The Comp: Sean Gallagher Vs. Gaby Hernandez




The high Class A Florida State League is chock full of pitching prospects this season, with the likes of Fort Myers righthanders Kevin Slowey and Anthony Swarzak (and Matt Garza until he was promoted to Double-A New Britain May 17), Brevard County righthander Yovani Gallardo, Lakeland righthanders Dallas Trahern and Jair Jurrjens, Sarasota righthander Homer Bailey and Cardinals righthander Blake Hawksworth to name a few.

Two of the more interesting arms in the league now--and also righthanders--are Daytona's Sean Gallagher and Jupiter's Gaby Hernandez

Both are 2004 picks out of high school, Gallagher from Fort Lauderdale and Martinez from down the road in Miami. Gallagher went in the 12th round, while Martinez was a third-round pick of the Mets and was dealt to the Marlins along with outfielder Dante Brinkley in the Paul Lo Duca deal last December.

Both also have comparable stuff, with Hernandez having a little more zip on his fastball and Gallagher with a much better breaking ball.

So far this season, Gallagher has the better numbers. In 54 innings, the 20-year-old righthander is 4-0, 1.99 with a 53-12 strikeout-walk ratio. Meanwhile, Hernandez is 4-3, 4.76 with 48 strikeouts and 17 walks in 57 innings.

We caught up with a National League scout to compare and contrast the two righthanders, and to give us an assessment of who has the higher ceiling.

"From a maturity standpoint, Gallagher is much more advanced with better poise and presence, and a much more advanced feel for pitching. His breaking ball is also much sharper--Gallagher's has much more depth and a sharper, later break compared to Hernandez, who tends to get around on it more often and it doesn't have nearly as much life.

"(Hernandez's) was looping a lot more in this league last year and he's made it harder--it's not a true 12-to-6 and it's not a true slider, it's somewhere in between. Whereas Gallagher's is a true curveball and it's probably his best pitch.

"In terms of fastball command, Gallagher is also ahead of him at this point. It's an average fastball, but he commands it pretty well. Hernandez might have a little bit above-average velocity, but he can't command it to both sides of the plate and up and down (like Gallagher can). He tends to fly open a little bit, and all his pitches suffer when he gets out of his mechanics. He's been leaving a lot of pitches up. It's a minor adjustment, but the consistency just isn't there the way you'd like.

"Projecting them, I see a little more in Hernandez's body--Gallagher is pretty maxed out. I didn't see what all the hype was about with Hernandez last year, and his body played into that. But this year he looks stronger and he's more physically intimidating. When he starts pounding fastballs in and establishing the inner half like he can, he's OK. When he gets away from that, he gets into easy trouble and starts moving more laterally than going forward in his delivery.

"The one area where Gabby has an edge is his changeup, but if he can't improve the curveball, what is he? To me, Gallagher has two average pitches and a plus curveball. And that's more than Hernandez has now."

Advantage: Gallagher.