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Joey Gallo returned to the big leagues Monday, to little fanfare.
It took a pair of injuries to get him back. Shin-Soo Choo returned to the DL with a strained hamstring suffered in his first game back from a strained calf, and one of the players who replaced him the first go-round, Drew Stubbs, is down with a sprained toe.
The lack of fanfare -- he didn't even merit his own headline on the team's official website, for instance -- does give me some pause in Fantasy. Gallo wasn't playing the outfield at Triple-A, after all, and may be getting the Gary Sanchez treatment, filling a spot for now but not really factoring into the team's plans. Or maybe there's simply no recreating the hype of his major-league debut. As far as Rangers fans are concerned, he's old news.
But what shouldn't be overlooked here is the impact he made in that first stint, homering five times in his first 14 games before petering out. If he can put on a similar display -- and his power potential is second to none, remember, highlighted by two 40-homer seasons in the minors -- what's stopping him from sticking around?
Of course, you can't spell "display" without "play," and he'll need to do that latter to have a chance at the former. Fortunately, he has a couple avenues for that, one being, yup, left field. Well, why not? He saw more action there than at any other position while in the majors last year. Maybe he was playing third base at Triple-A because that's where he needed the most work.
He also got a look at first base, where Mitch Moreland, who isn't All-Star material to begin with, is off to a particularly slow start, batting .237 with a .699 OPS. But that's more for down the road, after Choo comes back.
I could see things playing out that way, and so I wouldn't want to shrug off Gallo's return. Particularly in a Rotisserie league, where I have more hitter spots to fill and would benefit from Gallo's home run total no matter what else he provides, I'd want to make a play for him.
But that "what else he provides" is tricky. You remember why he petered out last year? He struck out in more than half his at-bats, and then when he returned to Triple-A, he hit .195. He has potentially debilitating contact issues, and while he may have improved some in that regard this year, walking nearly as often (22) as he has struck out (24), a .265 batting average in the heavy-hitting Pacific Coast League doesn't inspire great confidence.
Still, there's a reason Baseball America rated him the No. 10 overall prospect coming into this year and why I labeled him one of the top five prospects to stash in Fantasy before his recent DL stint for a groin strain. I'm going to need some assurances as to playing time before I take the plunge in a Head-to-Head points league, where I'm already suffering from waiver wire fatigue (as I've written here and here, mostly in regard to starting pitchers, which are in greater demand in that format), but for you more enterprising types, grabbing Gallo now could pay off in a big way.