Joey Gallo had a regular role with the Rangers in 2017, seeing time at both corner-infield spots and getting extra run at third base when Adrian Beltre was on the DL. With a combination of plus-plus raw power, an eye to draw walks, and swing-and-miss tendencies that are currently the most extreme in MLB, Gallo is the ultimate Three True Outcomes player. When he connects, he does a lot of damage, as evidenced by his 41-homer campaign as a 23-year-old last season. It's possible that he'll make adjustments and improve his strikeout rate over time, as he cut his K% from 38.5 in the first half to 34.9 percent in the second half. Moreover, Gallo posted similar numbers against lefties and righties, offering hope that he will avoid falling into the large side of a platoon. Unlike most of the TTO players that have preceded him, Gallo has the athleticism to steal bases (7-for-9) and play ample defense, and if he can continue to whittle away at his strikeout rate, a 50-homer season might be within reach.
Gallo went 1-for-3 with a home run in Friday's game against the Indians. Gallo caught all of an Andrew Miller pitch, which isn't surprising for a player that clubbed 41 homers in 2017. However, the first baseman is less focused on his power stroke than he is with making contact after striking out 37 percent of the time last season and hitting just .209, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. "Just going out there putting the bat on the ball, working the count, seeing the ball well. That's really what I'm worried about," said Gallo.
Manager Jeff Banister said Gallo will be the Rangers' starting first baseman in 2018, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News reports. After spending time at multiple positions in 2017 -- he started 66 games at third base, 52 at first base and 17 in left field -- Gallo will enter the upcoming campaign with a clear-cut role as the team's everyday first baseman. The 24-year-old was a favorite to win the starting job after bashing 41 homers in 145 games last season, though his accompanying .209 batting average and 36.8 percent strikeout rate understandably left the Rangers with some worries. He did walk a decent amount, however, leaving him with a more respectable .333 on-base percentage at the end of the year. The hope is that keeping Gallo at one position in 2018 will allow him to focus more on improving his offensive approach; if he's able to cut down on his strikeout rate, he has the power potential to flirt with a 50-homer campaign.
Gallo isn't in the lineup Sunday against the Athletics. Despite hitting two home runs Saturday, bringing his total up to 41 for the year, Gallo will head to the bench for the Rangers' season finale. Although he owns an unsightly .209 batting average, Gallo's power proved to be dangerous this season. Gallo logged 94 hits, 41 of them being home runs.
Gallo connected for his 40th and 41st home runs of the season in the Rangers' 8-4 victory over the Athletics on Saturday. The young slugger kicked off the scoring in the second inning with a two-run shot off Oakland starter Daniel Gossett, then followed it up with a solo shot in the third off Simon Castro. Despite just a .209 batting average on the season, Gallo now has 80 RBI and 85 runs on the season, helping to cement his role in Texas' offense. Naturally, he'll need to start making more contact if he wants to become a top-tier player in the league, but his power potential and ability to take walks certainly hold some value as long as he can carve out something close to an everyday role in 2017.
Gallo is not in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Astros, Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. It's a well deserved day off for Gallo, as the 23-year-old has started 26 straight games for the Rangers, hitting .222/.340/.422 with four homers and 12 RBI. In his place, Ryan Rua will start at first base and bat ninth.
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