Q&A: Sean Gallagher

Nineteen-year-old Sean Gallagher won his organizational best 13th game for Class-A Peoria last week and remains tied for the Midwest League's most wins and best ERA (2.55) for any starter. Inside The Ivy caught up with Gallagher on the eve of his Tuesday start for a Q&A.

Inside The Ivy: You won game No. 13 recently. Can you even begin to put into words the kind of year you're having?

Sean Gallagher: It's just a reflection on all of the hard work and dedication you put into this. I just go out every day and try to throw all of my pitches for strikes.

Inside The Ivy: You're atop the league in ERA and wins right now and have been pretty much all season. Walk us through the process of getting to the point you're at now from the time your season started this spring. Did you imagine having this much success in your first "full" year?

Sean Gallagher: When I started in Spring Training, no, I didn't think so. But, I worked my butt off and tried every day to come out and get better. So far I've been working on a lot of stuff mechanically, spotting pitches like my changeup and continuing to throw my curveball with a little more consistency. Anything can happen when you give it 100 percent and that's what I've given it this year.

Inside The Ivy: The changeup is something you developed only after you were drafted, correct?

Sean Gallagher: Correct. I had never thrown a changeup in high school. I was a fastball-curveball-slider type pitcher. When I first signed, Lester Strode and Rick Tronerud looked on as I threw my first couple of bullpens. They saw me throw my curveball, and Tronerud said I was going to have to work on my changeup, which he led me to believe would eventually become my "equalizer" pitch. When you fall behind in the count, you throw it and it messes up the hitters' timing a great deal. It helps you out so much. Last year I didn't really have a good feel for it, but I talked to a few pitchers and one of them taught me a good grip to use. Now I'm just trying to get to where I can throw it at any point in the count and still have it be very valuable.

Inside The Ivy: Do you still consider the curveball your best pitch?

Sean Gallagher: Oh, yeah, the curveball has always been my pitch. Ever since I was in high school, it just came natural to me. It came out of my hands just right and it's been that way for a long while. If I get a guy 1-2 or 0-2, I feel I can throw it anywhere in the strike zone. He's got to show me he can hit it.

Inside The Ivy: Mechanics-wise, did you change anything from last season?

Sean Gallagher: Right now I'm trying to keep my balance point a little longer and not open up my front shoulder as much; keeping my arm slot at three-quarters. Pretty much all this year when I've struggled, it's because my mechanics have gotten a little out of whack. Sometimes you're just rusty like that.

Inside The Ivy: How re-assuring is it knowing you have teammates like Ryan Harvey and Eric Patterson backing you up on offense each night?

Sean Gallagher: It's so huge. I go out there knowing I can make one or two mistakes and still get away with it. You just throw your game and keep it close. Every time we're out there, it seems like one of them comes through. Someone is always picking up someone else every day here.

Inside The Ivy: How is your arm feeling at this point with the amount of innings you've logged?

Sean Gallagher: My arm is fine right now. Working with the conditioning program each day and keeping up with my weight program has me in good shape. I've thankfully never had a problem with my arm before. I went straight from high school to summer ball to fall ball, so I'm used to it. The only thing I'm not used to is pitching every fifth day. I haven't lost anything, though.

Inside The Ivy: The season is winding down with less than a month left. Was Daytona ever something you set your sights on this season?

Sean Gallagher: What I heard in the beginning was that I was going to stay here the whole year and get my innings in since it's my first full professional season. They want to see how I handle pitching every fifth day and monitor whether or not I'm going to tire at all. Hopefully, I'll go out next year and get moved up quickly. This year has been such a big learning experience for me. One step at a time.

Inside The Ivy: What does Sean Gallagher do away from the park in his spare time?

Sean Gallagher: I'll watch movies and "SportsCenter" to catch up with what's going on around the league. I'll always call a few friends from back home and catch up with them, too. I always make it a point to talk with my family, because this is a hectic life. Sometimes you don't have time to focus on the little things going on with your mom, dad, brother or sister.

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