:28SO last season in 222 at bats.  Like I said, I think this year Gallagher begins to make strides and stays injury free.

Joe Cox (23): Gallagher, a 2011 2nd round pick for the Royals, has struggled to get his professional career moving due in large parts to injuries that have plagued him throughout his career.  In 2013, Gallagher moved out of rookie leagues and up to the South Atlantic League, where he compiled 256 at bats.  He did not do much with these AB’s, as he hit only .212 with a .608 OPS, which may have been hurt a little by a low .231 BABIP, but his career thus far has shown (small sample size) that a low BABIP may be a part of his profile.Gallagher does impress with 24BB:28SO in 2013, which is a nice skill to have for a catcher.  

Gallagher threw out only 29% of base runners and needs to continue to learn the position, though there is no concern that he needs to be moved off of catcher, which is good because his bat is not good enough to play anywhere else.  I still see Gallagher as a guy who could reach the majors around 2016, but he will need to keep improving as he moves up the system and stay on the field, two things that are hard to project thus far. 

Dan Ware @Daniel_L_Ware (NR): 2013 was a disappointing season at the plate for Cam.  His slash line dipped dramatically, as he hit just above the Mendoza Line.  A line of .212/.302/.306 in 256 plate appearances with just 2 HR and 18 RBI doesn't look too appealing to most folks.  On the bright side, he has solid plate discipline, striking out just 10.9% of the time, well below the South Atlantic League average of 21.5%, while possessing a BB rate of 9.4%. Gallagher is also known for his defensive ability behind the plate, for which some scouts thought wouldn't last long.  Throwing out 29% of base runners last year and 26% in 2012, Cam has a strong arm and has shown promise for calling the game.  I see the 21 year old catcher to start 2014 in Lexington for a second straight season.  His numbers at the plate need a boost for him to move through the organization.  If he can do that, he has the makeup to be a Major League catcher.

Nicholas Ian Allen @NicholasIAllen (—): Cam Gallagher is a strong, young catching prospect that has really struggled in his professional career. Injuries have been a major concern, and were a big part of Gallagher’s 2013 season, his first year in a full-season league as a 20-year-old.

Gallagher played in just 66 games last season, catching 57. He started hitting .268/.300/.375 in April,  but missed six weeks with a hand injury that sidelined him until mid-June.  Upon his return, Gallagher had a rough time at the plate, hitting just .191/.269/.404 in June and 169/.291/.197 in July. His season ended in late August with a broken arm.

There were a handful of odd numbers for Gallagher in 2013: He hit righties (218/.318/.333) better than lefties (193/.254/.228). He hit far better in road games than at home (.261/.318/.333 to .159/.270/.215). He was better in day games than at night (.250/.348/.450 to .203/.292/.275) and he hit far above average in 15 games in the clean-up spot (.283/.316/.396) than elsewhere in the lineup (.189/.283/.278). Of course, those numbers are relatively small samples and may not mean much of anything other than Cam Gallagher had a rough 2013 season. 

While Gallagher has yet to figure things out as a hitter, he is a solid catching prospect. He has a strong arm and his receiving and handling are improving. In 2012, Gallagher threw out 26% of attempted base stealers and improved to 29% in 2013. At 6’3” and 210 pounds, his body size is ideal and should hold up to the stress of the position (of course we have not seen that to date). Some early indications mentioned Gallagher could profile to a first baseman or corner outfielder because of his power potential, but he certainly has not hit well enough for that yet. 

If he can stay healthy, Cam Gallager has the potential to become a big league catcher. That seems to be the key word with Gallagher to date: “potential.” With the Royals farm system thin behind the plate, and as a 2nd Round Pick, he will get every opportunity to succeed. Look for Gallagher to recover from injury and put together a solid season as a 21-year old in Lexington and Wilmington.

Total Points: 26

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