Gavin Wallace, who spent the 2019 season with the Bradenton Marauders, announced his retirement today. The 23-year-old right-handed pitcher was a 15th round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017. His brother Mike was a 30th round pick in 2015, who spent four years with the Pirates.
Wallace pitched well in his debut with Morgantown in 2017, posting a 2.65 ERA in 68 innings, with a .229 BAA, a 1.56 GO/AO ratio and an 0.95 WHIP, thanks in part to just five walks. He made 14 starts in West Virginia in 2018 prior to being promoted to Bradenton, where he joined his brother to finish out the season. Wallace struggled in ten starts with the Marauders last year, then got off to a slow start this season, but he finished up strong after allowing 15 earned runs in his first 14.2 innings.
After May 5th, Wallace posted a 3.34 ERA over 94.1 innings. It wasn’t just the improvements in the boxscores that got some notice. He was showing excellent velocity late in the year, hitting 94-95 consistently as a starter, while still pounding the strike zone. Wallace was working on a new slider this season and we saw some improvements with the pitch, to the point that he appeared to be an excellent candidate for the Arizona Fall League to continue that work. In particular, his last seven starts saw him strikeout 43 batters in 42 innings, which was much better than his 5.8 SO/9IP up to that point in his career.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.