- Full name Cameron Joseph Gallagher
- Born 12/06/1992 in Lancaster, PA
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 230 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Manheim Township
- Debut 08/06/2017
Drafted in the 2nd round (65th overall) by the Kansas City Royals in 2011 (signed for $750,000).
View Draft ReportAt 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Gallagher doesn't look like a high school player who can stick behind the plate, but until this spring his defense was considered superior to his bat. He has had a good season and showed improvement at the plate while endearing himself to scouts by playing with energy and taking batting practice with wood bats after games. Because he's big, Gallagher's swing can get long at times, but his strength helps him get by. He has strong hands and arms that allow him to hit to all fields. Scouts would like to see more feel at the plate from him, but he has the potential to bring an average hit tool and plus power to a premium defensive position. Gallagher's older brother Austin is a Dodgers farmhand, and they come from a baseball family. Though he is committed to East Carolina, the younger Gallagher seems interested in starting his pro career and could go in the first three rounds.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Gallagher made it to the big leagues for 13 games six years after the Royals drafted the Pennsylvania native in the 2nd round. Since signing for a $750,000 bonus, Gallagher has moved steadily through the Royals system. Profiling as at least a reliable second catcher, Gallagher has been blocked at the major league level by the presence of venerable catcher Salvador Perez and reliable backup Drew Butera. Gallagher is a gap-to-gap hitter who doesn't strike out that often (12 percent of plate appearances through his minor league career) with plate discipline that ranks among the best in the system. His bat has improved as he's progressed through the system and he has a very good approach at the plate. He doesn't get to his average raw power in games, with the six home runs Gallagher hit in 2017 marking his career high. He works well with pitchers, keeping them in the game, and his above-average, accurate arm threw out 33 percent of PCL runners in 2017. Gallagher will head to spring training with a chance to earn a job with the parent club, but he most likely will be back in Omaha as a valuable insurance to the Royals' big league catching corps.
The best defensive catcher in the Royals system, Gallagher led Double-A Texas League catchers in most defensive categories in 2016. He committed just three errors all season and led the league by throwing out 48 percent of basestealers. Gallagher's arm grades as above-average, but it's the consistency of his throwing mechanics and accuracy that helps him shut down running games. He is a quiet receiver who presents pitches well. Gallagher's glove will get him to the big leagues and explains why the Royals added him to the 40-man roster in November. His bat, however, will likely prevent him from ever being a big league regular. Gallagher projects as a 30 hitter on the 20-to-80 scouting scale with modest bat speed, but he does draw enough walks to post reasonable on-base percentages. He will show average raw power in batting practice, but that rarely translates to games. Scouts project him to hit 6-10 home runs at most. Gallagher moves to Triple-A Omaha in 2017, where he will be only a call away from Kansas City.
Gallagher is nothing like the player the Royals expected when they drafted him. While he is big and strong, he's always been more comfortable simply making contact rather than driving the ball. He's the Royals' best defensive catcher in the minors and is even a viable emergency callup option because of his big league-average receiving and blocking. He has an above-average arm, although his throwing mechanics aren't flawless--he threw out 29 percent of basestealers in 2015. The Royals hope Gallagher will put together more situational at-bats. While they don't mind when he keeps his swing short and aims for contact in most situations, they would like to see him get more aggressive on taking a bigger swing to drive the ball when the situation warrants. The move to Double-A Northwest Arkansas and away from Wilmington's pitcher's park might help speed that transition. He projects as a backup catcher because of his defense, but could be more if his latent power shows up more often.
Gallagher was thought to be a power-first catcher with average-at-best defensive tools. Nowadays, he's an excellent receiver who has shown no productive power. Gallagher's soft hands are his best asset, and he's an excellent receiver with an extremely accurate arm. He will show plenty of pop times of 1.9 seconds, but it's his ability to put throws on the bag consistently that explains why he led the high Class A Carolina League by catching 40 percent of basestealers. Gallagher shows bat speed in batting practice, but when the pitches start to count, that bat speed seems to disappear for a contact-oriented approach. The Royals remain patient as Gallagher heads to Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2015.
The life of a catcher is never easy, but Gallagher has already had more than his share of bumps, bruises and broken bones that come with being a backstop. Part of a baseball family that has seen his father Glenn and brother Austin both play in the minor leagues, Cam is looking for his first injury-free season. In 2012, he was accidentally hit on the hand by a backswing and also endured a shoulder injury. In 2013, he missed a month and a half when he broke his hand when hit by a pitch and missed 10 days in August after a foul tip nipped him. In three seasons, he has accrued fewer than 500 total at-bats. Gallagher's timing at the plate never recovered from his broken hand--he hit .268 before the injury and .193 afterwards. He has soft hands, calls a solid game and has a solid-average arm. Gallagher has shortened his swing since high school. He makes contact, draws walks and doesn't strike out excessively, but so far, he's yet to show the above-average power that the Royals forecasted when they drafted him in the second round in 2011. Gallagher still has the ceiling of a regular catcher, but he needs to stay on the field to develop his game. He may head back to low Class A Lexington to start 2014.
Gallagher's big frame led some scouts to wonder whether he would be able to stick behind the plate as a pro, but the Royals liked his work as a backstop enough to sign him away from East Carolina for an over-slot $750,000 in the second round of the 2011 draft. He went one round earlier than his father Glenn (who reached Double-A) and brother Austin (currently in the Dodgers system). Gallagher missed time last summer with minor hand and shoulder injuries, but otherwise had a solid year at Burlington. He has proven to be a more polished receiver than expected and already shows aptitude for calling a game. He has a strong arm and threw out 26 percent of basestealers in 2012. Though Gallagher has shortened his somewhat lengthy swing, his calling card continues to be above-average power for a catcher. As might be expected, he shows a good understanding of how pitchers are trying to get him out, helping him make consistent contact. He's a well below-average runner. In a system thin on catching prospects, Gallagher stands out as the only one whom scouts project as a big league regular. He'll advance to low Class A this year.
When Salvador Perez sped up his timetable to the big leagues and Wil Myers moved from behind the plate to the outfield, the Royals suddenly were left quite thin in minor league catchers. They attempted to rectify that by drafting Gallagher in the second round last June and trading Wilson Betemit to the Tigers for Julio Rodriguez (and minor league lefty Antonio Cruz) a month later. Gallagher's bloodlines didn't hurt: his father Glenn and his brother Austin (currently in the Dodgers system) were both third-round picks. Signed for an over-slot $750,000, Cameron is big for a catcher but has the soft hands to be a good receiver. He also has a strong arm, though he threw out just two of 11 basestealers in his pro debut. Gallagher has offensive promise as well with above-average power potential, though his bat is relatively unrefined. Like most catchers, he's a below-average runner who's sure to slow down as he spends more time behind the plate. Some scouts wonder if he'll end up being too big to stay at catcher, though Kansas City isn't concerned. The last two Pennsylvania high school catchers to succeed (Neil Walker and Devin Mesoraco) were slow starters, so it won't be a surprise if Gallagher takes a while to get acclimated to pro ball. He could see some time in low Class A in his first full pro season, though it's not a given that he'll open 2012 there.
Minor League Top Prospects
Gallagher pulled down $750,000 as a Royals second-rounder last year, but his career has yet to gather steam because he signed late and dealt with myriad injuries this season. He hit just .157 in 28 games between two Rookie leagues in 2011, then caught just 30 games for Burlington this season between visits to the trainer's table. Early in the season, Gallagher injured his receiving hand on a catcher's-interference play and later missed nearly two weeks after jamming his shoulder while running the bases. Gallagher weathered injuries to gun down 26 percent of basestealers. Area scouts worried that he might outgrow catcher, but he impressed Appy League observers by receiving the ball well with soft hands, calling a great game and making strong, accurate throws to second base. A simple swing and knack for barreling the ball suggest Gallagher will hit for average as he matures, and a high contact rate this season argues strongly for that case. Though he doesn't have premium bat speed, he's already quite physical and can drive the ball to his pull side. He'll never be a factor on the bases because of well below-average speed, but his other tools give him a chance to profile as a starting catcher.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Kansas City Royals in 2018
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Carolina League in 2014