Is Zac Gallen the best pitcher in baseball right now? | The Bandwagon
Yahoo Sports MLB writers Hannah Keyser and Zach Crizer look at the success of Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen, his All-Star chances, and how last year's Cy Young voting keeps him motivated. Hear the full conversation on “The Bandwagon” - Yahoo Sports’ new baseball podcast - and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
HANNAH KEYSER: I am going to bandwagon specifically of the Arizona Diamondbacks, just one guy, their pitcher Zac Gallen. Zac Gallen is the best pitcher in baseball right now, at least by FanGraphs WAR. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball last year, finished with an ERA under 3, an ERA plus last year of 158.
So he was more than 50% better than league average, and has never even made an all-star team. And that is something that Zac Gallen himself takes objection to. He was on the "Foul Territory" podcast recently and shared the fact that he keeps a screenshot of the Cy Young voting from last year, I did not know that the players had access to that, which shows him everyone who did and did not vote for him.
And he carries it around with him in his phone photo album as a kind of chip on your shoulder, bulletin material, I'll show them type thing. And I like-- I don't know that I like that, because that feels kind of targeting some people, perhaps, unnecessarily.
ZACK CRIZER: I'm glad I don't have a vote.
HANNAH KEYSER: There's a lot of good pitchers in baseball. But I think he is-- I like that, like, Zac Gallen is bandwagoning Zac Gallen as like, hey, you guys should look at this picture who was really good last year. And he's doing that by being even better thus far this year.
He is striking out nearly a third of batters. He's walking fewer than 4% of batters he's facing, which is phenomenal. He has pitched pretty deep into games. He's gone at least 7 innings four times so far in 9 starts. We love that in this day and age.
I kind of feel like, not to this extreme, but I kind of feel like he has the potential to kind of be like this year's Sandy Alcantara, which is, like, not on the most prominent team, and at the end of the year we look up and we're like, oh wow, actually, the Cy Young voting is quite easy-- someone was both very good and threw a lot of innings.
ZACK CRIZER: He's got a very savvy approach to how he pitches. And I feel very confident in predicting he will make the all-star team this year.
HANNAH KEYSER: Yeah.
ZACK CRIZER: He was also my Cy Young prediction. So you know, thank you for the boost.
HANNAH KEYSER: I know. I'm stealing--
ZACK CRIZER: I'm feeling good about that.
HANNAH KEYSER: I had to swoop in and bandwagon this before you had a chance to, because I know you were equally enamored with Zac Gallen as a pitcher. I'm just enamored with him from a hometown perspective.
ZACK CRIZER: Yes. The only thing Zac Gallen does wrong is the spelling of Zac, you know? He's got the Zac, which is just-- it's a choice.