The consensus in the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse is that Joey Gallo has had a productive season, with his power, ability to get on base, speed and the adjustments he has made — and by playing three different positions.
Those things overshadow his .206 batting average and the single-season club record for strikeouts he set Saturday night. He finished Sunday with 188 strikeouts, including 11 in his past 15 at-bats, and has seven games to stay under 200.
Gallo’s productivity, though, has made his strikeouts tolerable. He’s also in his first full big-league season, and the expectation is that he will get better.
“Right now that’s the deal with me, at 23 years old and in my first full season,” Gallo said. “I think it’s different for me if I wasn’t doing anything else productive, but I think our team has figured out that I can do more than just strike out. It’s not the end of the world.”
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Gallo has 38 homers to go with a .330 on-base percentage and a .525 slugging percentage. That .856 on-base plus slugging percentage is the marker of a productive season.
He doesn’t want to strike out as much as he does, but with the way baseball has changed with many hitters dumping their two-strike approach and trying to do damage in all counts, a 200-strikeout season isn’t the scarlet letter it once was.
Give some credit to pitchers, too.
“I don’t think that it’s accepted, but there’s probably a lot more tolerance,” acting manager Steve Buechele said. “For a lot of guys the game’s changed to where strikeouts become tolerable as long as their still getting on base and producing.
“I would say it’s a good year [for Gallo] in the fact that I think he’s grown up as a player. He’s matured as a hitter. I think his approach at the plate is 100 percent better. He’s taking his walks. He’s got his strikeouts, and you can all talk about that if you want, but he’s been productive for us and I think he’s only going to get better.”