Texas Rangers Prospect Profile: Joey Gallo

by Matthew Roberts | Posted on Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
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joey gallo

With pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training over the weekend, it is time to finally start getting excited for the on-field production of young invitees as they mix and mingle with the veterans. In this case, the spotlight shines brightest on Joey Gallo, the Texas Rangers‘ top prospect and Baseball America’s No. 6 overall prospect heading into spring training.

It was announced back in January that Gallo received an invitation to major league spring training, and the rationale is apparent. Prior to winning the Rangers’ internal 2014 Minor League Player of the Year award at the team’s awards banquet in January, Gallo, 21, slugged an incredible 42 home runs between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco in 2014. Gallo’s prodigious power was most prominently on display during the last year’s Futures Game during the All-Star festivities when Gallo launched a mammoth two-run home run that proved to be the game-winner in the U.S.’s 3-2 victory over the World players.

The star is bright for Gallo who possesses that rare raw 80 rated power that, as a left-handed hitter, will play very well in the jet stream at Globe Life Park in Arlington. However, despite the invitation to major league spring training, Gallo has a lot of work ahead of him before he is contributing at the major league level. In addition to that 80-grade power, prior to 2014, Gallo was judged to have an 80-grade swing-and-miss by Jason Park at Baseball Prospectus due in large part to an incredibly long swing as shown in that home run video above. That elite level swing-and-miss can more than counteract elite level power and prevent Gallo from making the advanced progress needed to contribute at the major league level.

To Gallo’s credit, he drastically reduced his strikeout rate from an atrocious 37.2% in 2013 to a more palatable 26.3% during his first half stint with High-A Myrtle Beach. This, in conjunction with his .323 batting average and 21 home runs in 58 games, led to a promotion to Double-A Frisco where his strikeout rate ballooned again. In 68 games he struck out 115 times, for an ugly 39.6% rate, worse than his rate in 2013. It did not sap his power as he still slugged 21 home runs, but his batting average registered at .232.

If Gallo finds a similar reduction in his strikeout rate to start this year at (presumably) Double-A as he did to start High-A last year, a pattern of behavior will begin to emerge that should get all Rangers fans very excited about the potential of Gallo making the necessary adjustments at every level and fulfilling his raw power projections. In the meantime, despite the Rangers’ current lack of options at DH, fans need to remain patient and allow the system to work. At 21, Gallo is in rare company of executing on his raw power at such an early age, and he can now focus on his strike zone control.

At this rate, contribution at the major league level in late 2016 should be as optimistic as any fan can be regarding Gallo, but if he continues to adjust and progress as he demonstrated in 2014, the sky is literally the limit for the Rangers’ top prospect. In the meantime, we can hope for some glimpses in Arizona this spring.

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Matthew Roberts
About the Author

Matthew cut his teeth on baseball during $2 Bleacher Wednesdays at the old Arlington Stadium in the 1980's and has loved the Texas Rangers ever since. When he's not teaching his young son to throw a wicked circle change, he enjoys the six month friendly rivalry with his wife and her precious Oakland A's. Follow him on Twitter @ifithasballs.

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