RubberDucks Notebook: Gallas is excited to be home
Week in Review
The RubberDucks (40-30) lost two series in the past week, one to the Binghamton Mets where they lost 4 out of 5, and the other to the Eastern League-best Portland Sea Dogs, where lost two out of three. Both series were at home and pitching seemed to be the team’s biggest issue, as the team allowed 57 runs in this past week alone.
To say that Anthony Gallas has had a long road in accomplishing his dream of becoming a professional baseball player is a major understatement.
After putting together his best season at Kent State University where he batted .369 with 17 home runs and 81 RBI, Gallas thought he was a shoe-in to being taken in the 2010 MLB Draft in June.
“I had a pretty good season at Kent my senior year, and I was expecting to get drafted. Then the draft came and nothing happened. I was pretty discouraged, I did everything I could and had a great season.”
“The Astros ended up calling me to see if I would sign and I told them I’d have to think about it, because I thought to myself ‘if I’m not good enough to get drafted, then what am I doing?’”
Anthony said that after about a week of not making a decision, he called Scott Stricklin, his college coach at the time, and told him that he thought he made the wrong decision. He said that he wanted to continue playing, but that Houston wasn’t the place for him.
After waiting for weeks, Gallas finally got what he was waiting for, and he ended up signing with the baseball club he grew up watching, “Luckily the Indians called me. They told me they would give me a plane ticket and ‘see you in Arizona,'” he said.
It was smooth sailing from there, despite a torn labrum injury that cut his 2013 season short in Carolina. It clearly didn’t affect him too much though, because the outfielder bounced back in a big way and was named a Carolina League All-Star this season.
Through all of the ups and downs in his past, Gallas, a Strongsville native and Kent State graduate, finally found himself closer to home when he was promoted to Akron just six days ago.
“Its awesome. It makes it just that much more special being back home because this whole time, you’ve been working so hard towards a goal. Your friends and family really haven’t seen the progress that you have, but when you get to play in front of them when the last time they saw you was maybe college or high school, it makes it that much better, because then they can say ‘Oh wow, he’s gotten so much better.’”
The promotion not only brought him closer to his hometown, but it also reunited him with a familiar friend, former Mudcats skipper and current RubberDucks manager, David Wallace, “Anthony is one of my favorite players I’ve had. He plays the game hard, prepares himself the right way, and handles himself well off of the field.”
The 26-year-old outfielder has already adjusted well to the next level at the plate, as he is batting .333 with seven hits in 21 at-bats, including a home run, triple, double and an RBI.
“I want to be a tough out in the lineup and help our pitchers out, and the lineup itself by getting timely hits, moving guys over, and doing the right things.”
I asked him to describe what he’s seen already in his transition to the higher level of play, “The guys are better. The pitcher’s are going to be better and more around the zone, so you’ve got to bring it everyday, approach it the same way every day, and just keep grinding.”
Wally related to Gallas because he was undrafted once too, “He’s a guy that has got to prove himself, but he’s got all the tools to play in the big leagues. He’s got a nice swing, his defense is good out there in left, but his mental game and maturity is something we really like in this organization.”
Despite talking about his long, different path to the pros, he said that he doesn’t dwell on his past now, “I don’t carry that with me anymore. I got my foot in the door just like all of the other guys here. I’m just playing hard and trying to be a good teammate.”
Gallas has already accomplished that in his short time with the RubberDucks, and the remarkable story of his ongoing journey to the big leagues is something that even a future Akron graduate like myself can appreciate.
Joe Wendle, 2B
6 G, 21 AB, .429 BA, .458 OBP, .476 SLG, .935 OPS, 9 H, 1 2B, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB
Despite his team’s struggles, Joey Wendle has really stepped it up lately and is locking in at the plate, as he has raised his batting average to .256.
His best performance of the week came last Friday in a win where he doubled and drove in three. If he can bring the swing he has at home on the road, things will only get better for the second baseman.
Alex Lavisky, C
5 G, 20 AB, .350 BA, .381 OBP, .400 SLG, .781 OPS, 7 H, 1 2B, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB
Naquin is not the only player in Akron with a hitting streak. Another Ohio native, this one from Cleveland St. Edward high school, has hit safely in five straight games. His best game in this stretch was last Tuesday where he had a double with two RBI. The 23-year-old catcher has certainly impressed in his part-time role.
Tyler Naquin, CF
6 G, 23 AB, .348 BA, .360 OPS, .522 SLG, .882 OPS, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 R, 1RBI, 1 BB
The center fielder’s hitting streak was extended to 17 games on Sunday afternoon with a double down the right-field line.
Adam Miller, RHP
3 G, 2.1 IP, 38.57 ERA, 10 R, 10 ER, 8 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 3 SO
Most thought that things couldn’t get much worse for Adam Miller. They did last week. In 2.1 IP, he allowed 10 earned runs on eight hits.
Wally commented on his struggles, “I don’t think he’s throwing his slider the way he wants to right now, just not getting the bite on it that he’s had before.”
“We’re going to work through it, keep him throwing and once he gets it, he’ll get back to being him again.”
Things only got worse for the former first-round pick however, as he was placed on the 7-day disabled list with an ankle injury.
Cody Anderson, RHP
2 GS, 2 L, 7.2 IP, 12.91 ERA, 11 R, 11 ER, 13 H, 5 HR, 6 BB, 6 SO
The last start that Cody Anderson had was sub-par, as he allowed three earned runs, but walked six batters in only 4.2 IP.
“This kind of performance isn’t up to our standards or Cody’s,” Wally said Sunday. “He’s struggled with throwing the ball where he’s wanted to, but he’s going to learn from it, get through this and bounce back.”
Louis Head, RHP
3 G, 2.1 IP, 15.43 ERA, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 4 SO
After his first two appearances for Akron, Head looked like he belonged right away. However since then, the reliever has gone through a bit of a rough patch. His worst outing was last Wednesday when he allowed three earned runs in 1/3 of an inning.
Gabriel Arias, RHP
The starter returned to Akron from Columbus last Sunday after having a decent time with the Clippers, posting a 2-2 record with a 4.91 ERA.
As a RubberDuck, Arias has a record of 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA.
Anthony Gallas, OF
Adam Miller, RHP
The right-hander was placed on the 7-day DL with a left ankle sprain.
The RubberDucks (40-30) will try to bounce back during a six-game road trip where they will travel to Reading to take on the Fightin Phils (33-33), followed by a series in Harrisburg against the Senators (28-39).
Spencer Davies is a student at the University of Akron studying Sports Management with a minor concentrating in Mass Communication. He has interned for the Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate Akron RubberDucks, IMG College, and has shadowed Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico. He is currently an on-air sports personality at WZIP-FM and works for the Akron Beacon Journal. Follow Spencer on Twitter @SpinDavies.