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MLB International Showcase Notes: Richard Gallardo Dominates

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic—Venezuelan righthander Richard Gallardo was the standout player on the first day of Major League Baseball’s international showcase.

While Gallardo wasn’t the hardest thrower today at Estadio Quisqueya, he had the best combination of fastball, offspeed stuff and control. He used that blend of power and feel to perform better than anyone at the event, striking out six of the seven hitters he faced and getting the other one to ground out to shortstop.

Hiroto Takahashi (Photo By Eric Espada Getty Images)

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One night after Roki Sasaki and Yoshinobu Yamamoto impressed in Japan’s semifinal victory over Mexico, another young Japanese pitcher wowed on the world stage.

Gallardo (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) sat at 89-93 mph, advanced velocity for a 16-year-old with the projection to throw harder. He threw frequent strikes and elevated up and above the zone successfully to generate swing-and-miss. Gallardo also mixed in a 70-75 mph curveball that flashed above-average with good rotation. The Cubs are the favorites to sign Gallardo, who trains with Andres Veliz.

Dominican righthander Starlyn Castillo, a 15-year-old linked to the Phillies, threw even harder, running his fastball up to 97 mph, though he struggled with his control. Venezuelan righthander Abraham Calzadilla, 16, also stood out today by striking out four of the nine hitters he faced with a fastball up to 91 mph and feel to spin a curveball.

Cuban righthanders Osiel Rodriguez and Sandy Gaston and Dominican righthander Fernando Ortega are three prominent prospects who will pitch tomorrow.

Once the event is done, we will have more videos and reports on the top players for Baseball America subscribers.

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