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The Brewer Advent Calendar #8: Yovani Gallardo

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And popping out of door #8 is the most important player to the Milwaukee Brewers playoff hopes, Yovani Gallardo.

Yes, just as Rubie says Rickie Weeks is the most important position player next year, I truly believe that Yovani Gallardo is the key to the Brewers being playoff contenders.  We all know how dismal the Brewers pitching staff was last season, and though Gallardo was the best Starting Pitcher the Crew had last year, he still wasn't pitching like the Ace we all want him to be.  Some of the complaints about Yo were that he didn't pitch deep enough into games and he walked too many, both of which are probably valid and somewhat connected.  If he hadn't walked so many, he would have perhaps thrown less pitches and gone deeper into games.  Well, last year was the first time that YoGa has ever has ever had higher than a 3.8 BB/9 in his career (including Minors), which he put up in 2005 when he  was still in A ball.  Last year he had a 4.6 BB/9, so there is some hope that he will revert back to having better control. 

I think that we all agree that Yovani has the potential to be one of the better pitchers in the league, but so far he has not taken the next step.  If he can get his walks under control, it will go a long way towards helping the Brewers pitching staff gain respectability and hopefully propel the Crew into the thick of the playoff hunt.

Also, having been born in Michoacan, Mexico, Yovani is one of just five Mexican born pitchers to have reached the 200 strikeout plateau in one season after throwing 204 K's last year.  And he would have had more if he had not been shut down early last year.  The Mexican-born leaders in strikeouts in a year:

Pitcher Team Strikeouts Year
Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers 242 1986
Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers 240 1984
Teddy Higuera Brewers 240 1987
Oliver Perez Pirates 239 2004
Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers 208 1985
Esteban Loiza White Sox 207 2003
Teddy Higuera Brewers 207 1988
Yovani Gallardo Brewers 204 2009