Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo compared to a very familiar 2018 All-Star

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 28: Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers hits a three-run home run in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 28, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 28: Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers hits a three-run home run in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 28, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Despite a hot start, some Texas Rangers still aren’t sold on Joey Gallo. Maybe it will help to compare him to a familiar 2018 All-Star.

Joey Gallo is probably the most controversial player on the Texas Rangers. Some fans love to see him hit monster home runs, while others decry his numerous strikeouts. He’s only been with the team for two full seasons, but he’s become a lightning rod for arguments about traditional stats and the three true outcomes (strikeouts, walks and home runs).

I recently saw someone on Twitter complaining about Gallo and wishing the Rangers still had Mitch Moreland. I thought that would be an interesting comparison to make. Moreland was an All-Star last season and won the World Series with the Boston Red Sox. It’s easy to make a correlation — Moreland was much better than Gallo last season and was acknowledged as such with his All-Star selection, therefore the Red Sox were better off with Moreland than the Rangers were with Gallo.

But a quick dive into the numbers shows that Gallo and Moreland really aren’t too far apart when it comes to producing runs for their teams. Disclaimer: this is not a Mitch Moreland hit piece. I loved watching Moreland play and I’m happy he’s found success with the Red Sox. He contributed a lot to the Texas Rangers’ success the last decade and I’m grateful for that.

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TORONTO, ON – APRIL 27: Joey Gallo #13 of the Texas Rangers circles the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 27, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Batting Average and Strikeouts

Gallo detractors will immediately point to his low batting average and strikeout numbers when criticizing him. After all, he only hit .209 and .206 his first two full seasons in the league. In Moreland’s first two seasons, he hit .259 and .275.

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Gallo also struck out a combined 403 time over his first two seasons. That’s a lot. By comparison, Moreland only whiffed 163 times in his first two years.

Just based on those numbers, it looks like Moreland is head-and-shoulders above Gallo. But baseball is a little more complex than batting average and strikeouts.

Walks and On-base Percentage

Valuable players get on base a lot. How they reach base doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. As much as fans like to bemoan the lack of ground ball singles in Gallo’s game, a walk is just as good. Both occurrences result with a runner on first.

Here Gallo outpaces Moreland. Gallo has accumulated 149 walks in his first two seasons compared to Moreland’s 62. This makes up for Gallo’s low batting average. His on-base percentage numbers for his first two years are right there with Moreland’s. Gallo’s on-base percentage his first two seasons averaged .323, while Moreland averaged .321.

Gallo actually got on base more often his first two seasons than Moreland did. In fact, that on-base percentage of .323 is comparable to Moreland’s OBP of .325 last season, when Moreland was an All-Star.

The MLB average OBP in 2018 was .318. Thus, Gallo is getting on base more often than the average player. And we haven’t even talked about his power yet.

Home Runs and Runs Created

In Moreland’s first two seasons with the Rangers, he hit a combined 31 home runs. Gallo hit 81 in his first two combined seasons. Believe it or not, Gallo has already hit more home runs in two full seasons than Moreland did in his first five years as a big leaguer.

It’s obvious that Gallo hits for more power, but when you combine that with his on-base percentage, his value really shines through. Gallo creates runs for the Rangers at a higher rate than Moreland.

Runs Created is essentially a stat that measures times on base, multiplied by total bases, divided by opportunities. In Moreland’s initial two seasons as a Ranger, he created 109 runs. In Gallo’s first two years, he created 167. Gallo, despite striking out more and having a lower batting average, creates more runs than Moreland.

All-Star Worthy?

Last season, Moreland was selected for an All-Star appearance. His stats? A slash of .245/.325/.433, and 4.7 runs created per game. He posted a WAR of 0.9.

Gallo, who was not invited to the All-Star game, posted a slash of .206/.312/.498 and created 5.4 runs per game. His WAR? A robust 2.1.

Again, this isn’t a Mitch Moreland hit piece. He deserved that All-Star appearance and I’m genuinely happy for him. No, the point here is to demonstrate how similarly valuable Gallo is at the plate. Gallo could have just as easily been an All-Star last season.

What I’m saying is that instead of criticizing Gallo and complaining about his low batting average, Rangers fans should be upset he wasn’t selected to the All-Star game. He was just as good as Moreland, if not better, and got snubbed.

Next. Should the Rangers target SP Ervin Santana?. dark

It’s time for Rangers fans to embrace Joey Gallo for what he is: an elite run producer who is one of the most valuable players on the Texas Rangers.