Mac Engel

Only surprise with Gallo promotion is that it took this long

Joey Gallo, only 21, could be as good as any position prospect the Rangers franchise has produced this century.
Joey Gallo, only 21, could be as good as any position prospect the Rangers franchise has produced this century. Star-Telegram

For a Type A control freak, Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels needs to exhibit better scene control when it comes to who wears what jersey number.

Young monster third baseman Joey Gallo wears No. 13 and, in an effort to scare you to death, the last notable Texas Rangers rookie to wear that jersey number was none other than the great Jurickson Profar. Triple 0 is better than 13 for Gallo.

No, Gallo should not be in Arlington this soon, but as we have seen with the other top prospects under the watch of GMJD, old-school baseball wisdom does not have an office at the Ballpark. No one loves him some Baseball America rankings and minor league numbers more than JD, meaning no one should be surprised when Gallo was promoted, and when this short stay turns into the rest of the season.

The only real surprise is that this promotion took this long, and it will be equally shocking to see Gallo sent to Triple A when Adrian Beltre comes off the disabled list in two weeks.

Between Josh Hamilton’s hamstring (can you believe it took this long?), and Shin Soo Choo’s busted pinkie, plus a slumping Leonys Martin, and who knows with Mitch Moreland, there is a good chance there will be an opening on the roster in a couple of weeks for Gallo to stay.

“You obviously never want to go back down but I’m not going to be sad if I do,” Gallo said before Wednesday’s game. “I have a lot of games up here to play, so we’ll see how those go.”

Whether that is the right thing doesn’t matter; this organization wants their stud kids up with the big-boy team. Unlike when GMJD had to fight with then manager Ron Washington about the promotion and stay of Profar, there will be no such arguments with manager Jeff Banister.

This Gallo promotion is yet another sign that the old-school philosophy that ran baseball for nearly a century is dying, or just about dead not only in Arlington, but in every other major league city. Anxious GMs, and itchy owners, want their new prized toys playing at the big league level as soon as possible.

The teams always say “We don’t want to do this, but ...”. Pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez is here too quickly, as is Gallo.

If they sink, so be it (Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar). Eventually, one of these kids will stick, and hit. Gallo is as good as any position prospect this franchise has produced this century. The guy looks like a top-of-the-food-chain stud that should be superior to the likes of other prized prospects turned duds, namely Justin Smoak and even Ruben Mateo.

The TV ratings for Gallo’s major league debut were the highest for a Rangers’ game this season, topping Josh Hamilton’s return to the team on May 25. Gallo merchandise is not available yet in the team store, but it can’t be long.

On Wednesday night, against ace Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale, young Gallo was back in the lineup as the DH, one day after his captivating debut provided media and social media a wonderful plate of new content.

I thought the Rangers would prefer to protect the lefty Gallo against a guy like Sale, but Banister is not in the mood to put training wheels on a big leaguer.

“He’s gonna have to face him sometime,” Banister said before the game.

Not unexpectedly, Sale continually threw nothing but big, sweeping breaking balls at Gallo, who in return whiffed. And whiffed. And whiffed. Gallo struck out against Sale in his first at-bat. He struck out on three pitches in his second at bat, then struck out again in the seventh. In fairness, Sale was dealing Wednesday night and nobody was hitting him.

But Gallo ripped a ninth-inning home run to right-center against a not-so-tough lefty, Zach Duke, for his second in two games.

“It’s going to be good to face lefties and get my feet wet against major league lefties,” Gallo said before the game. “Eventually, hopefully, I’ll face Sale my whole career.”

Should Gallo continue with a strikeout parade, that will get him sent down to Triple A. Even then, with GMJD’s history, that may not matter. The guy loves his prospects, and he wants to see them in Arlington rather than Frisco or Round Rock.

If that’s the way it’s going to be, JD should at least have the presence of mind to be sure his latest prize isn’t wearing the same number as his last bust.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog

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