In American Association Daily, The Minor League Sports Reports’ Robert Pannier examines the trade that sent David Palladino from the Texas AirHogs to the Lincoln Saltdogs in exchange for Travis Ballew.
Texas AirHogs and Lincoln Saltdogs Make Deal
On Monday, the Texas AirHogs and Lincoln Saltdogs made a deal, swapping right-handed pitchers. The AirHogs acquired Travis Ballew while David Palladino was sent to the Saltdogs.
How This Helps the Saltdogs
David Palladino is a big right-hander, coming in a 6-8, 235. He spent five seasons in the New York Yankees system before joining Rockland (Can-Am League) last year. His release from the Yankees farm system is a bit perplexing. While he did not reach above High-A Tampa, Palladino put up outstanding numbers in his final season with the club, going 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in 15 games between Tampa and Low-A Staten Island. He struck out 38 in 27.2 innings, while walking just four.
Last season, the righty put up great numbers for Rockland. In 20 appearances, 12 starts, Palladino was 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA. He struck out 79 in 71.0 innings pitched, allowing 59 hits and 33 walks.
In 2018, Lincoln battled through an underachieving starting staff. It was the primary reason why the club did reach the playoffs for the second straight season. Manager Bobby Brown has made his pitching staff his primary focus, already adding Cesilio Pimentel and Austin Boyle. They will join Derek Gordon in what could be a top two or three staff in the American Association.
The South Division looks like it will be the class of the league again, especially with Cleburne greatly improved, so Brown had to address his pitching staff with some bold moves if this team is going to compete. The addition of Paladino adds to an already dangerous club.
How This Helps the AirHogs
The Texas AirHogs are probably at least one season away from being competitive but, last year, their band of Chinese players did improve greatly as the season progressed. One area where the team could use some help is getting from their starting staff to closer Carlos Contreras. Travis Ballew is the kind of dependable reliever that could be a great seventh or eighth inning guy.
Ballew was a Houston Astros and Miami Marlins prospect for five seasons before joining the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in 2016. He posted a 1.64 ERA in 10 appearances, earning a return to the Marlins in 2017.
In 2018, he returned to the RedHawks, going 5-2 in 49 appearances. Ballew tossed 63.0 innings, allowing 57 hits and 32 walks, while striking out 54. If he can reduce his walk total, he could be a huge addition to the club’s bullpen.
Texas may not compete for a league title, but they will be a lot more difficult to face with Ballew coming out of the pen.
Featured Image Courtesy of Bronx Baseball Daily
By Robert Pannier