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 NL 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, Gallo got drafted by the Rangers (see Transactions below).
- 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 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," GM 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."
Late in 2015, Gallo struck out 57 times in 123 plate appearances. His rate of one strikeout for every 2.16 plate appearances was the highest in a season in the AL 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: 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's his hometown, and it just happens to be the birthplace of 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant and the 2015 MVP 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
In the history of MLB, which puts a premium on young lefthanded 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 before, 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 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 in California. 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 Joey's 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, 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. 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)
The Rangers have contemplated the idea of getting Joey back to playing third base. Gallo is against the idea. "I don't want it. 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 lefthanded 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 at home, 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 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)
2019 Season: Gallo was an All-Star in the first half of the season and missing in action for much of the second half. Gallo and the Rangers have a right to wonder what his final numbers would have been had he stayed healthy for a full season. Still, it is fair to say that 2019 constitutes a breakthrough season for Gallo, given that he hit .253 with a .389 on-base percentage and a .598 slugging percentage.
His .986 OPS would have been the fourth-best mark in the AL if he had finished with enough plate appearances to qualify. Instead, he played in just 70 games and still finished with 22 home runs and 49 RBIs.
“I think there were highs and lows,” Gallo said. “When I was on the field, I felt the best I have ever been in my career. That was really encouraging for me. Obviously, I wish I had gotten to play more. This is the first time in my career I missed significant time because of injuries. It’s part of the game. But I was happy with the steps I took and the player I started to become, not only offensively but defensively.”
Gallo was placed on the injured list twice last season. He missed much of June with a left oblique strain and didn’t play after July 23 as a result of surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his right wrist. He tried to come back in September, but the wrist never felt quite right.
“I didn’t want to come back and start creating bad habits again,” Gallo said. “That was one of the big things. I felt so good this year swinging. If I come back and can’t swing the same way, then you go into the off-season and create some bad habit. You never know where it goes from there.”
The challenge for Gallo next season is to return to the level he was at before the injuries and not let the extended layoff affect him.
“He hasn’t lost any sight of that,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I don’t think it’s going to negatively affect him. He should be fresh going into next year. Obviously, he is going to need Spring Training from a standpoint [of seeing pitching]. But I told him this off-season, ‘We’ve got to get in there, once you start really swinging, you’ve got to simulate some at-bats.’ We can do that for him. He should be ready, fully healthy and ready to roll.
“He was disappointed because he hasn’t played as many games as he wanted. But I told him, ‘Set your sights on whether it’s 150 games, go out there and expect to play that many games.’ This off-season is important, getting ready for next year is important.”
What went right
Rangers hitting coaches Luis Ortiz and Callix Crabbe spent much time with Gallo working on his swing. They preached the need to control the strike zone and swing at his pitch rather than chasing.
Gallo surely heard all this before. Previous hitting coaches almost certainly worked with him on cutting down his strikeouts. But Gallo undeniably made significant progress this season.
“He understands how to be there, and he’s committed to it,” Woodward said. “It kind of brings a smile to my face every time I hear him giving an interview and he is talking about controlling the strike zone and getting his pitch to hit. If he can do those things, it’s going to create a much better version of himself. Can he get better? Yeah. He wants to get better.”
What went wrong
Obviously the injuries were a major factor. But Gallo also struck out 114 times in less than half a season. There is still work to be done in that area.
“I want to get healthy and continue to do what I have been doing every off-season,” Gallo said. “Keep growing as a player, working on my swing, working on my approach, my athleticism. The first thing is getting my hand back to 100 percent. It’s starting to get there.”
Gallo sees a bit of Skywalker in himself. But, when Luke Skywalker himself notices a connection with Gallo, that lends some real gravitas to the comparison.
@GloriaCampos · Hey, @HamillHimself just saw in interview w/ @dallasnews baseball writer @Evan_P_Grant that @Rangers outfielder/slugger @JoeyGallo24 says he’d be Luke Skywalker if he was @starwars character. Thoughts/comment?
Mark Hamill✔@HamillHimselfI would be @JoeyGallo24 if I was a baseball player!
11:55 PM - Feb 24, 2020
Obviously, The Force is quite powerful when used by Skywalker and there's little doubt it's behind some of the towering dingers Gallo frequently hits. Still, one would think a Jedi wouldn't strike out so much. After all, Skywalker has proven effective at hitting flying objects even without the use of his eyes. (Eric Chesterton)
Joey on the frustrations of facing extreme shifts: “I don't think you ever get used to it. It's a constant reminder. You see a righty hit a line drive to left field, and you're like, 'Ugh, why couldn't I be a righty?' And then you get up and hit a line drive to right field and the shortstop is playing short right and catches it. In your head ... I'm not complaining, but it is tough. It's tough to be taught that hitting the ball up the middle is a hit your whole life, and now, you're out every single time you do it.”
Joey on choking up with the bat full-time now: “I’m constantly choking up now. I kind of got comfortable with not feeling the knob. It had to do with breaking my hamate bone [in my right hand] in 2019. I just didn’t like feeling the knob in that area. I was watching Joey Votto. He’s so good with his bat control and putting the ball in play. I started to mess around with it and choked up, it felt natural ... gives me a little confidence. I can control the barrel a little more. It just depends on the situation and the pitcher how much I do choke up.”
Joey on the unwritten rules of baseball: “I remember in Rookie ball, I hit a home run and I kind of pimped it a little bit. We were up by a lot, and one of the coaches came in and destroyed me. Just destroyed me, and I’ve never pimped a home run after that. I got hit in the next at-bat by the way. You get taught about these unwritten rules by the generations before you. I’ve done things in the field this year, and last year, guys come up to me and say, ‘Don’t do that.’ I say, ‘OK, I won’t do that.’ Throughout baseball, guys know what they are.” (Sullivan - mlb.com - 8/19/2020)
Jan 7, 2021: Gallo added another line to his resume this offseason: recruiter.
Gallo, in an interview with 105.3 FM (The FAN) that was part of the Rangers Winter Caravan, said he helped lure outfielder David Dahl to Arlington. Dahl signed a one-year, $2.7 million contract with the Rangers last month after being non-tendered by the Rockies.
Gallo and Dahl came through the amateur ranks playing in the same showcases. They were teammates on Team USA’s 18-and-under squad in 2011 and were both taken in the 2012 draft—Dahl at No. 10 overall by the Rockies and Gallo at No. 39 by the Rangers. When Dahl informed Gallo that he had been designated for assignment, Gallo went to work.
“I said, ‘All right, let me get on this real quick,’” he said.
The slugger spoke to Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels and the coaching staff and tried to sell them on Dahl, who hit .183/.222/.247 with no home runs and nine RBIs last year in Colorado while batting back and right shoulder problems. It was only a year prior, in 2019, Dahl was an All-Star after posting an .877 OPS.
“Not many times you get a 26-, 27-year-old who was an All-Star who you’re going to get at a pretty low price who’s going to come to a team, in terms of where he’s at, in a rebuild phase,” Gallo said. “I said, ‘This is a pretty good opportunity.’ I told [Dahl] there are outfield spots open. ‘You’re going to come here and play. You’re not going to worry about getting benched and looking over your shoulder.’”
In addition to trying to woo the Rangers' front office and coaching staff, Gallo sent Dahl videos of brand-new Globe Life Field, with behind-the-scenes looks at the clubhouse and the playing field. Dahl joins center fielder Leody Taveras and right fielder Gallo to give what the Rangers expect to be three strong defensive players in a ballpark that places a premium on outfield defense.
“It’s not tough to get somebody to come to the City of Dallas, to DFW,” Gallo said. “It’s a pretty easy pitch. He was excited that we’re going to be playing together again.”
That is, of course, if Gallo remains in Texas. Gallo’s name has come up in trade rumors the last few months for the rebuilding Rangers. Gallo just turned 27, he’s under club control through the 2022 season, and as recently as '19, he was playing at an MVP-caliber level until injuries got in the way.
“When you get drafted somewhere, you always envision yourself being there forever,” Gallo said. “That’s always how I felt with the Rangers. I love being here. I love being a Texas Ranger, win or lose. I feel proud to put ‘Texas’ across my chest every single day. But it’s also a business. As long as I’m here in Texas, I’m going to try to win as many games as I can. Hopefully I don’t [get traded], but it’s a business and we’ll see what happens.” (B McTaggart - MLB.com - Jan 7, 2021)
July 2021: Gallo was chosen as a reserve outfielder for the All-Star Game.
June 2012: The Rangers chose Gallo in the compensation portion of the first round (39th 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.
Jan 10, 2020: Gallo and the Rangers avoided arbitration, by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.4 million.
- Jan 15, 2021: Gallo and the Rangers avoided arbitration, by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.2 million.
- July 29, 2021: The Rangers traded cash, LHP Joely Rodriguez and RF Joey Gallo to New York Yankees for 2B Ezequiel Duran, RHP Glenn Otto, 2B Josh Smith and 2B Trevor Hauver.