The Cardinals bullpen is pretty, pretty good.
One of the first things that the higher ups in the St. Louis Cardinals organization pointed to this spring was the bullpen. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak and manager Mike Shildt considered it perhaps the team’s biggest strength. Through the first week of the season, it has not disappointed.
The bullpen, headlined by Jordan Hicks and Alex Reyes, has quickly emerged as one of the top units in baseball. Hicks has not allowed a run in his first two appearances. Reyes has not allowed a run in 3.1 innings this season. But it has been the early emergence of Giovanny Gallegos, paired with veteran Andrew Miller, that has taken the bullpen to the next level.
Gallegos has thrown four innings in three appearances this season, and has showcased an elite ability to accumulate whiffs. He has seven strikeouts, including a nasty slider that froze Miami Marlins hitter Brian Anderson, and one scout believes that slider is one of the most underrated pitches in baseball. Joe Schwarz wrote a good article about Gallegos’ two sliders in a 2019 story in The Athletic that is well worth your time.
Miller, of course, has proven to be one of the most dependable relievers in baseball throughout his career. He has had his ups and downs recently and has allowed three hits and one run in two innings, but figures to be a crucial part to the Cardinals’ bullpen once again.
But it is that bullpen that figures to be an underrated component to the Cardinals’ season, and what could help them mask a rotation that lacks depth with Miles Mikolas and Kwang-hyun Kim out due to injury. So far, that bullpen has more than proven it is up for the test. And that is exactly what Mozeliak and Shildt envisioned when they bet on their internal options rather than pursue high-end starters or relievers in free agency or trade.