Who is Joey Gallo?
Joey Gallo is a 19 year old left handed third baseman, drafted out of Bishop Gorman High School (Nevada) by the Rangers in the supplemental round of the 2012 draft (as a compensatory pick for the Angels signing CJ Wilson). After being drafted, Gallo spent last season between the Arizona Rookie League team and short-season Spokane.
He spends most of his time hitting dingers, but he also sometimes hits dongs, bombs, and moonshots. Occasionally he hits the ball and it does not land on the other side of an outfield fence, too. You'd likely be hearing more about Gallo as a trade chip right now, but he strained his groin a few weeks ago and has been working back at the Arizona team facility.
Joey Gallo will succeed because of:
If there are minor leaguers with more real power to hit a baseball a far, far way than Gallo, there aren't many. And if there are, it is likely that Gallo is 100 per cent more left handed than them. In 142 minor league games to date, Gallo has hit 48 home runs. Since 2010, only one major-league hitters has hit more than 48 home runs in a season. That hitter was Joey Bautista.
Gallo has spent the season jockeying with teammate Ryan Rua for the Minor League Lead in home runs, which is impressive because he's:
A. 19 years old
B: In Hickory, which is not the hitter's paradise that exists in Bakersfield or Nevada
C: Doing so while playing a high-value position, in third base.
Gallo's not solely a one-trick pony, as he can also take a walk. He's walking in ten percent of his plate appearances this season, which would be second-best on the Rangers right now according to my back-of-the-envelope math. Guys who walk a lot and hit a lot of home runs tend to be pretty good.
Joey Gallo will fail because of:
Hitting the ball.
If you've read this far, you know that bad things happen to baseballs when Joey Gallo connects with them.
The problem is when he doesn't. Gallo has 70 hits this season, and 26 of them have left the park. The last number is great; the first is a bit scary. It leads to a .225 batting average. I'll be the first to tell you that batting average isn't a stat you should use when you want to tell a story about a player, because it's narrow in scope and it doesn't include a lot of very useful information. But in this case, it can tell you what you need to know: Gallo's likely to never hit for a high average. He's struck out in 35 per cent of his plate appearances this season.
That's ok, generally, because of all the power and all the walks. But it narrows down the likelihood of success. A guy who can hit 225 in low-A might hit 210 in High-A, and 195 in AA, and... you can see how this is becoming a problem?
Of course, baseball (and particularly prospecting) is a game of adjustments, and it's possible Gallo learns to adjust without losing his massive power, and in that case he'll be an All Star and we'll all probably go buy his jersey. But baseball is cruel, and it's generally wise to bet on baseball instead of the player.
There's also the likelihood Gallo loses another of those things that makes him so good, and that's his defensive postion. Gallo's 6-5. The only prominent third basemen in the league right now who are taller than 6-3 are Miguel Cabrera (who's only playing 3B because of Prince Fielder, and who is also the best hitter on the planet) and Will Middlebrooks. Third is a hard place to stick at, and his value takes a dip if he has to go to Right, Left, or First. Gallo's throwing arm is nearly as good as his power is, so a spot in a corner in the outfield isn't too unlikely.
A baseball player Gallo should remind you of:
He's tall, left-handed, very powerful, walks a lot, and strikes out even more. I would be guilty of an actual misdemeanor if I didn't say Adam Dunn, which is a problem because Dunn is a very unique player, which reinforces the idea that Gallo treads a treacherous development path.
A retired professional wrestler Gallo should remind you of:
I'm torn on this. There's a substantial argument to be made for Lex Luger, given that Gallo's a big, strong, good looking dude with a limited repertoire, but the fit to Ultimate Warrior is a little better, given that Warrior had superior mobility compared to Luger, and Gallo's more than a plodding baseclogger. Also, Mike Olt isn't around anywhere, so there's no one who takes that title from him simply by having a better-fitting name.
In one year, Gallo will be:
Hopefully, getting his first taste of Frisco, and replacing some of those strikeouts with singles. More likely, Gallo spends all of next season in Myrtle Beach (and shouldn't we all be so lucky?). In any event, Adrian Beltre doesn't need to worry about Gallo any time soon.
Joseph Ursery dabbles in prospecting, which means a very different thing on the internet than it does on an oil field. He can answer all questions about Joey Gallo or the price of petroleum on Twitter at @thejoeursery.