Gallo's father, Tony, pitched in the Montreal Expos' organization. But he knows a hitter when he sees one. "Ever since he picked up a Wiffle ball bat at age 3, Joey always wanted to hit,” Anthony said. “He pitched because he could throw hard, but hitting was his first love.”
- Gallo started at third base as a freshman for Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, a program coming off three straight state championships, and hit 21 home runs in his first two seasons before taking his game to a new level.
“My junior year, I started to hit the weight room and began to dedicate myself,” Gallo said.
He became a gym rat, working out under the supervision of teammate Johnny Field’s uncle at 4:00 a.m. Running in sand pits, TRX suspension training and explosive plyometrics began to fill Gallo’s lean 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame. Flexibility coaches trimmed his 60-yard dash time to 6.9 seconds. Translating these physical gains to hitting improvements, Gallo worked with four-time National League batting champ Bill Madlock.
The lefty-hitting Gallo, who took Greg Maddux’s daughter to the prom, led the country with 25 homers as a junior.
In 2012, Joey graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.
He hit .509 with 21 home runs and 80 RBI in 2012. And in his high school career, Gallo's 65 home runs broke the Nevada state career record. Gallo was named an All-American.
Gallo also pitched in high school, and reportedly hit 100 mph. He might have been drafted higher if projected as a pitcher but indicated he wanted to play every day. And Joey posted a 1.54 ERA on the mound, threw a no-hitter, and notched 23 strikeouts in 14 innings.
- In 2012, during his first pro season, Gallo homered every 8.3 at-bats—a rate no qualified minor leaguer at any level in modern times has matched. To put his dominance in further perspective, only Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire surpassed that threshold in the Majors.
In 43 Arizona League games, Gallo batted .293/.435/.733, and his .440 isolated slugging percentage also set a league record.
In 2013, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Gallo as the 10th-best prospect in the Rangers organization. They moved him up to #5 in the winter before 2014 spring camps opened.
Then, in the offseason before 2015 spring training, they rated Joey a the #1 prospect in the Rangers organization. And he was back on top in the spring of 2016.
In 2013, Gallo became the first teenager in 52 years to hit 40 home runs in a season. To do so, he averaged a home run every 10.28 at-bats, an impressive rate.
During the winter before 2014 spring training, Joey worked on his mechanics at the plate with Jason Giambi, who taught the 20-year-old a lot about hitting, starting with the importance of finding a comfortable stance and sticking with it.
"I went through a lot of stances and approaches last year," Gallo said late in May, 2014. "I worked out a little bit of a different approach out there. I'm just going up there now with more of a plan."
Gallo also is working on keeping his hands back and slowing down at the plate. He's focusing more on consistently putting the ball in play, taking pitches and drawing those walks. He gives Giambi a lot of credit for helping him change his ways.
"You're getting advice from a top-notch Major League Baseball player," Gallo said. "Jason, he definitely knows what he's doing and what he's talking about. It's all pretty simple."
In 2014, Joey was chosen to the Futures All-Star game roster. And, in Baseball America's annual survey of minor league managers, Gallo was named as "Most Exciting Player," "Best Infield Arm," "Best Batting Prospect," and "Best Power Prospect" for 2014 in the Carolina League.
In 2014, managers around the Carolina League were extremely impressed by Gallo. "I think he was the best player overall, with his defense, arm, strength and power,” Winston-Salem manager Tommy Thompson said. “He hustles. He’s a joy to watch, even though he’s on the other team.”
Gallo possesses the raw power to hit 40 home runs per season in the big leagues, though hitting for average might not be in the cards. He had trouble making contact with Frisco, striking out 115 times in 250 at-bats and hitting just .232, but that didn’t sway Carolina League managers. A solid defensive third baseman, he shows consistently double-plus arm strength.
“He’ll be a slugger in the big leagues,” Lynchburg manager Luis Salazar said. “Those guys aren’t easy to find.”
In 2014, Gallo was named the Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year in the Rangers organization.
GROWING UP WITH FUTURE MAJOR LEAGUERS
Mike Bryant taught his son Kris Bryant of the Cubs, and Joey Gallo of the Rangers, how to hit while they were growing up in Las Vegas.
Gallo and Bryce Harper played on the same youth team for four or five years before going off to different high schools. According to the Myrtle Beach Sun Times, the two remain close and still talk regularly.
Gallo has known Jason Giambi since he was 10 years old and has worked out with him for two years in Las Vegas. "He's my biggest mentor," Gallo said. "Just not only being a good player but being a good person and handling certain situations. I honestly don't know if I would be where I am right now without him.
"He has been through so many situations. We talk about that and on the field stuff: don't get too frustrated, play with your heart, don't play with your head. Enjoy the game because it is going to go by quick. He's helped me enjoy the process instead of being impatient and trying to rush my way to the Major Leagues." (Sullivan - mlb.com - 2/18/15)
October 2015: Infielder Joey Gallo finished the season as the Rangers' No. 1 Minor League prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. He is also looking at more time in the Minor Leagues as he tries to build on a difficult 2015. After beginning his professional career with three impressive seasons, Gallo's development was knocked off kilter by an unexpected series of events.
His season began with three lost weeks after he underwent surgery on his left ankle. He had an excellent first month at Double-A Frisco, but a planned promotion to Triple-A was changed by Adrian Beltre's thumb injury. Instead of reporting to Round Rock, Gallo spent June with the Rangers trying to handle big league pitching and playing third base.
"When Adrian went down at the end of May with the thumb, internally we had the discussion," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We talked openly that. Hey, Joey was the biggest upside player that we had when you're talking about taking Adrian out of the lineup. We acknowledged at the time that [Gallo] was not 100 percent ready, and if not for the injury, he was ready to move up to Triple-A and not the big leagues."
Gallo struck out 57 times in 123 plate appearances late in 2015 with the Rangers. His rate of one strikeout for every 2.16 plate appearances was the highest in a season in the American League for one player with a minimum of 100 plate appearances since the designated hitter was adopted in 1973.
The early surgery didn't help. Gallo said he spent the rest of the year trying to regain the strength in his legs and never did catch up. That is why he spent the winter in Las Vegas on a rigorous conditioning program rather than play winter ball.
"I thought [Gallo] handled the challenge well," Daniels said. "He helped us win a couple games. Ultimately, the big leagues are hard. They're really hard. The game's really hard. I think he will ultimately be better for all the challenges he faced this year, but he's got more development time ahead of him." (T R Sullivan - MLB.com - October 20, 2015)
In 2015, Gallo wore No. 70 on his Cactus League uniform. In 2016, he's got No. 13. That says a lot about where he has traveled in the days between his first and second Major League Spring Training camps. Gallo, after 108 Major League at-bats in 2015, arrived in the Texas clubhouse in Surprise more at ease in his surroundings. That, he says, has allowed him to put all of his concentration into what he needs to go do turn those 108 into a lot more.
"It's different knowing everybody and being more comfortable," said Gallo. "The first camp, you're just trying to get to know everybody. It's pretty nice now to have been here before. It makes it a little easier on you.
"At first, you just kind of want to blend in. You just go out there and do your work. But now, in my second year and after being in the big leagues, you can kind of joke around with everybody and everyone's a little more comfortable with me, so it's a little more fun." (Miller - MLB.com - 3/7/16)
There is one adjustment Gallo is trying to make that towers over all others at Spring Training 2017. He is trying to take the weight of the world off his shoulders and stop getting down on himself. He is trying to tune out all the hype and just play baseball.
"I used to care about all that stuff," Gallo said. "You're always trying to prove something. I wanted people to look at me and say I'm a great baseball player. Now I don't care what people think. All I care about is what I think, and my teammates think and my family. I'm not listening to all that noise and outside distractions. People can have their opinions. I'm just going to go out and play."
The consensus opinion about Gallo has always been that he has prodigious power -- the kind rarely seen in any team's farm system, the kind that always leads to unrealistic expectations. It can also create an irresistible desire to accelerate what should be the normal developmental process and force something to happen too quickly. Gallo has been fighting that battle for several years and not always winning. That can wear down anybody.
"Oh yeah … yeah," he said. "We all do it, it's part of it. Everybody has a bad game and you get frustrated. But the guys who become good at this, if they have a bad game, they go home and sleep at night and come back with a new perspective. The important thing is to keep your routine and a strong outlook without getting frustrated or down on yourself."
"It's ridiculous to get upset," he said. "It's been frustrating because you want to be a great player. But I've come to realize that it's a marathon, not a sprint. It's going to take time to be the player I want to be.
"When you get here at the age I did, you want to have success right away. If it doesn't work that way, it gets frustrating. But I know I have a lot to learn. What have I had up here, 100 at-bats? That's not even a season. That's a 30-game stretch. That's nothing." (Sullivan - mlb.com - 3/17/17)
Dec 25, 2017: Rangers infielder Joey Gallo had many big moments in 2017. The one he remembers most is a walk-off three-run homer against the Athletics at Globe Life Park. The date was May 12 and Gallo entered the game hitting .200 with 54 strikeouts in 115 at-bats. He was in the big leagues only because Adrian Beltre was on the disabled list, and it seemed to be a day-to-day proposition.
"Probably the best moment ... because I still wasn't sure if I was going to be up here for the whole year," Gallo said. "I wasn't sure if I was going to get moved down or what. To help the team in that fashion was huge for the team and huge for my confidence."
The home run came just as the Texas weather was warming up. Now it is the cool of winter and Gallo is able to sit back and relax. His first full season in the Major Leagues is over and he can enjoy the memories while eagerly awaiting Spring Training. The best thing about the holiday season for Gallo is that he finally understands he belongs in the big leagues and is brimming with confidence that it is only going to get better. Old doubts fade from view after he led the Rangers with 41 home runs, the third most in the American League.
"Last year I came into the season and Spring Training thinking hopefully I can find a way to make the team, hopefully I can get some at-bats in the big leagues," Gallo said. "This year, I feel I am a key component on the team. I'm focused on winning and focused on the team more than just myself and improving individually. Now I want the team to improve. Not that I didn't in the past, but I didn't even know if I was going to be a part of the team. So now that I know, I'm excited and ready to get back on pace and do what the [World Series champion] Astros did this year. I want that to be us."
There is still the unknown about what position Gallo will be playing, a question the Rangers aren't eager to decide just yet. There will also be plenty of time in Spring Training for the obligatory questions and answers about cutting down the strikeouts or hitting to the opposite field. They are all on-field factors that matter during the course of a 162-game season. But what matters most for Gallo this winter is his positive frame of mind.
"I'm really excited about it," Gallo said. "I'm really excited for Spring Training to start, and I'm usually not. But after watching the postseason, I'm like, 'Let's get going.' I want this team back on the field and see what we can do. Let's have a fresh start. It will be 'game on.' "It's more for me mentally. I have always prided myself on being in the best shape physically, even when I was in rookie ball. To me it's more mental, thinking about the game and the team and the upcoming season in a different way than I have in the past. I think that will have a benefit not only to me, but to the team as well."
Gallo lives in Las Vegas in the offseason. It his hometown, and it just happens to be the birthplace of 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant and the 2015 winner, Bryce Harper. Las Vegas can shrink considerably once you get away from the entertainment meccas and the local boys all know each other. They grew up playing in the same leagues and working out in many of the same gyms. They are all friends, but now Gallo can stand a little taller among the local Vegas superstars.
"They still get to do a lot cooler stuff than I get to do, which is fine," Gallo said. "I don't care about all that. It's nice to be around Bryce and I can tell him I hit more home runs than him -- even if he played only a half a year. "I don't think it was like they were looking at me like, 'He was a Minor Leaguer.' They always knew the potential I had growing up with them. I always felt I was just as good as them. But personally to be around those guys, it feels like I belong more because I did have some success in the big leagues. Now it's about keeping that level of success." (TR Sullivan - MLB.com - Dec 25, 2017)
2018- The transformation of Joey Gallo: How the Rangers slugger found his swing, his confidence, and himself: In the history of MLB, which puts a premium on young left-handed hitting power, there have been two occasions when a pair of lefties under the age of 24 each hit at least 35 home runs in a season.
One duo was that of Hall of Famers Chuck Klein and Mel Ott more than 80 years ago. The other is over there in the corner of the Boras Sports Training Institute gym finishing up a two-hour workout by using weighted hammers and comparing swing mechanics. Say hello to Joey Gallo and Cody Bellinger and their little friends. A year ago, this conversation would not have happened. Joey had just one hit and struck out in 19 of 25 major league at-bats in 2016 during three stints with the Rangers. When he did get an occasional at-bat, he looked crestfallen after the first strike and defeated after the second. Through parts of two seasons, he did not have a hit after falling behind 0-and-2. He tinkered with his swing after almost each fruitless at-bat.
He went home to Las Vegas and saw Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant, whom he's known since he was a kid, each with 40-homer seasons before the age of 25. Bryant was the toast of Vegas all winter as the NL Most Valuable Player and at the heart of the Chicago Cubs' world championship. Harper was out of the playoffs early as a player, but was all over the postseason on commercials. Both were stars, in high demand in a town that loves stars. Gallo, meanwhile, was left to play video games and mull his future. He wasn't sure who he was, but he knew he wasn't a peer to the guys with whom he grew up.
"I couldn't watch baseball, I couldn't sleep and I couldn't have fun," he said. "Baseball is all I worked for and I was worrying if it was ever going to happen for me. I questioned myself a lot. I didn't have a Plan B. I don't know anything else."
His mother, Laura Gallo, who can regale you with tales of willful, youthful Joey can attest. She said he idolized his older cousin when he was young, and when the cousin got a high school job bagging groceries, Joey proclaimed he was either going to be a "baseball player or a bagger at Ralph's."
"When he got home [in 2016], it was probably as low as I've ever seen him," Laura Gallo said. "He was second-guessing a lot of things. I could see he was down about a lot."
He also made a decision to leave well-respected, low-key agent Joel Wolfe for the more animated Scott Boras, who also represented Harper and Bryant. To fans and owners, Boras is often a polarizing figure. To his clients, though, he is most often an energetic advocate. He also has his own training facility on the campus of SOKA University. Boras also makes sports psychologists available to his clients.Gallo met with the psychologists and went through some workouts with younger players. He also met with Boras, who put his 2016 season in a different light. He emphasized progress at the minor league level.
"He believed in me," Gallo said. "He made me feel like I was the best player in the world. He made me understand how good I can be. I never felt like myself on the field," Gallo said of his first two seasons around the majors. "I set out to be myself. This is who I am. I can be very productive. It may look different to some, but everybody has a different way of contributing." (Evan Grant-Staff writer-Dallas Morning News-Feb. 20, 2018)
One AL evaluator says Gallo is still a "mistake hitter, just a very dangerous one," but also allowed that he made approach improvements over the course of the year. The evaluator said Gallo must continue to learn what he can handle and what he can't, even if that means occasionally watching pitches in the strike zone.
Gallo isn't going to get defensive at the plate, but he said he must be more willing to drive the ball the opposite way. If pitchers are going to pitch him away, he must be willing to hit the ball that way. That will drive his batting average and OPS up.
"I want to try to continue doing what I did at the end of the year," Gallo said. "I want to keep my bat flat and go towards the middle of the field. I'm trying to drive the ball, but to drive it through center field."
It has been a wholly different winter for Joey Gallo.For instance, just a week ago when the world's biggest consumer technology convention, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), rolled through Las Vegas, Bryant, of course, was asked to be part of Lyft's publicity tour for self-driving cars. So, too, was Gallo, which was nice. More importantly, he has trained regularly and talked hitting with Harper. He has made more regular visits to the Boras facility to work out with a group. And he's spent the offseason focused on playing first base, where he was quite good in his first year last year, basically learning on the fly.
The other option would be left field. He is athletic enough to play left field well, but it can be a more burdensome position for a big player. He is athletic enough to play first well and big enough to save multiple errors with the target he presents.
"I think I can be a tremendous first baseman," he said. "I really enjoyed playing it. I felt fresher there. Feeling fresher, I think, translates into more offense and that's where I can really impact the game."
Joey says this with confidence.He knows how he can impact a game offensively.That is the difference in him from one year to the next.Joey Gallo, who had 41 home runs last year, will play all of 2018 at age 24, giving him the chance to become only the ninth player in history to have multiple 40-home run seasons before the age of 25. (Evan Grant-Staff writer-Dallas Morning News-Feb. 20, 2018)
Joey Gallo did break Statcast, it appears. During the 2017 season, Texas Ranger Joey Gallo had a number of booming, moonshot, tape measure home runs that appeared to go much farther than the Statcast system reported. It led to much questioning from fans, players, and the media about whether Gallo had simply broken the Statcast system.
Well, apparently, that’s what happened. Buried at the bottom of his latest notes column, Gerry Fraley writes that Statcast had to “re-work” its system this offseason because of Gallo, as Gallo apparently “overpowered” the system. So this year, when Gallo hits a home run to the same general area that Statcast last year said was 445 feet, and every scoffed at, we can compare the results.
The Rangers have contemplated the idea of getting Joey back to playing third base. Gallo is against the idea. "I don't want. I don't like it," Gallo said. "I hate it, no joke. I hate third base."
Gallo was a third baseman coming up through the Rangers' Minor League system and always prided himself in playing the position. Over the past two years, he has played first base and left field as well. That has left Gallo with the impression that third base is the toughest of the three and not his best position. "I'd rather catch," he said. "No joke."
The idea came up because third baseman Adrian Beltre is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He also will be a free agent after the season. Right now, the plan is for Isiah Kiner-Falefa to play third base. Manager Jeff Banister said the Rangers have talked about Gallo playing third, but no plan has been put in place.
Gallo continues to play left field and occasionally will move to first base when Ronald Guzman sits against left-handed pitching. Gallo said he would play third base if asked.
"I'll play there. I have no problem playing there," Gallo said. "It's a tough spot to be in. No one has even asked me, but if they did, I'd tell them I'm playing." (Sullivan - mlb.com - 5/16/18)
March 30, 2019: The Cubs-Rangers series marks the first Major League meeting between Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo. The two sluggers were childhood friends growing up in Las Vegas.
“Yeah, it’s crazy to see him out there,” Gallo said. “His family is here. My family is here. Our families grew up together so it’s cool seeing us on the field when we were 5-6-7 years old to in the big leagues playing on Opening Day against each other. It’s pretty crazy.”
Bryant is 22 months older than Gallo. He went to Bonanza High School and graduated in 2010 while Gallo went to Bishop Gorman and was drafted by the Rangers in 2012. Bryant was drafted in 2013 out of the University of San Diego.
Both their fathers – Mike Bryant and Tony Gallo – were active as close friends and youth baseball coaches in the Las Vegas area. Their sons first connected as professionals when they represented the United States in the 2014 All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis.
“I’m proud as hell of him,” Gallo said. “He’s put in a lot of work. I’ve seen him since he was a little kid and now he’s a grown man who’s an MVP. I’m really proud of him for that.” (TR Sullivan - MLB.com - March 30, 2019)
Gallo grew up a huge fan of the New York Giants. In fact, he was a fan of all the New York teams.
Gallo adopted a kangaroo. He did it because baby kangaroo's are called Joeys. He does not keep the kangaroo, but sponsors having it taken care of. (Intentional Talk- 2019)
July 2, 2019: Gallo received his first selection to the All-Star Game.
July 10, 2019: Joey showed the world just how hard he can hit a baseball during the 90th MLB All-Star Game. He also reinforced just how far he has come as a player in 2019 in not only making his first All-Star Game but having a significant impact in the American League’s 4-3 victory over the National League at Progressive Field.
Gallo, thriving in the big spotlight, smashed a first-pitch home run off Giants reliever Will Smith in the bottom of the seventh inning that gave the AL a 4-1 lead.
“It was crazy,” Gallo said. “Like running around the bases, I really didn’t understand the magnitude of it: I just hit a home run in the All-Star Game. Watching this game growing up, and now I hit a home run in it. It’s pretty special. I think I have to take a step back. Everything happened so quick. I can’t even think about what just happened.”
“I got in the box and was hoping to make contact,” Gallo said. “I got a pretty good pitch to hit, and I hit it. That’s pretty much it. I was just trying to put the ball in play, honestly. Just got a pretty good pitch and got the barrel on it.”
“I worked very hard my whole life to get to this moment and be an All-Star in the big leagues. I definitely felt proud of myself, but at the same time, it was pretty humbling to be out on that line. I mean, I just kept hearing them announce all these superstars’ names, and then they said my name, and I’m like, `Oh, wow, I’m actually here in this line with Mike Trout, George Springer, Mookie Betts.’ It’s pretty special to be on that field.” (Sullivan - mlb.com)
June 2012: The Rangers chose Gallo in the compensation portion of the first round, the 39th player chosen overall, out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. And Joey signed with scout Todd Guggiana for $2.25 million, nearly double the assigned MLB slot amount of $1,324,800.
|Home:||N/A||Team:||RANGERS - IL|
|Birth City:||Las Vegas, NV|
|Draft:||Rangers #1 (Comp) - 2012 - Out of high school (NV)|
Gallo has impressive raw lefthanded power. When he squares one up on the barrel, it is going a long way. It is easy power and it is to all fields. He has 80 power—top-of-the-scale on the 20-80 scouting scale. And his hitting for average is rated as 45 fringe—average batting ability.
Joey is a strong middle-of-the-order, run-producing slugger. He works pitchers deep into counts, looking for a pitch he can bash the hell out of. That leads to a lot of Ks, but also a lot of walks, as pitcher work Gallo so carefully. (Spring, 2017)
Gallo's majestic power is rivaled only by Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins. And he continues to search for a swing that will help him make contact more consistently without losing his unmatched raw power.
“He’s got power. He’s got the ability to even mis-hit a ball and be able to hit the ball out to both sides of the ballpark. He doesn’t have to be strictly a pull hitter to show power,” veteran hitting coach Rick Down said in September 2014. “That gives him the luxury of being able to hit the ball where it’s pitched. He needs to play and just be able to trust what he’s got. He separates himself from the masses of the pack with his swing and his ability to hit the ball for distance and power.”
Joey's long swing is not conducive to make consistent contact. He swings and misses a lot of pitches and racks up a lot of K's. But his bat speed is very good and he has very quick hands with good leverage in his swing. When he does make contact, the ball often travels a great distance.
Gallo gets a tremendous amount of backspin, loft, leverage and quick-twitch bat speed. He has the potential to produce regular 40-homer seasons. But his serious contact issues and high strikeout rate is because his long arms and long swing make it real tough to hit both high heat or soft stuff off the plate.
He has shortened his load to be more direct to the ball. (Spring 2015)
In 2015, a lot of pitchers in Triple-A and the Majors overmatched Gallo. It would help if Joey would stop chasing so many pitches out of the strike zone. He swings and misses too much. He just needs to shorten his path to the ball instead of expanding his strike zone.
In 2014, Joey's plate discipline improved markedly. He struck out much less. Gallo credits the improvement to an offseason spent working with the Indians' Jason Giambi. From conversations with Giambi, Gallo's been able to put together a better plan at the plate. Gallo is now less reactionary, doing far less "see ball, hit ball." Instead, he's taking note of pitchers' tendencies as they face other hitters and he's better anticipating which pitches he'll see in which situations.
There were also physical changes. In 2014, the barrel of the bat is more vertical, and Gallo's hands are held in tight near his shoulder. He's also much taller in his overall posture. He also keeps his hands closer to his body. And, he pulls his right knee in while turning his hips back, not unlike fellow Las Vegas native Bryce Harper.
Joey's hand movement is probably the starkest change. In 2013, Gallo looped his hands back while dropping them and tilting the bat back up before whipping the barrel into the zone. Less evident but noticeable in other 2013 clips is that Gallo also used to tilt the barrel over his head toward the pitcher in a more extreme fashion.
In 2014, his path back and then forward is more direct. He extends his right arm straight back, keeping the barrel at roughly the same angle. Cutting down on that extra bat waggle may be helping Gallo connect more consistently when he does swing, especially on pitches with movement. In 2015, Joey struck out in nearly 40 percent of his plate appearances with the Round Rock Express.
- Joey works deep counts and will take a base on balls. As one opposing manager put it, Gallo’s approach in a 3-1 count and a 0-2 count are identical: He’s going to swing really hard and see what happens. Pitchers know they can get him to chase pitches out of the zone if they hit their spots.
Will Gallo develop the pitch recognition to get into more counts where he can drive the ball? That’s where the future gets murky. If he does, he could be a 30-home run hitter in the big leagues. But if he doesn’t, he’ll likely settle into a comfortable life as a 4-A slugger.
- In 2013, Hickory Crawdads hitting coach Justin Mashore endeavored to make sure everyone wasn’t so jumpy at the plate.
“One of the big things is getting ready to hit,” Gallo said. “Sometimes we load up late and we’re not ready to hit. I’m trying to keep my weight back and trying not to jump at the ball.”
Just before 2014 spring training, Baseball America's Ben Badler had this to say about Gallo:
"I find Gallo completely fascinating, and I wish I had a better answer for you, but it’s such an unusual, extreme skill set that I have a hard time pegging what he’s going to be because the range of potential outcomes for him are so wide. If you go back through history and look at the track record of successful big league hitters and what their strikeout rate was in Low-A, it’s hard to find anyone who struck out as much as Gallo did. Russ Branyan is probably the closest example, but even guys like Stanton, Ryan Howard, and other high-K hitters in the minors weren’t close to what Gallo did. Then again, Gallo was only 19 last season and has true 80 raw power, which isn’t something I throw around lightly.
"My inclination is he follows the Branyan path, but there’s a reasonable chance he doesn’t make the adjustment to be anything more than a 4-A slugger and follows in the footsteps of the guy who’s Arizona League home run record he broke, Wladimir Balentien. But if he can take some huge steps forward with his swing and his approach, it’s impossible to ignore the monster upside he brings to the table. If that sounds like a wishy-washy answer, I’m fine with that, because the uncertainty level around him is just so high. And talking to scouts who are all over the map on Gallo definitely reflects the uncertainty with him," Badler finished.
Joey will always have to work to keep his swing short—something that will always be a challenge with his long levers—and learn that he doesn’t have to swing for the fences every time.
Gallo walked 14 percent of the time in the minors in 2015, so even if he’s a .250 hitter, he should draw plenty of walks and have the power to be a middle-of-the-order force.
July 13, 2014 Futures Game: Unlike with the All-Star Game, there is no Home Run Derby at the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game. If there had been, Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo would have run away with the title.
During batting practice, Gallo led all players with 15 home runs, many of the tape-measure variety. He reached the third deck in right-center at Target Field with his first swing and hit five more balls there, including one with his final swing. He also hit three blasts to right field that carried all the way out of the park, including one that smashed the windshield of a vehicle outside.
- 2014 Season: Gallo's 42 homers set record for the most by a Rangers Minor Leaguer. And that is very impressive. However, he only hit. 179 with five home runs over his final 106 at-bats, when he proved vulnerable to breaking pitches on the outer half.
Gallo’s strike-zone discipline isn’t the issue as much as his two-strike approach, when he would benefit from shortening his swing. He’s a physical specimen with well above-average power generated by long arms, strong wrists and tremendous leverage.
2014: Gallo can take consolation in having been the home run leader for two Rangers minor league teams in the same year. That had never been accomplished in franchise history. Gallo’s total home run mark of 42 (21 in each league) also was an outstanding feat.
- MLB debut: On June 2, 2015, Gallo homered in second big league at-bat. Gallo joined the Rangers and made an immediate impact, singling home two runs in the first inning and then launching a two-run shot off White Sox righthander Jeff Samardzija to give Texas a 6-2 lead.
Gallo's first career homer was projected by Statcast to land 444 feet away from home plate!
June 3, 2015: Gallo became the first Rangers player to homer in each of his first two Major League games.
August 6, 2015: Gallo became the fifth player to hit three home runs in a game at Zephyr Field (New Orleans). Current Zephyrs hitting coach Damon Minor was the first to do so in 2003 while playing for Fresno, and was later joined by Nashville's Ryan Braun in 2007, the Zephyrs' Valentino Pascucci in 2008 and Tacoma's Mike Carp in 2011.
As of early in the spring of 2016, you can see Gallo's outstanding bat speed, strength, leverage and loft in his lefthanded swing.
While swing-and-miss always will be a big part of his game, his hit tool has impressed scouts who believe he’ll hit at least .250 in the majors. His strike-zone awareness and ability to draw walks will boost his on-base percentage.
He also has shown an ability to shorten his stroke with two strikes.
Gallo knows that he needs to get more disciplined at the plate, and that's what he's been focusing on in 2016 Spring Training. The results haven't been there early in Cactus League play.
"What I see from Joey, from the first day he got here, is his focus and commitment to his practice and his work," Rangers hitting coach Anthony Iapoce said. "He's really been diligent with his routine and staying within himself and being able to make decisions and make adjustments pitch to pitch in the cage, which is how you have to do things in order to translate that to the game.
"From what I see right now, he looks great. He's doing a great job. Great self-talk right now. He's not getting too down on himself. And it starts with practice and quiet work when you're focused in on what you're trying to accomplish each day, and then you just trust and believe in it during the game, and when it doesn't go your way, you go back to the cage and you build the trust within yourself."
It's hard not to get excited by the 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame and the swing that launches tape-measure blasts. But Gallo knows he has to improve to succeed at this level.
"I've learned a lot," he said. "Obviously, going to the Major Leagues and seeing the best pitching in the world, I went back and made adjustments. Now I feel 10 times better than I did at the plate. I'm just trying to be more patient, swing at pitches that are strikes and not let the pitcher get me out." (Miller - MLB.com - 3/7/16)
On August 29, 2017, Joey was putting together one of the strangest MLB seasons of all time. It's not because Gallo was mashing homers -- his 36 long balls, which had him just one off the American League lead, helped him fit right in in baseball's 2017 home run boom. No, it's because of just how much of Gallo's offense home runs account for.
The Rangers slugger didn't just have 36 home runs. Gallo also has only 20 singles to go along with them. That's right: he has 16 more home runs than singles. That puts Gallo in the company of a tiny collection of hitters. Only two players in Major League history have qualified for a batting title and finished with more homers than plain old base hits. You might recognize the names: Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, in the great home run chase years at the turn of the millennium. They did it three times between them -- McGwire in 1998 and 1999, and Bonds in 2001.
During Bonds' record-setting 73-homer season, everything coming off his bat was leaving the ballpark. He finished with 49 singles that year. Likewise with McGwire in 1998, when he outdueled Sammy Sosa to shatter Roger Maris' longstanding 61-homer mark by hitting 70 himself. Big Mac had 61 singles in that campaign, then followed it up in 1999 with a 65-homer, 58-single year.
Gallo isn't on pace to smash any home run records, but his season is more extreme than those of Bonds and McGwire. Gallo has 1.8 times the number of home runs as singles. Bonds' homers-to-singles ratio was 1.49. McGwire's was 1.15 in 1998 and 1.12 in 1999.
Think about this: Gallo has 36 homers and 72 total hits. Thanks to home run No. 36, his split of homers to non-home-run hits is now exactly 50-50. No qualified hitter has ever had home runs account for half his total hits in a season. (Bonds was closest, with his 73 homers in 2001 representing 47 percent of his 156 hits.)
And it's not like no one could have seen this coming. Even in his five Minor League seasons, he hit more home runs than singles in each campaign.
"That's just the player I am," Gallo said recently. "You look at just the way the field's shaped for me. I hit a line drive to the right side, I'm out. If I hit a ground ball to the right side, I'm out. As long as I'm putting together good at-bats or drawing walks, then for me, that's what's important." (Adler - mlb.com - 8/29/17)
September 30, 2017: Gallo became just the sixth player in Rangers history to crack the 40-homer mark and first since Josh Hamilton hit 43 in 2012. It marked his fourth career multi-homer game -- all at home, and all this season. He became the first Ranger with four-plus multi-homer games at home since Alfonso Soriano (five) and Mark Teixeira (four) in 2005.
2017: Joey Gallo did break Statcast, it appears. In 2017 Gallo d a number of booming, moonshot, tape measure home runs that appeared to go much farther than the Statcast system reported. It led to much questioning from fans, players, and the media about whether Gallo had simply broken the Statcast system.Well, apparently, that’s what happened. Buried at the bottom of his latest notes column, Gerry Fraley writes that Statcast had to “re-work” its system this offseason because of Gallo, as Gallo apparently “overpowered” the system.
May 6, 2018 : Gallo's second-inning home run -- coming with one out off Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez -- had an exit velocity of 116.8 mph. That's the hardest home run hit by the Rangers since Statcast™ began measuring in 2015.
- April 21, 2019: Since making his MLB debut in 2015, the Rangers slugger had never experienced the unbridled joy of hitting a sacrifice fly. Not once. But on Sunday, that changed, and it was glorious.
It took him 1,337 big-league plate appearances, but in the Rangers’ game against the Astros, Gallo finally hit a fly ball deep enough to score a runner from third base — his first sacrifice fly.
- May 8, 2019: Joey is a unique player. So it’s only fitting that his fourth-inning home run, the 100th of his career, in a 9-6 win over the Pirates at PNC Park put him atop a couple of record books. Gallo’s two-run homer, his 12th long ball of the year, came in his 377th career game. With it, he passed Mark McGwire (393) as quickest player to reach 100 homers in American League history. In the Major League record books, Ryan Howard (325) and Ralph Kiner (376) are the only players to get to the century mark in fewer games.
“Three years ago, if you had told me that I’d hit 100 home runs and I’d have this record, which is whatever, I would tell you, 'You’re crazy,'” Gallo said. “I’m proud of myself for getting to this point. It’s pretty special.”
The record-setting ball ricocheted off the bleachers in center field and bounced into the Allegheny River. And if anyone floating down the Allegheny sees this: If you spot the ball, know that Gallo would like that one back.
“They were asking for my stuff -- batting gloves, bat and all that,” Gallo said. “And I was like, I just want the ball. But they said, ‘It’s in the river, so we can’t get it.’”
Gallo is also alone in the record books with another curious stat: He hit the century mark in home runs before reaching it in singles (93), becoming the first player in MLB history to accomplish that feat. When asked about that, he rolled his eyes in jest. “As soon as I opened my phone, that’s what it was about, instead of being that quick to get there,” Gallo said. “But it is what it is.”
It’s also reflective of the way Gallo has always played the game: When he makes contact, it’s going a long way. Otherwise, it’s usually a strikeout or a walk. But this is nothing new for him. “I’ve always been an anomaly. That’s why it was so hard for people to scout me,” Gallo said. “People say I’m the modern-day player, but I’ve been this way since I was 10 years old. This is how I’ve always played.”
Here’s a thought experiment: Try to compare Gallo to a player past or present. It’s not difficult to conclude that he’s is basically in a world of his own. He mentioned Adam Dunn as a common comp, but there’s no way Dunn gets around in center field like Gallo does.
“I’ve never really had a comparison to really look up to,” he said. “[I’m] just kind of starting my own category, I guess.”
Gallo is consistently growing into this one-of-a-kind type, and it’s paid off with an 1.105 OPS through 31 games this season. Rangers manager Chris Woodward said that with Gallo’s improved approach, he “doesn’t expect this to stop. It’s scary for the other team,” Woodward said. “They don’t know what to do.” (Crouse - mlb.com)
- Gallo worked with new Rangers hitting coaches Luis Ortiz and Callix Crabbe before and during 2019 spring training -- focusing on looking for HIS pitches in the strike zone and laying off the bad ones. Joey is learning to stick to his approach and not abandon it when it doesn't get results.
In previous seasons, he might have a plan, but he would switch it up day by day. Now he has a real good idea of what he can do at the plate and he is staying in his plan. Even if he has a bad game or something, the next day he is back on track with the same plan.
"He is doing a great job of laying off the high fastball," Rangers 3rd Base Coach Tony Beasley said in June, 2019. "Which is how teams have been attacking him the past few years. Fastballs p in the zone and breaking balls in and out of the zone -- he has been laying off them. He is forcing guys in the strike zone and the more Joey can do that, the more success he is going to have."
- As of the start of the 2019 season, Joey has a career batting average of .203 with 88 home runs and 187 RBI in 1,082 at-bats.
Joey does a good job at first base, defensively.
He can also play some third base, but not real well, because he lacks mobility. He lacks range, footwork, and quickness. His hands are sure, but his range is below-average at the hot corner.
But after the 2012 season, and in 2013 spring training, the Rangers put Gallo through agility drills to improve his first-step quickness.
He has a strong arm. He was clocked at 95 mph off the mound in high school. He gets a 70 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale for his excellent arm.
But one scout noted that the stiffness in his throwing motion makes it difficult to consistently make accurate throws.
Gallo lets the ball play him too often when he's in the infield. He is only a 40 grade fielder at third base.
Despite being 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Joey is athletic enough to roam the outfield. And his plus arm is a natural fit for a corner spot.
Joey is a below-average runner. But not bad for his size, particularly once under way, where he displays about average (45) speed. But some have him at 40 grade speed.
And Gallo has good instincts on the bases.
July 11-August 8, 2013: Gallo was on the D.L. with a groin injury.
April 3–late April 2015: Joey began the season on the D.L.
May 1-19, 2016: Gallo was on the D.L. with a strained left groin.
August 22-29, 2017: The Rangers placed infielder/outfielder Joey Gallo on the seven-day concussion list.
June 1, 2019: Gallo left in the fifth inning with tightness in his left oblique muscle. “He creates so much torque in that body, even if it’s a small oblique issue, I don’t want that to turn into a major one,” Manager Chris Woodward said. “He passed a lot of the strength tests, but if there is something in there, we’ll find out and plan accordingly after that.”
June 2-25, 2019: Joey was on the IL with left oblique strain.
July 23, 2019: While Gallo has been bothered by the wrist before, he really felt it on his final at-bat in the eighth inning, when he was retired on a high foul popup behind third base. Gallo is scheduled to have an MRI on his sore right wrist
“He kind of goes through it,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He is so violent with his swing. I don’t care how strong you are wrist-wise -- it’s a lot of torque on small bones, ligaments and tendons. I always worry about that with him because he has such a violent swing.”
July 24, 2019: Gallo was on the IL with recovery from right wrist surgery.