Is there anything scarier for a pitcher than running out of ways to pitch to Joey Gallo? The Texas Rangers slugger is in total command at the plate.
Most improved Texas Rangers’ player as of May 9th, 2019: Joey Gallo. The slugger ranks 2nd in the AL with a 1.106 OPS, 1st with 12 home runs, 6th with 28 RBI, 3rd with a .426 OBP, 2nd with a .679 SLG% and 2nd with 29 walks. Oh, and he’s hitting .269, which is well above expectation.
Gallo has been a force at the plate for a few years, but he’s on an entirely new level through 34 games in 2019. He’s in the perfect place right now. He’s laying off pitches out of the zone and he’s hammering pitches in the zone. Pitchers don’t have the luxury of getting him to chase a high fastball or breaking ball in the dirt like they’ve had in years past.
What are opposing pitchers thinking now? Uh-oh.
Let’s dive into the always fascinating Joey Gallo metrics. His O-Swing% (pitches swung at outside of the strike zone) is 24.8, down 8% from a season ago. His Z-Swing% (pitches swung at inside of the strike zone) is 58.9, down 10% from a season ago. This speaks to how patient he has been, taking the time to wait for “his” pitch.
Lastly, his Contact% is 59.9, right on par with 2017 and 2018. He’s still hitting lasers to Neptune, but he’s also taking more walks and showing a willingness to guide the ball to center field or left field on occasion.
There was a remarkable stat floating around yesterday afternoon after Gallo hit his 12th long ball of the year in Pittsburgh. That being his 100th career home run, he is the first player in Major League Baseball history to hit 100 homers before hitting 100 singles. He is the definition of a power hitter.
Gallo is among the most dangerous hitters in the game at the moment. He’s getting the “pitch around” treatment as often as anyone, and his numbers speak for themselves. I can’t imagine what’s going through a pitcher’s head as he’s dealing with the dilemma of giving Gallo a free pass or risking giving up a 450-foot bomb.
The 25-year-old is providing the Texas Rangers exactly what they needed in the middle of the lineup. His power has been on display for his entire career, but he has never been the kind of threat at the plate that he currently is. In fact, it’s been a number of years since the Rangers have had this kind of threat at the plate.
His batting average may trickle down some as the year progresses; however, this looks to be a magical year for Joey Gallo from a productivity standpoint. He has seen just about everything a pitcher can throw at him in the short span of three seasons; thus, I don’t see what’s stopping him this season. He is well on his way to an All-Star bid. Heck, at this point he’s an MVP candidate!