Joey Gallo is baseball’s most profound all or nothing hitter, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Should the Texas Rangers keep him around?
All or nothing hitters have become quite common throughout Major League Baseball. Teams are now more than willing to devote a lineup spot to a player with high home run potential, regardless of how many times that player strikes out in a game. But where is the line drawn with this new wave of hitters? How much mediocrity will a team tolerate in hope of the occasional, worthy result? The Texas Rangers are going to have to answer those questions in regard to Joey Gallo at some point.
Gallo is currently MLB’s most profound all or nothing hitter. This label is represented by his 17 home runs (tied for 6th most in baseball) and his 91 strikeouts (the most in baseball). His all or nothing-ness has become so extreme that a certain team defended him with four outfielders earlier this year. Gallo does not see a single at-bat in which he is not shifted on and he gives opposing teams little to no reason to lessen their shifts.
On the other hand, he does hit a lot of home runs and he is among the league leaders in average exit velocity. When he makes contact, he hits the ball hard and generally very far.
However, he struggles to make contact and the contact that he does make gets vacuumed up in the shift. Joey Gallo’s BABIP is an underwhelming .248 this season. In fact, his BABIP is just two points higher than the MLB average for actual batting average.
The stats of New York Yankee Aaron Judge offer some perspective. Judge’s 17 home runs are tied with Gallo for 6th in MLB. He is also second behind Gallo with 85 strikeouts to date. Those are nearly identical stats when considering the all or nothing factor. Yet, Judge excuses himself from all or nothing status through his .271 batting average and .355 BABIP. Judge also has a very impressive 164 OPS+, compared to Gallo’s poor 109 OPS+.
There is a reason Aaron Judge is considered one of the game’s best hitters, while Joey Gallo is considered one of the game’s biggest punch lines.
I think I speak on behalf of many Texas Rangers followers by saying it is very frustrating to watch Gallo hit. The swings and misses are off the charts, as his upper-cut swing gives him so many holes throughout the strike zone. At the moment, pitchers can dispose of him by simply throwing fastballs in the top of the zone. Gallo may foul one off, though a follow-up curveball in the dirt will give him equal trouble.
Joey Gallo can hit mistakes, but so can most professional baseball hitters. If he can’t find a way to start hitting good pitches, then he may never improve. That must be the biggest question mark for the Texas Rangers…can Gallo improve or is he already playing to his potential?
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He’s certainly a player worth keeping around; however, he does not currently project as a middle of the order bat. As a former top organizational prospect, the Rangers expect Gallo to eventually become the everyday cleanup hitter. That expectation remains, though, Gallo is definitely behind pace in fulfilling it.
Joey Gallo is among the many Rangers players mentioned as possible trade pieces come July. Moving the 24-year-old slugger seems like a long shot, but it could happen. The Rangers’ front office will definitely listen to calls regarding him. They may not make the calls, but they’ll listen to the ones that come in.
The Rangers will have to make a judgement call as to whether Gallo is at or near his ceiling, or if he still has plenty of room until he hits his ceiling. If they feel he is as good as he is ever going to be, they may want to trade him before all other teams share the same feeling. If they feel he is still well on the rise, then there is no reason to even answer the phone.
I would say there is about a 10% chance Joey Gallo is traded. Again, he is only 24 years old and he could very well lead MLB in home runs once the final game of the season is played. While he can be a real pain to watch at the plate, he does find ways to produce. It’s not like he is matching the historically awful season that former Texas Ranger, Chris Davis, is having with the Baltimore Orioles.