Based on watching Joey Gallo hit this year, it seems like a lock that he will lead the American League in home runs at some point in his career.
So, how about this year?
Gallo entered Tuesday third in the league with 33 homers and was only three behind New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, who has cooled off after an MVP-caliber first half and the Home Run Derby title at the All-Star Game.
Judge led with 36 home runs and was followed by Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas with 34. Gallo was one ahead of Oakland A’s left fielder Khris Davis and Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak, the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2009.
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Gallo didn’t know any of that, nor was he particularly concerned about it. While he concedes that being the league leader would be a nice accomplishment, he has bigger fish to fry.
“Obviously, at the end of the day, you’d like to make the playoffs, have a chance to win the World Series,” Gallo said. “But if I could be even in the top three, top five of home runs, that’s a lot better than I was expecting, a lot better than I planned. Anything would be good.”
The Rangers and Yankees were to play their 118th game of the season Tuesday. Judge was batting only .170 with six home runs since the All-Star break, while Gallo was batting .247 with 12 homers.
Judge, though, is still regarded by many as baseball’s next big star, based on talent and the market in which he plays.
“I’m really happy for him. I think he deserves to be that golden child,” Gallo said. “I don’t know how glad he is, because I don’t want to be. That’s a lot of stuff you have to deal with that would be annoying. ...You play in New York and you’re 6-foot-7 and you look like that, you hit balls every day, he’s always going to be that golden child. And he deserves it.”
The Rangers haven’t had a player lead the league in homers since Alex Rodriguez did it in 2003 for the third consecutive season.