Getting to CHS Field

Saints Trade For Three-Time All-Star Gallas, Re-Sign Vavra and Ink Pitcher Nittoli

ST. PAUL, MN April 26, 2017

It’s now become a sprint to finish off the roster before players report for the first workout on May 6 and St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis was busy making sure he added more key pieces for the season.  In a flurry of activity the Saints received power hitting outfielder Anthony Gallas from the Kansas City T-Bones for a player to be named later, re-signed infielder Tanner Vavra and signed hard throwing right-handed pitcher Vinny Nittoli.


          The 29-year-old Gallas is a three-time All-Star who began 2016 at Double-A in the Cleveland Indians organization before being released after four games.  He was signed by the Kansas City T-Bones, in the American Association, and hit .221 with 16 home runs and 48 RBI in 91 games.  In 335 at bats he scored 59 runs, smacked 11 doubles, three triples, had a .322 on base percentage and a .415 slugging percentage.  He led the T-Bones in home runs and runs scored and was second in RBI.


          Gallas was not drafted despite putting up record breaking numbers at Kent State University and was signed as a non-drafted free agent by his hometown Cleveland Indians in 2010.  He hit .276 in 50 games in the Arizona League and had a 14-game hitting streak and reached base safely in 18 consecutive games that season.  His impressive numbers got him a late season promotion to Low-A Mahoning Valley.


          In 2011 Gallas began the season with Single-A Lake County where he hit .314 with six home runs and 21 RBI in 57 games.  His time in Lake County was highlighted by another 14-game hitting streak and reaching base safely in 27 consecutive games.  He was selected to his first of three All-Star Games when he was chosen to participate in the Midwest League All-Star Game.  He did not play, however, because he was called up to High-A prior to the game.


          Gallas spent most of 2012 at High-A Carolina where he hit .250 with eight home runs and 51 RBI in 107 games.  He was called up to Triple-A Columbus on August 24.


          After missing most of 2013 following surgery on a torn labrum in his right hip, Gallas came back strong in 2014 and tore up the Carolina League hitting .276 with eight homers and 31 RBI in 58 games.  He was selected to the Carolina League-California League All-Star Game, but once again did not participate because he was promoted to Double-A Akron a week prior to the game.  With Akron Gallas hit .293 with 16 home runs and 49 RBI in 73 games.  Gallas led the entire Indians Minor League system in home runs (24), doubles (37), hits (143), slugging (.511), OPS (.845) and total bases (156).  He was chosen an Organizational All-Star. 


          Gallas was finally able to play in an All-Star Game in 2015 where he had a strong season at Double-A Akron hitting .266 with 12 homers and 43 RBI in 88 games.  He went 2-4 with a double and an RBI in the All-Star Game.  Gallas played 30 games at Triple-A Columbus and hit 17 homers between the two stops, fourth most in the Indians system that season.  Columbus went on to win the International League Championship.


           At Kent State Gallas was a 1st Team All-American as a senior and is the all-time leader in school history in home runs, RBI and walks.  He is also the only player in Mid-American Conference history with over 250 hits, 200 runs and 200 RBI.


          The 27-year-old Vavra returns for his second season with the Saints after hitting .270 with 21 RBI in 75 games last season.  In 270 at bats he scored 33 runs, had 12 doubles, two triples, stole nine bases, had a .306 on base percentage and a .331 slugging percentage.  Vavra set a career high by hitting in 10 straight from June 2-13 and collecting his first ever four-hit game on August 5.


          Vavra was a 30th round selection in the First Year Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins in 2013 out of Valparaiso University.  In his first season with the Twins organization, Vavra spent the entire year with the Elizabethton Twins in the Rookie Appalachian League.  He hit .246 with no home runs and eight RBI in 42 games. 


In 2014 Vavra had a solid season with Single-A Cedar Rapids where he hit .258 with a home run and 22 RBI in 81 games. 


Vavra spent the entire 2015 season at High-A Fort Myers where he hit .258 with no home runs and 19 RBI in 87 games. 


The 27-year-old Nittoli was impressive last season between Single-A Clinton and High-A Bakersfield.  Between the two stops he was 5-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 40 relief appearances.  In 65.0 innings pitched he walked 23 and struck out 74 while opponents hit just .231 against him.  He recorded at least one strikeout in his first 20 relief appearances at High-A Bakersfield.  He did not give up an earned run in 18 of his 31 appearances at Bakersfield and pitched at least 2.0 innings 18 different times.


Nittoli was a 25th round selection by the Seattle Mariners in 2014 out of Xavier University.  In 12 relief appearances that season at Low-A Everett he went 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA.  He was placed on the disabled list late in the season and didn’t begin 2015 until July 28.  Nittoli pitched in just seven games in 2015 and was 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA.


The Saints have signed 19 players this off-season, 11 position players and eight pitchers. 


          The 2017 season begins on Thursday, May 18 at CHS Field with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats.