Last season, beginning around the middle of May, the Sugar Land Skeeters began to see interest in their players by major league and affiliated clubs. Interest turned into offers and, before long, the Skeeters were in full-on rebuilding mode approximately two months into their existence.
By the end of the 2012 season, the team saw 13 total players move from its roster to either a major league system or an affiliated minor league organization.
This year the Skeeters are off to the best start at any level of professional baseball and lead the Atlantic League with a 22-3 record. With their torrid start – both at the plate and on the mound – there’s no reason to expect that the team won’t have to endure the same raiding of its roster in the days ahead.
In fact, it has already begun.
The Skeeters announced Tuesday that starting pitcher Sean Gallagher has been signed by the Colorado Rockies organization.
The 6’2”, 220-lb. righthander made four starts with Sugar Land this year, going 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings. He struck out 10 and allowed 13 hits and four walks in his appearances.
Gallagher was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round of the 2004 draft out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He compiled a 10-10 record with a 5.64 ERA in four major league seasons with the Cubs, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
In spite of the hit to his team’s roster, Skeeters’ manager Gary Gaetti said transactions of this nature are part of the routine in having an independent league team with players who are attractive to affiliated clubs.
“That’s why we’re doing what we do,” Gaetti said Tuesday night. “We are affording these guys an opportunity to play baseball, for the guys who have either been shuffled back or shuffled out and couldn’t get signed.”
“It’s a beautiful thing,” he continued. “It really is.”
According to a report by the Denver Post, the Rockies will assign Gallagher to their Double-A Tulsa roster.
While Gallagher is the first current Skeeters player to be signed by an affiliated club in 2013, others players are being scouted regularly and at least one other pitcher is currently being strongly considered by a major league organization.
Only time will tell how much this year’s team will be raided and have to scramble to retool compared to last year’s squad, but Gaetti isn’t expressing too much concern over the impact some potential roster changes might have on his team’s hot start.
“We’re in a much better position now, even just depth-wise,” Gaetti stated. “I think we can weather the storm.”