After an abysmal start to his 2018 season, Texas Rangers slugger, Joey Gallo, has quietly turned around his year and is close to a career year.
I’ll be the first to admit that after the first half of Joey Gallo’s season, I was ready to consider him a lost cause and trade bait. Before the All-Star break in mid-July, Gallo was hitting just .187 and posted an on-base percentage under .300. He looked like a caricature of himself literally becoming an all or nothing hitter who either hit a homerun or struck out. Striking out in almost 42% of his pre-All Star at-bats, I will even admit that I wrote an article saying essentially, the Texas Rangers were better off trading the big lefty. His 22 homeruns came at just 6.9% rate as well which didn’t help fans opinion that his run production didn’t outweigh his tendency to not put the ball in play.
But oh what a difference two months can make. Despite what has been a poor season for the organization, Joey Gallo has quietly turned around his numbers and is not far off track from having a career best year at the plate. To compare his pre and post All Star numbers, since the break, Gallo has hit an impressive .256 and with 15 homers, is hitting round-trippers at a 9.6% rate. His strike out rate hasn’t changed much, still over 40%, but he’s putting the ball in play more often evidenced by his .356 on base percentage.
An Electric Month of August
The biggest improvement for Joey came in the month of August where the slugger was on fire. Joey posted a .294 batting average which is his highest single month batting average of his career. With an on-base percentage pushing .400 and a slugging percentage over .650, Gallo posted his first 1.000-plus OPS since last August.
Joey visibly seemed more patient at the plate and wasn’t focused solely on the long ball, but on consistently driving the ball to get on base. Obviously, Joey Gallo isn’t going to turn into a near .300 hitter. That’s just not the type of player he is. But what that kind of production over a month shows is that he has the ability to be a more reliable hitter beyond just a week long hot streak.
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Overall Season Numbers
On the season, Gallo’s average is now sitting at .210. Obviously, there’s still plenty of room for improvement and personally, I’d like Gallo hitting over .220 for the course of a season to call him a reliable threat. However .210 is a vast improvement and puts him on track for his career high in average. The power is still there too for Joey. Gallo is casually putting up another 40 homerun season assuming he can hit three more in the Rangers 13 remaining games. His OPS, which is probably the best stat for evaluating Gallo, sits at .816 which is second on the team, trailing only Shin-Soo Choo. That OPS wouldn’t be a career best, but it does place him in the top 50 among qualifiers across the MLB. Year to year, we’d like to see Joey’s OPS exceed .850 and perhaps push .900 but because he’s not necessarily a hit for average player, anything much higher is pretty unlikely.
How This Changes His Role Within The Club
With the way we’ve seen Gallo turn around his season, our perspective of him should’ve changed as well. Early on, it seemed like his spot in the lineup wasn’t really a guarantee anymore especially with Texas having other reliable left handed hitters hot on his heels. However, if there’s something we’ve always known, he’s the best homerun hitter in the organization. The way he’s been able to boost his average and on-base percentage hopefully is evidence of a long-term improvement and means he’ll continue to be a cornerstone of the franchise moving forward.