There have been many times over the past two summers where I have referred to Wladimir Galindo as “my guy.” I still feel that way despite his inability to stay healthy. Galindo has a large frame and power potential similar to previous prospects like Eloy Jimenez and Ian Happ. It’s a pretty lofty comparison but it’s not hyperbolic to put him in with those two. The only issue holding him back is whether he can stay on the field enough to fulfill that potential.
After staying healthy for most of 2016 at Eugene, I was really excited to see what Galindo could do in his first year of full-season baseball at South Bend. In just 44 games, he hit .290 with four home runs and 19 RBI at 20 years of age and I liked the fact that when he sees the ball, he hits the ball. There is a natural inclination for him to go up to the plate swinging — not surprising given his injury history — but his K percentage shrunk to an all 20.9 percent last season.
What mean by that injury history/approach bit is that, despite being signed in 2013, Galindo only has 787 at-bats for his total career and has seen a total of 2,106 pitches as a professional. That’s a really small number, all things considered. Most full-season minor leaguers will see between 1,600 to 1,800 pitches in just one season (120 games), which means Galindo is essentially at less than 1 1/2 years of experience.
In his brief stint at South Bend, Galindo came across as an raw hitter despite that lack of gameplay. One thing that impressed, though, me was how often and how easily he went to right field. An extraordinary 36.9 percent of his batted balls wound up in the opposite field, a number that bodes well for his development at the plate.
Fangraphs said this of his talents in their recent prospect rankings:
Reports concerning Galindo’s approach indicate that his bat-to-ball profile is still pretty volatile despite the slight reduction in K% (over just a 44-game sample, mind you). Still, it’s an improvement when compared to Galindo’s previous two seasons. He’s a potential everyday player if he can stay at third and get to most of his power.
What needs to happen in 2018
Galindo has been posting updates on Twitter about his rehab from surgery to repair his broken leg in June. In early November, he began hitting off a tee and it looks like he’s going to be primed and ready to go when 2018 begins.
Thank you God I’m here again ???????????? pic.twitter.com/dZ6VduERiq
— Wladimir Galindo (@galindowladi38) November 11, 2017
A few people have asked me if I think he will start at South Bend or at Myrtle Beach in 2018 and, to be honest, I’m not quite sure. Despite a lack of plate appearances and pitches seen at each level, he has done extremely well. The Carolina League is not that big a jump, so I’d expect him to do well there if that’s where he opens the season.
What I would most like to see from Galindo next year is just to stay healthy and get in 120 games at the plate. He could get 400 at-bats and see 1,600-1,700 pitches while hitting 15-20 home runs and driving in 70-80 runs. He could get in 80 games at third base and 20 at first while being the DH every once in awhile to rest his leg.
But, again, the overriding goal is to stay healthy enough to do all of these things. I firmly believe that if he is able to do that, he could easily be the top power hitter in the Cubs’ system.