Texas Rangers: Can Joey Gallo Get Better in 2018?

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 01: Joey Gallo (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 01: Joey Gallo (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images) /

Slugger Joey Gallo went from not having a role on the 25-man roster to being a focal point in the Rangers lineup. The 2017 season was incredible for Gallo, but could we see him get even better in 2018?

The Texas Rangers let Joey Gallo have a chance to prove the doubters wrong in 2017, and he surely did that. He was a huge part of the Rangers offense, and will now be counted on as one of the main contributors in Arlington.

He got an opportunity to fill-in for the injured Adrian Beltre to begin the 2017 season. It was just a day-to-day type of thing, but became much more. Beltre was expected to miss a couple of weeks, but Gallo took advantage of the extra playing time.

After a few months, Gallo became a force to be reckoned with in the Rangers lineup. He was hitting monster bombs right and left. Gallo finished with 41 home runs and 80 RBIs in 145 games with the Rangers last season.

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Gallo led the Rangers in home runs, but also was the leader in strikeouts with 196. The good news, is that Gallo finished second on the team in walks with 75. Only outfielder Shin-Soo Choo walked more than Gallo last season on the Rangers roster.

It’s no surprise that Gallo struck out almost 200 times, but he could cut that down in 2018. Gallo continues to learn and become a better hitter, and we saw that in 2017. If he continues to draw walks and be patient then his strikeout numbers should decrease somewhat.

Gallo has become a pull happy home run hitter, but it takes time to rid yourself of old habits. He needs to learn how to go opposite field, and to try to control his swing. He doesn’t need to hit every ball 450 feet.

Young sluggers have a tendency to begin as all-or-nothing type hitters. The fact Gallo walked 75 times is a positive sign for the Rangers. There is potential there for Gallo to grow and become a more advanced hitter at the plate.

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He’s proven that he belongs in the MLB, and that was an important first step. His 2018 campaign needs to be focused on becoming a legitimate hitter and not just an all-or-nothing home run machine. Gallo has all the potential in the world to become a superstar, but now it’s on him to put in the work.