Well it kind of looks like this is going to be Brewers Appreciation Week because I am all about the love right now. These guys deserve it. Aramis Ramirez has been killing the baseball lately and that deserves kudos. I could write twenty five hundred words about Ryan Braun anytime, any place. I could do it every single day if I wanted to. He's that good, but you know who never really seems to get his due? Yo. We hardly ever talk about Yo which is weird because Yo is freaking awesome. Yo is my bro.
Yovani Gallardo has always been outshone by his fellow starters. When the Brewers got Marcum we knew that Marcum would be #2 to Yo, but we still thought about Marcum more. Marcum was new, Marcum was exciting and Yo was still Yo. Then the Brewers got Zack Greinke and Gallardo took a clear backseat. Zack Greinke was a former Cy Young winner with all the potential in the world. He seemed like he was a constant threat to pitch a perfect game or strike out a billion batters. Yo? Yo would get like nine strikeouts and be done by the sixth inning. This was always the perception at least. As it would turn out it was Zack who'd rack up the strikeouts and be done early. Yo would do that too, but he was still the best bet of the three to go deep into a game. (Think Game 1 of the NLDs.) Who knew?
In a lot of ways Yo is like Swan from The Warriors. He never wanted to be in charge. He was perfectly happy playing second fiddle to Sheets or Sabathia or Greinke or whoever, but that's not how things worked out. No matter what happened Yo was always the last man standing and this is his team to lead now. There have been challengers to his throne, but there is no doubt that (at least from the pitching side) that this is Yo's team now. No matter what happens you can count on him. So far he has proven himself well. In his last six starts he is 6-0 which is cool and all, but what's better is that he has only allowed three runs once in those three starts. Even more amazing he has gone seven or more innings each and every time. That is nice. I can get used to that. He has gone seven or more innings twelve times this year and he seems to get better as the year goes on. That is also something I can get used to.
Yovani Gallardo will never be a Sabathia or a King Felix (because no one will ever be a King Felix), but he will be very good. He will be the type of pitcher that 90% of teams wish they could have, but they can't have him because he is ours. The Brewers will always be in a good position with starters as long as they have Yo because four positions are easier to fill than five.
As Brewers fans we talk a lot about Ryan Braun and how he is likely to lead every statistical category for a Brewer when it's all said and done. This is pretty exciting stuff, but what we never stop to realize is that we have another player who could do the same thing on the pitching side and that man is Yovani Gallardo. He already has the best all-time ERA of any Brewers starter. He's currently fourth on the leader board in all-time strikeouts and could hit third before the season is over. Then he's probably two good seasons away from Ben Sheets at #1 and 1206. Really. He currently sits in seventh on the all-time wins list with 67. The leader, Jim Slaton, has 117. That's three healthy seasons. If everything breaks the right way then Yovani Gallardo is probably the best starting pitcher the Brewers have ever had. Maybe we should start appreciating that a bit more.
EDIT: I got an email from this story that said "That’s sad considering he’s a iffy number two and a solid number 3" which is a completely bullshit statement and I'd like to address it.
Over the last three seasons (2010-2012) Yovani ranks 23rd among starting pitchers in WAR.
Over the last two seasons Yovani ranks 34th in WAR among starting pitchers in WAR.
In 2012 Yovani ranks 40th in WAR among starting pitchers.
He's clearly not a solid number three because there haven't been 60 pitchers better than him in this time frame. So he's an "iffy number two" right? Well an "iffy" number two would mean to me that he isn't a "#1" and that most #2's were better than him. If there are 30 teams with number ones better than him and let's say half of them have number two starters better than him than he'd be, at best, the 45th best pitcher overall. Which he is clearly better than. Even if you want to use the worst number you can find he is the 4oth best.
As I said in the story above he isn't a Sabathia or a Felix, but he is a very good pitcher. The 23rd best pitcher by WAR with the 11th best xFIP over a three year period is nothing to shake your head at. It's actually something that should make you very happy that he plays for your team. People's obsession with NUMBER ONES and SOLID NUMBER TWOS needs to stop. It's dumb.