Rangers Prospect Profile: Armando Galarraga

After being shut down with shoulder issues last season, Armando Galarraga is back at full-strength in 2007. Rangers Insider profiles the 25-year-old pitching prospect.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Armando Galarraga
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: January 15, 1982
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The Rangers acquired Galarraga, 25, in the Alfonso Soriano trade two offseasons ago. Despite a past run-in with Tommy John surgery, the Rangers liked Galarraga because of his build and hard sinker.

Signed by the Montreal Expos out of Caracas, Venezuela, as a 16-year-old in 1998, Galarraga pitched two seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League before making his way to the United States.

The right-hander showed promise from the start, as he posted a 3.12 ERA in 34.2 innings with the Gulf Coast League Expos in his U.S. debut.

Things took a turn for the worse in 2002, as Galarraga was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow after just two starts with the GCL Expos. The injury and subsequent rehab allowed the righty to make just five starts with the GCL Expos a year later.

It wasn't until 2004 when Galarraga was able to make his full-season debut. Pitching with the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats, Galarraga had a 4.65 ERA in 110.1 innings. His did post solid peripherals, however, as he was tough to hit, did not walk many batters, and struck out 7.7 per nine innings.

The 6-foot-4 hurler finally broke out in 2005, as he put up a 2.48 ERA over 14 starts with the High-A Potomac Nationals. Galarraga allowed just 69 hits in 80 innings while fanning 79.

Though he had struggles after being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg in '05, Galarraga had planted himself squarely on the prospect map.

The Rangers liked the righty enough to ask for him in the trade that send Alfonso Soriano to the Washington Nationals in exchange for outfielder Brad Wilkerson.

After a rough start with Double-A Frisco in 2006, the Rangers elected to shut Galarraga down with shoulder issues. He resurfaced later in the year, making multiple rehab starts between Arizona, Spokane, and Bakersfield.

Galarraga has returned fully healthy in 2007 and he is off to a solid start. Through two appearances, the pitcher has a 2.38 ERA while allowing just seven hits in his first 11.1 frames.

Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Galarraga's hard sinking fastball makes him a good fit for Rangers Ballpark. The right-hander throws his sinker in the low-90's, but can dial it up to 94 MPH at times. He also has an above-average slider that is used as his strikeout pitch. The key to Galarraga will be the development of his changeup, which has shown progress over the past couple of years.

Projection: Galarraga's power sinker-slider combo makes him a great candidate to become a late-inning reliever if he does not develop his changeup. However, the Rangers are still confident that Galarraga will be able to develop his change and turn into a mid-to-back of the rotation starting pitcher. Because he is advanced, Galarraga could be promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma if he continues his hot start. There is also a chance for the right-hander to make his debut with the Rangers later this season, as he is currently on the 40-man roster.

ETA: 2008.

Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
1999 San Joaquin (VSL) 1-2 43.1 49 28 31 4.98
2000 Caqua (VSL) 1-5 46.1 49 22 47 5.24
2001 GCL Expos (RK) 1-3 34.2 37 15 24 3.12
2002 GCL Expos (RK) 0-0 3.2 1 0 1 2.45
2003 GCL Expos (RK) 1-1 15.0 13 5 7 1.80
2004 Savannah (A) 5-5 110.1 104 31 94 4.65
2005 Potomac (A+) 3-4 80.0 69 23 79 2.48
Harrisburg (AA) 3-4 76.1 80 21 58 5.19
2006 AZ Rangers (RK) 0-2 16.1 18 6 16 3.31
Spokane (SSA) 0-1 4.0 4 0 3 4.50
Bakersfield (A+) 0-1 8.2 6 7 7 6.23
Frisco (AA) 1-6 41.0 56 13 38 5.49
2007 Frisco (AA) 0-1 11.1 7 7 7 2.38

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