The Big Mac Blog

Rangers latest “It” girl needs to hit for a higher average before he is promoted

Joey Gallo is the Texas Rangers’ “It” girl, but he needs to hit for a better average before he is promoted to the big boy club.
Joey Gallo is the Texas Rangers’ “It” girl, but he needs to hit for a better average before he is promoted to the big boy club. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

To look at Joey Gallo is an absolute let down. He is not 11-feet tall. He does not look like he weighs 457 pounds. He is not Paul Bunyan. He is no William Wallace. Why, Gallo is nothing more than just a common man.

For the time being, it is better to regard the third base prospect for the Texas Rangers as just that – a common prospect hoping to make it. If you must, call him a commoner. An exceptional commoner, but a commoner nonetheless.

The last time the Rangers had a prospect this highly regarded was Jurickson Profar. That’s gone well. Hype plus injury plus disappointment equals more injury and disappointment and a lot of QT on the DL for Mr. Profar.

This does not mean Gallo will follow Profar’s injury-riddled MLB footsteps. It just reinforces the reality that Gallo has done zero. He is a 21-year-old prospect who has hit 104 home runs in 296 minor league games.

“They are minor league years,” Gallo told me. “In a sense they don’t really mean much until you get to the major leagues.”

Hear that, Jon Daniels? They don’t mean much until you get to the major leagues. Don’t build around a guy who has done nothing against big league pitching.

No player in the Rangers’ farm system right now has this fanbase any more excited than Gallo. Everybody is in a rush to push the new “It” girl to Arlington, but Gallo should be going nowhere until he can actually hit minor league pitching.

Until he learns how to hit minor league pitching at a higher clip for a better average, there is no reason to hurry his climb yet. Gallo is batting .263 for his pro career with 429 strikeouts and 185 walks. He must show he can make consistent contact before making the big jump. Power hitters are seldom great contact hitters, but this average and strikeout ratio need to improve before a promotion.

One of the “problems” is that Gallo played last season in Double A Frisco, which is only about a 25 minute drive from Arlington. The proximity creates the illusion that the player is “right there”, when that prospect should be out of sight and out of mind. The proximity enhances expectation for a player who is in Double A.

“It’s a huge disadvantage. People can put your eyes on you, which can be great but it can be tougher,” he said. “In Frisco last year, obviously the major league team was struggling so people came out to see us and treated us like we were the major league team and we were just 20 years old. It’s tougher, but it is good practice.”

But this club has shown it will promote, and if this team goes south this season and deals veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre a vacancy will exist at Gallo’s spot. Doesn’t matter. If the average is not up, then he should not be called up any earlier than September when MLB rosters expand.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof

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