It does not take too long to know I am a Texas Rangers fan. That came about in 2013 when my dad began to take me to Hickory Crawdads games, which just so happened to be the affiliate of the Rangers. I couldn’t have cared less about baseball before then, but going to live ballgames grew my love for the sport that I never thought possible. At my age, and in my state of North Carolina with no major league team, watching baseball on television is seen as “boring” and a waste of time. Thankfully, my dad helped change how I view one of America’s greatest sports.
In 2013, the Hickory Crawdads had one of the most talented young teams in the minors. Lewis Brinson and Jorge Alfaro have been traded, but created memories before leaving the Rangers farm system. CJ Edwards was also apart of that 2013 squad, traded to the Chicago Cubs, and then won a World Series last season. The Rangers have kept guys like Nomar Mazara and Ryan Rua from that team, both in Rangers uniforms in the majors right now. Then, of course, we have Joey Gallo.
Joey Gallo was only a teenager when he played for the Hickory Crawdads back in 2013 and became the first teenager in 51 seasons to hit 40 home runs in one minor league season, the first since Dick Simpson in 1962. Gallo would eventually reach the majors and in his debut on June 2, 2015, Gallo hit a double and his first major league homer. Gallo, also, became the first Ranger to bat in 4 runs in his debut. Joey Gallo was always “Mr. Excitement” with all his home runs in the farm system and he did not disappoint when getting to the majors.
Gallo, unfortunately, has had some trouble adjusting to the major league level. Between being moved up and down from the farm system, the third baseman has struggled with what so many power guys do — strikeouts. Joey Gallo has struggled with striking out his entire career in the minors, and it got ugly to watch in his time playing in the majors. Gallo would get so excited at the plate, he’d strike out on simple fastballs to the upper inside corner. This frustrated millions of Rangers fans, and even got some fans petitioning Gallo be traded for a player to help right away.
The Rangers fear dealing Joey Gallo would result in another Chris Davis situation. Chris Davis was a nearly identical player as Joey Gallo, someone who was tossed between the minors and majors. Davis was thought to have great potential, but the Rangers dealt him to Baltimore because of a low-batting average and a high amount of strikeouts. Chris Davis would go on to have a high impact in Baltimore and just recorded his 200th home run in an Orioles uniform this season.
Thankfully, Texas opted to retain Joey Gallo with the hope he’d pan out and reach his full potential. During the offseason, Gallo has apparently taken initiative on decreasing his number of strikeouts. Gallo is showing improvement with a .205 batting average and two home runs already in just twelve games this year. Gallo also has 6 walks to only 17 strikeouts. While the strikeouts are nearly triple his walks, this is better than 5 and 19 the year before, or 15 and 57 two years prior.
Gallo has obviously made strides in the offseason and is making most of an opportunity while all-star third baseman Adrian Beltre is on the DL. Who knows what happens when Beltre is healthy? But the Rangers will definitely keep in mind Gallo’s strides as a young player and the case he’s making not only to stay in the organization, but to stay on the field.
Perhaps it is time to begin evaluating Joey Gallo at third baseman while moving veteran Adrian Beltre to designated hitter, a spot left void by Prince Fielder’s departure this offseason.
If Gallo remains in the lineup after Beltre returns, watch out! Joey Gallo is showing he can hang at the major league level and is one swing away from capturing the hearts of every baseball fan.