Prospect Profile – Wladimir Galindo Is Turning It On

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galindo 86 2016 eugI love it when a plan comes together. However, a prospect is not necessarily a plan, but in this case, their development taking shape is. That prospect is Wladimir Galindo. And no, his development is not fulfilled, but it is starting to dramatically improve. Over his last ten games, the 6’3” 210 lb. third baseman is hitting .368 with 2 HRs and 9 RBIs. His OBP over that period is an outstanding .455. These are the type of numbers people thought Wladimir Galindo could put up when he signed.

Galindo signed with the Cubs as an International Free Agent in 2013. He was part of the vaunted class of 2013 with Eloy, Gleyber, Erling Moreno, and Jen-Ho Tseng. He did not receive as much fanfare as the other prospects, but people did notice. He actually signed in December. Originally, before signing he played SS. Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline said this of the then #25 ranked international prospect

Keep an eye on Galindo. The infielder has progressed in all areas of his game and has emerged as one of the top prospects from Venezuela since MLB’s National Showcase in Venezuela last November. Listed as a shortstop, Galindo has also shown the ability to play third base and shined at the position at MLB’s International Showcase in January.

Galindo could end up at one of the corner spots in the infield or make the shift to the outfield because of his size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and strong arm. But he might be athletic enough to stay at shortstop.

Scouts like his big body and his raw power. Galindo also has the ability to hit for power to all fields and has a knack for putting the barrel of his bat on the ball. He is sometimes fooled by offspeed pitches and could use more game experience.

Initially, Galindo was assigned to play in the Venezuelan Summer in 2014. I kept a close eye on him that summer…for a short period. He did get into 62 games where he hit a team leading 7 HRs and drove in 30 while slashing a .278 average with a .456 OBP and a .462 slugging percentage. He was a doubles machine hitting 18 that year before an injury took away his season.

In 2015, the young 18-year-old was assigned to Mesa in the Arizona League. Like 2014, an injury, this time to his wrist, robbed him of any substantial playing time. Over three weeks, his slugging percentage of .522 in 19 games was extremely impressive. In just 19 games, he had 7 doubles and 2 triples out of his 24 hits. While he did not hit any home runs, he did hit .358 with a .400 OBP.

galindo 77 2016 eugSometimes wrist injuries take a lot of time to heal. I was excited to see him finally return to action in spring training. According to The Cub Reporter, Galindo had an excellent extended spring training. Arizona Phil had Galindo hitting .351 in 24 games with six doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run and 14 RBIs. He only walked twice, which was a concern, and he committed seven errors, which is always a concern with Wladimir. On the other hand, it has alway been about the bat with Galindo.

Later, after extended spring, Galindo was assigned to Eugene. I was pretty excited as I thought he might repeat Rookie League. And, add in the fact that Eugene announced they would have MiLB.TV for home games, I thought it might be “The Summer of Wladimir.” While it has not been a “breakout season,” he is adjusting and improving steadily.

It did not take Galindo long to show off his power. In just the third game of the year against Boise, Galindo went yard twice in the same game, both solo shots. He would have a decent June, albeit just 12 games, as he hit .271 with a measly .300 OBP. He only walked twice and did not hit any more home runs after the third game.

In July, Galindo struggled to barely hit above .200. On the screen, he did not look very selective. He tried to kill the ball most every time. Conversely, he did have 4 HRs and 13 RBIs in 89 at-bats. He also slugged .472, but his approach at the plate was improving, even if it didn’t show up in his average. He walked 10 times for a walk rate of almost 10%, much improved from June’s 4%.

Come August, Galindo’s improved approach began to take off. His walk rate is now up to 15% while his K rate is still a little high (and might always be), but he is slugging .588 with 5 doubles and 1 HR in 9 games. His .353 average and .450 OBP all point up. In just two-plus weeks, his average has gone from the .220s into the .250s.

While his offense has improved, Galindo still needs to work on his defense. His arm is very strong and should play well at third. It’s the footwork that needs some assistance. He does this two-step timing mechanism every time he gets a ball before he throws it. It comes across that the ball is stuck in his glove. It annoys me, but it can be fixed. Instructs would be the perfect place to get rid of that. Currently, he has 11 errors in 36 games at Eugene.

In all, I think there’s a lot to be excited about. Galindo is now firmly entrenched in the cleanup spot at Eugene and is producing at an expected rate. I am really enjoying watching him hit. As Mayo said above, he really does barrel up the ball and it makes a distinct sound as it comes off the bat. At only 19, his power will only increase. I am looking forward to seeing his progression the rest of this year, through the playoffs, and I cannot wait to see him play every day next year at South Bend.

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