Armando Galarraga Dealt In Soriano Swap

Galarraga has electric stuff.

When you trade for a star caliber player, a star caliber prospect is usually sent in exchange. In this case, that player was star righty pitching prospect, Armando Galarraga. Now, let's take a closer look at Galarraga and exactly what the Nationals were giving up for Alfonso Soriano.

Vital Statistics
Name: Armando Galarraga
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: January 15, 1982
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 170
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Armando Galarraga was signed by the Montreal Expos as an undrafted free agent in 1998. At the time, the young Venezuelan was highly touted as an electric, power arm but considered to be very raw. And, unlike many top flight prospects, Galarraga was not an instant slam dunk on United States soil.

For two seasons (1999, 2000) in the Venezuelan Summer League, Armando toiled with an ERA hovering around five. Then, to slow his development even more, he underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2002. But, it wasn't until after the surgery, oddly enough, that his career really got off the ground in a big way. The 6' 3" righty put together a decent come back season in 2004, in which he went 5-5 with a 4.65 ERA. But, the important thing was that he logged 110 innings, a new career high.

Because of his age, Galarraga had to be rushed by the Nationals' organization, so he was sent to Potomac to begin the 2005 season. It was there that he showed the lights out form that he was believed to have since he was signed at age 17. Pitching well enough to earn a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg, Galarraga tired near the end of the season. But, his combined statistics for the season were still impressive. To go along with his 6-8 record, Armando also compiled a combined 3.80 ERA while striking out 137 and walking only 44 in 156 innings of work.

The numbers above portray an outstanding season for Galarraga, but considering his workload, he can't be blamed for wearing down late in the season. In fact, the Nationals and now the Rangers believe that he still can contribute at the big league level as early as 2006. Only time will tell, but the 23 year old Venezuelan has a tremendous opportunity to take a stranglehold on a spot on the Texas' staff.

Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball. Armando Galarraga, despite his minor league accomplishments, has made his name because of his live fastball. Bringing consistent 92-95 MPH heat, touching the upper 90's on occasion, Galarraga can depend on his heat to blow by just about any hitter in the right situation. And, the other important thing to remember is that it doesn't not lack movement. As a result of his long, loose arm action, the right-hander gets excellent downward life on his fastball. Also, considering his wiry frame, he may be able to add even a little more velocity with some added muscle.

Other Pitches. Right now, this Venezuelan born hurler is primarily a two pitch pitcher. And, currently, his changeup is slow and coming as his third pitch. But, he's had such great success because of his truly outstanding slider. It is legitimate strikeout pitch and should translate well at the big league level. Galarraga can throw his slider over for strikes and locate out of the zone to coax hitters to chase. The development of his changeup could the difference for him at the big league level, but he should still be able to get along just fine with the dominating combination of his fastball and slider.

Pitching. A guy with a power arm like Galarraga usually turns out to become a power pitcher with strikeout potential. And, as a matter of fact, that's exactly what Armando has developed into even after undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2002. He knows how to set hitters up for the strikeout and has learned how to use his slider as the outstanding weapon that it truly is. As of now, he's primarily a two pitch pitcher, but a changeup may make him an elite pitcher at the Major League level.

Projection. With two outstanding pitches, Galarraga appears to be, at worst, a dominating big league reliever that may be able to make an impact as early as the 2006 season. But, with more seasoning, the soon to be 24 year old looks more like a top flight big league pitcher with electric stuff and outstanding control.

ETA. 2006. With the Texas Rangers desperate for bullpen help, you might catch a glimpse of Armando Galarraga as soon as 2006. With his plus fastball and hard breaking slider, he fits the mold perfectly. It is doubtful that he will remain a reliever for his entire career, so his starting career may begin in 2007.

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