Texas Rangers sign Joe Gatto, re-sign Scott Heineman
By Seth Carlson
The Rangers made a flurry of minor transactions on Thursday.
The Texas Rangers hope you like players whose last names start with G and end with O.
Minor league right-hander Joe Gatto (not to be confused with Rangers masher Joey Gallo), a former second round pick of the Angels back in 2014, signed a major-league deal with the Rangers on Thursday.
Gatto, at 25 years young, has yet to make his major league debut, having spent his entire career since being drafted in the minor leagues. In fact, he has yet to pitch past the AA level.
The right hander has a career minor league record of 28-31 with a 4.80 ERA over a span of 122 games (86 starts). While these numbers may seem underwhelming, Ranger fans should be encouraged by his 9.4 K/9 ratio, a career best mark that was set in his last full minor league season back in 2019.
The former second round pick out of high school has also been proficient at keeping the ball in the park over the course of his minor league career, surrendering long balls at a microscopic rate of 0.5 home runs per nine innings.
It’s evident that the Rangers organization sees an opportunity to capitalize on a minor league reclamation project in Gatto. The fact that he was given a major league deal indicates the team will likely put a good amount of effort into Gatto’s development, also a positive sign.
Not to mention, Texas desperately needs to hit on some of their homegrown pitching, with many of the organization’s top hurling prospects still years away from the majors or having failed early on in their big league careers (i.e. Kolby Allard).
Gatto should therefore be an intriguing name to watch for the Rangers in 2021.
In addition, the team also re-upped with OF Scott Heineman on Thursday. The former Oregon Duck ended up being a free agent for less than 24 hours. Not bad, if you ask me.
Heineman appeared in 24 games for the Rangers last year, hitting just .154 in those games with a .454 OPS and 22 OPS+. His brother, Tyler Heineman, is a catcher in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
The second year pro was a draft pick by Texas back in 2015, making his debut in 2019.
While Heineman mostly represents organizational depth, he was brought back on a big-league deal, suggesting that the team plans for him to be on the 40-man roster heading into Spring Training 2021.