D-backs’ Brent Strom calls Zac Gallen as good a pitcher he’s ever coached
No starting pitcher in the National League with at least four starts has an ERA as low as Arizona Diamondbacks righty Zac Gallen.
Gallen has surrendered three runs in five starts for an ERA of 0.95. Three of his outings were scoreless.
The 26-year-old has utilized a full arsenal with a mid-90s fastball, knuckle curveball, changeup, cutter and a slider. Gallen’s ability to put batters away with so many pitches is a differentiator in the eyes of pitching coach Brent Strom.
Strom has been a coach in MLB since 1996 and won a World Series in 2017 with the Houston Astros. He’s worked with multiple Cy Young award winners including Justin Verlander.
Yet, on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM last week, Strom said Gallen is, “as good a pitcher I’ve ever had.”
“Gallen is a special cat,” Strom said. “I would say there are guys I’ve had better curveballs, I’ve had guys that have had better fastballs, I’ve had guys who have had better changeups but I’ve never had anybody with all four that are that good. This guy is really good. It’s a dream to watch him pitch and prepare. He prepares like nobody else’s business in terms of preparation for a game.”
“I’ve never had anybody with all four [pitches] that are this good.”
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) May 8, 2022
Opponents are hitting .167 against Gallen’s fastball, which has climbed into the upper 90s this season.
Hitters aren’t just failing to find holes, either. Gallen has allowed the lowest hard-hit percentage in MLB among pitchers with more than two starts this season at 13.5%.
His walk rate is at a career-best 3.7%, so he isn’t giving opponents many chances to do any damage against him.
Gallen showed ace potential with a 2.89 ERA after the D-backs traded for him as a 23-year-old in 2019. He continued to prove himself during the shortened 60-game 2020 campaign, although, last year was a hiccup. Injuries held him to 23 starts in which he allowed more hard contact than in his previous two years.
“I think last year, his year was interrupted by a couple of injuries that were holding him back, but I’ve known that he’s been capable of something like this,” manager Torey Lovullo said after Gallen’s last start Sunday. “He’s on a good run. But it’s because of the hard work and everything he’s doing when nobody’s watching. And he’s executing.
“He’s gotten up his fastball, the secondary stuff, I’m sure, it’s tunneling very, very well. It’s deceptive and it’s powerful.”
Gallen will take the mound on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.
First pitch from Chase Field is at 5:10 p.m. Tune in on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.