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Pick #106: Zac Gallen, RHP, University of North Carolina

The Cards go back to the polished college pitcher well for their third-round pick, and grab one who looks very promising.

I'll tell you something, guys and gals: this shit of having to wait a full 30 picks in between your teams' selections just plain sucks. The Cardinals need to find some sort of hacking-based solution to allow them to make picks twice per round or something.

Anyhow, with their third round pick, the Redbirds selected Zac Gallen, a righthanded pitcher from out of the University of North Carolina. Gallen is very much right up the proverbial alley for the Cardinals, in terms of profile. He's a proven performer, with outstanding feel for pitching and outstanding results, particularly this spring.

Let's actually start with the bad news, for once: Zac Gallen's curveball is...kind of terrible. I mean, like really terrible. Like he probably should just stop throwing it terrible, unless he can find someone else to teach him a different grip or approach or something.

Now for the good news: it doesn't matter that Zac Gallen's curveball is terrible, because he has essentially everything else you would want in a pitching prospect. His arsenal starts with a low-90s fastball that plays better than the velocity because it has nice sink and run, allowing him to roll up grounders and occasionally embarrass right-handed hitters with just a heater because it ends up so far down and in as to be unhittable. He also features a pair of offspeed pitches, both of which are above-average, and with a chance to be even better with some more development. The cutter is probably the better of the two at the moment; Gallen's version of the pitch moves hard to the glove side and drops just enough to be effective, but is very clearly a cut fastball, rather than a short slider. The changeup is a little behind the cutter for now, but not much, and has the potential to be a real weapon if he can continue to refine it. He telegraphs the pitch too often, slowing his arm noticeably probably half the time, but there's excellent sink and movement on the pitch all the same.

Gallen's repertoire isn't overwhelmingly loud, but he's got a chance at three 55 pitches, with the cutter possibly reaching a 60. It would be nice to see him able to continue throwing the curve and find a new approach to the pitch, because as it stands now his arsenal actually seems to lack a go-to swing and miss offering against same-handed hitters. All his pitches are good enough to get outs, but I don't know that he has one arrow in his quiver he could throw to a righty in a big situation that has a 50% or better chance of getting an empty swing.

There's enough velocity here to succeed, outstanding feel for the craft, and a wide base of pitches to draw from. There's also elite-level performance, as he struck out almost 9.50 hitters per 9 IP this year and posted a K:BB ratio better than 4.5:1. This is exactly the sort of command/feel performer I love to see the Cardinals draft. Logan Shore didn't make it to their #70 slot, but Zac Gallen is a very similar -- and very, very nice -- consolation prize.

via The Prospect Pipeline: