Since this is the mid-season write-up, it's just a quick overview of the player. When we get to the preseason re ranking in the offseason, they'll be a lot more involved.
All stats are current as of 8/4/2019.
All write-ups were published during all-star week.
Prospect #29: RHP Alex FaGalde
Drafted in the 30th round of the 2017 draft
Look at this smirkin' S.O.B!! I LOVE IT!
I don't know, fam. Sometimes things just don't make sense. Look, I love that a 30th round selection has made a name for himself. I love that his breaking pitch is really good, and that it's even better when he's getting away with throwing his fastball up in the zone. I love that, at the older age of 25 as compared to other prospects, FaGalde appears to have a real chance to make a run at the majors.
However, even with his statistical success at the AA level, I find myself waiting for the other shoe or foot or whatever to drop. FaGalde has really solid command of his pitches, and that's the only thing that's stopped his low-90's and flat-ish fastball from being a constant home run pitch. There isn't a statistically successful starter at the higher levels of the minors that gets his fastball hit as hard as FaGalde does. However, his command of that pitch on the black, as well as his general command of an above average breaking pitch and average change, have afforded him the opportunity for success.
Truth be told, watching Alex FaGalde pitch is a lot like watching early 2018 Adam Wainwright pitch. His breaking pitch isn't as good as Waino's curve is obviously, but it's a lot of waiting for the fastball to get rocked while hoping for the best.
The other thing about FaGalde is, he's a bigger guy, stout-wise. I gotta believe that there's more velocity in there somewhere. A small velo bump would do him well. Either that, or he's going to need to incorporate additional arm-side run into his sinker. You'll see his entire repertoire on display in this gif. This is when his sinker is at it's most lively. If he can continue to show it this way, he'll be fine. However, he isn't displaying this type of liveliness in 2019.
Now that I've spent more time than I should have being overly-critical of a successful minor league pitcher, it's even more important that I highlight that Fagalde's command is good enough to take him to the AAA level, at least. His breaking pitch is really good, as well. When he's waiting to mix in his changeup until later in a start, he's really successful, too. With a little refining, I view Fagalde as a potential bullpen piece in the future. Besides, maybe a bullpen role would help him access some of that velocity that I believe is still in the tank. He throws exclusively out of the stretch, so he might as well just slide right into a pen role.
Either way, Fagalde is yet another late round draft pick that appears to be close to a major league debut. I'd bet that few 30th round picks in the last, oh, say, 20 years have carried an ERA of 0.71 through their first four starts or 25.1 innings of AA level baseball. It might sound crazy to the average person, but that's draft success. I'm really pulling for Fagalde. The Cardinals need a pitcher like him to break through. FanGraphs is the hero that we both need and deserve, and their stats fuel these articles. Subscribe to their service, if you are able to. Thanks For Reading!!