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Friday, May 17, 2019

The Texas Size Skill Set of Joey Gallo

"I hear the train a comin', it's rollin' 'round the bend"

by Harry Cummins

     When 25 year-old Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo's 100th career home run splashed into Pittsburgh's Allegheny River recently, Gallo landed in the record books as the fastest ever to reach 100 home runs in baseball history.

    He also gained notoriety as the first MLB player ever to hit 100 home runs before hitting 100 singles. (major reason: Gallo sees a shift on 96 percent of his plate appearances, more than any other hitter in baseball)

    Unfortunately, this bit of double-edged news distorts the player that Joey Gallo is fast becoming in 2019. At this writing, ( May 24), he is hitting .293 with 15 home runs and 35 RBI's as the season nears the 1/3rd mark..  It is getting much harder to recognize the classic whiff or whack, three true outcomes Joey Gallo of yesteryear, replaced instead by a player possessing a tantalizing twist of true  all-around greatness.

     Last season, Gallo chased 26.7% of fastballs outside the strike zone. This season, that number is just 11.9%, the 4th lowest in baseball, right behind Mike Trout at 11.4%. His walk rate is up from 12.8% to 19.1% this year, the largest jump in baseball.  When measuring fastballs inside the zone, Gallo is slugging (OPS) 1,02l%, the best in all of major league baseball.

    Suddenly, in just his 4th season, Joey Gallo's name is popping up in unexpected places on the statistical charts along with positions on the playing field.  At present, the 6'5, 250 pound Gallo, a converted infielder,  is patrolling center-field for the Rangers.

     Once groomed as the heir to Adrian Beltre at 3rd base, he now resembles a new Josh Hamilton in the outer pastures of Arlington.  STATCAST shows Gallo with the 2nd best OF arm in baseball. In the Rangers last game, Gallo gunned down Kolten Wong of the Cardinals at third base with a 97 mph throw from CF.  It was his 6th outfield assist of the young season.  Gallo was once clocked as a high school pitcher in Nevada at nearly 100 mph.

     You are right to wonder what a player of Gallo's girth is doing in center field.  Make no mistake, Joey Gallo can run.  On the present Rangers roster, perhaps only the speedy Delino DeShields may be faster going from 1st to 3rd. Gallo is a perfect 3 for 3 in stolen bases this season. Check out the picture accompanying this story to witness the running form of Gallo in full flight as he circles the bases in 2017 on an inside-the-park home run against Toronto.

     With a walk rate second in baseball only to Mike Trout, it is fascinating to conceive of the time to come when Gallo begins to steal more bases.  When that happens, it will surely mark the day  Gallo will be universally recognized for what he is now becoming, the best player in the game!

     Til then, we are left with that majestic upper-cut swing that approaches a profound religious experience. Left,also,with watching baseballs vanish with the height and hang-time of a rocket-ride while being disfigured by an average exit velocity of 99.1 mph!

     If you play fantasy baseball, approach Gallo's owner in your league right now and cough up whatever you can to acquire him while there is yet time.

     I hear the train a comin'...can you?

Bye-bye baseball. Gallo has the top exit velocity and hard hit rate in baseball



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