Texas Rangers: Why Joey Gallo will be One of the Great Sluggers of Our Generation

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Apr 23, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo (13) hits a home run during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo (13) hits a home run during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Joey Gallo’s hot start shows that he has the ability to be one of the greatest sluggers in today’s game. The sheer power he has at his disposal alone is worth the price of a game ticket.

The Texas Rangers are glad to have Joey Gallo in their lineup right now. With Adrian Beltre out, Gallo has been hitting bombs left and right to help lift the Rangers to victory.

Gallo has proven that he’s more than just a temporary fill-in for El Capitan. Before the season began, there were four young players battling for the left field position: Joey Gallo, Ryan Rua, Delino DeShields, and Jurickson Profar. Beltre’s injury forced Gallo to the third base position and he quickly cemented his place there while everyone else struggled to secure that left field spot.

The reason Gallo so quickly took hold of that spot at third was because manager Jeff Bannister simply couldn’t take his bat out of the lineup; not with the way he was performing. After his solitary hit in 17 games last year, fans expectations for him was low. Yet after his hot start, he’s become one of the fan favorites.

And why not? When he comes to the plate, you better make sure you’re in your seat and not out grabbing a hot dog because if he gets a hold of a ball, it’s going a long ways before it comes back down to earth.

Gallo is up there with the most powerful hitters in the league. According to MLB.com, Statcast has his average exit velocity at 95.1mph. That’s tied for the fourth highest in the league. Plus, he knows how to put on a show for the crowd; getting them ooing and ahhing from some of the towering bombs he’s hit.

So we know he’s a powerful hitter, but lot of players can lay claim to that title. What will make him one of the great sluggers of our generation?

Many people will say: he strikes out too much or his batting average is too low. Both of these accusations against him are true. He currently leads the league in strikeouts with 63 and his batting average is below .200.

However, if you look at the improvements he’s made since last year, the leap is massive. He struck out in 19 of his 25 at bats last year, 76 percent of the time.  That percentage is down to just 46 percent. Still bad, but much better.

Unlike last year, Gallo is taking pitches now and not just swinging at anything near the plate. That’s led to more walks and the ability to put the bat on the ball with more power.

More than likely, Joey Gallo will always have a high strikeout percentage. That’s not necessarily uncommon amongst sluggers though. I believe that Joey Gallo has the potential to be a similar batter to Sammy Sosa.

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Sosa was constantly in the running for most home runs in a season, twice leading the league, and ended his career with over 600 bombs. But like Gallo, he struck out a lot. Three years in a row, he led the majors in strikeouts, whiffing more than 170 times each year. Despite this, he’s known as one of the greatest sluggers to ever play the game. He was also one of the most beloved players by the fans until his name was tainted by cheating.

I believe that Gallo has a chance to be just as great as Sosa was. You’ve got to remember, Gallo is still young. In fact, he’s one of the youngest players in the game at just 23. That’s younger than Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts.

So far, he has a WAR of 1.0 on the season. Corey Seager, last year’s Rookie of the Year, Francisco Lindor, and Carlos Correa are the only two players as young as him with a better WAR.

Now that he’s finally getting consistent plate appearances, Gallo will only get better. That will be especially true if he takes over the DH position when Beltre returns and can concentrate all of his efforts on hitting.

Next: Rangers Sign Veteran Outfielder Drew Stubbs

Already, 18 of Gallo’s 26 hits have been for extra bases. That’s the sign of a slugger. When over two-thirds of your hits go for extra bases, you at least belong in the conversation for a great slugger. And if Gallo continues to show improvement as he has since last year, he could be one of the best of our generation.

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