Texas Rangers Calling Up Top Prospect Joey Gallo
Until a week ago, the Texas Rangers really weren’t all that interesting this season and figured to finish at or near the cellar of the American League West. However, then the team activated outfielder Josh Hamilton last Monday and won five of seven games last week. Hamilton had a two-homer game in a win over Boston on Friday and then the pinch-hit walkoff double on Sunday.
The bad news from Sunday was the loss of third baseman Adrian Beltre as he has been diagnosed with a dislocated thumb but will seek a second opinion. No fractured was discovered in Beltre’s thumb, but he will be sidelined a minimum of two weeks. He was hurt sliding into second base Sunday. He also required four stitches for a laceration on the thumb. Beltre had a .293/.313/.455/.768 slash line in 30 May games. He also had one triple, four home runs, six doubles and 16 RBI in May.
So while that’s a loss, it also opened up a roster spot for Texas with Beltre on the disabled list and the team has filled it by calling up the most touted power-hitting prospect in baseball — yes, even more so than the Cubs’ Kris Bryant — in Joey Gallo.
What To Know About Gallo
Gallo, 21, was hitting .314 with a 1.061 OPS at Double-A Frisco and hit nine homers in May after a homer-free April. Gallo did not play Sunday for Frisco, leading to speculation that he might be headed to Triple-A Round Rock. The speculation turned from Round Rock to Arlington after the Beltre injury.
Gallo will make his major league debut in Tuesday night’s series opener with the Chicago White Sox. He has spent the season with Frisco, batting .314 (38-121) with 9 home runs, 10 doubles, and 31 RBI in 34 games. Gallo ranks among Texas League leaders in slugging percentage (2nd, .636), OPS (2nd, 1.061), home runs (3rd), RBI (4th), on-base percentage (5th, .425), and batting average (7th). He also has the circuit’s top at-bat per home run ratio at 13.44. All 9 home runs have come in his past 23 games beginning May 6, tied with Fresno’s Jon Singleton for most homers in the minor leagues in that span.
Gallo did not play his first game this season until April 25 following surgery on April 3 to remove a bone in his left ankle. He was in major league camp with the Rangers this spring for the first time, batting .250 (8-32) with 2 home runs and 6 RBIs in 15 games before he was assigned to minor league camp on March 23. The Rangers’ 2014 Minor League Player of the Year, Gallo set a club minor league record with 42 home runs last season. In 2013-14, he became the first minor leaguer with back-to-back 40-homer seasons since the White Sox’ Ron Kittle in 1981-82.
“When you see him hit something, you won’t forget,” says Justin Mashore, the Rangers’ Triple-A hitting coach. “You’ll tell your grandkids about when you saw him hit those home runs that everybody talks about.”
Gallo hit .466 with 67 home runs, a Nevada high school record, in 569 plate appearances in his four years at Bishop Gorman High School in Summerlin, Nev. He batted .509 with 21 homers and 80 RBIs in his 2011-12 senior season and was named the Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year and a High School All American. Gallo and Nationals star Bryce Harper played on the same youth team for four or five years before going off to different high schools. The two remain close and still talk regularly.
The Rangers took Gallo with the 39th pick of the 2012 MLB draft. He was committed to LSU, and it took the Rangers $2.25 million, well over the $1.325 million slot, to sign him.
The Rangers are +102 underdogs at BetOnline for Tuesday’s game. Gallo will face Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija. He appears back on track after a rough stretch, allowing just 2 earned runs in his last 15 innings over 2 starts. He should keep Chicago’s bullpen well rested, as he’s lasted at least 7 frames in 6 of his 10 outings.
Texas starts Colby Lewis. He had a streak of three straight winning decisions snapped by the Tribe on Wednesday. He allowed 10 runs in 2 2/3 innings. He is 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA in four starts at home. He is 4-0 with a 0.92 ERA in his last four starts against the White Sox.
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