Joey Gallo happy helping Texas Rangers with singles, walks
The hustle and bustle of Joey Gallo’s 100th career home run two years ago wasn’t so much that he was the fastest player in American League history to hit 100, but that he only had 93 career singles.
He was the figurehead for the three true results of baseball – homerun, strikeout or walk. It doesn’t matter that he’s a gold glove winner who makes the bases run well for anyone, let alone someone who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds.
He could still be the figurehead depending on who watched the past performance instead of paying attention to what Gallo is doing this season. And it’s entirely possible that by the end of the season he’ll be the same batsman he noticed.
At the moment, however, Gallo is on the base like never before. Oh, he’s taken a lot of walks in his career, but the player who has two consecutive 40-homer seasons on his baseball-reference.com page started with 11 singles and just one homer on Friday.
Gallo has become – gasp! – A batsman who understands how teams attack him and how the defense builds up in the right field to stop him. He’s not Tony Gwynn slapping the ball to the left, but right now he’s not all or nothing.
And that’s good for him.
“Honestly, if I do 10 home runs or 40 home runs, I’ll be fine,” Gallo said on Friday. “I did 40 home runs two seasons in a row and was absolutely thrilled with them.
“For me, it’s all the team needs. This is how I feel now. Whatever our team needs, I think that’s totally cool. Now the team has to get down to earth for me. “
Gallo entered the second game of a three-game single-series homestand against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, hitting 0.256 with a base percentage of 0.467 and a slugging percentage of 0.326. His 14 walks resulted in MLB.
He had reached all 15 games that season. His fourth inning hit against the San Diego Padres on April 9 was the only thing stopping Joe Musgrove’s no-hitter from being a perfect game.
And then there were those 11 singles. Gallo is about to redefine who he is as a batsman.
“It’s kind of fun, but it’s nice,” said Gallo. “They are things that I’ve been working on. I see a shift and I see holes, places. I’m just trying to shoot a ball into the hole somewhere and put the club on the ball and let things happen.
“Tampa Bay, they had about seven people outfield, so I won’t be able to hit a double. I know because there is no place to hit a ball. I have to either hit a ball through a hole somewhere, run, or hit a home run. “
But do the Rangers need Gallo to meet more homers? It’s not like they’ve had a ton of proven power hitters behind them, although Nate Lowe benefited from having Gallo on the grassroots.
Fear of Gallo’s power adds to his walks, and the Rangers get along well if he just gets down to the base. You have a feeling the homers are about to come.
“He’s the guy who’s got more homers than singles,” said manager Chris Woodward. “If he’s still able to get almost 50% down on the base, that speaks volumes about what this guy is as a batsman right now. He doesn’t even hit Homer and they still go for a walk with him.
“If he stops beating Homer, they will stop going with him. At some point he will have to beat Homer, but I firmly believe he will because he has a lot of power. “
Until then, the Rangers’ offensive is coping well with their new single hitter who has found new ways to influence a game.
“He has a great eye and often the teams don’t want to talk to him,” said second baseman Nick Solak. “If he goes for a walk and is on the ground, we have more opportunities to score.
“You see the power and you see the glove, but Joey is also a great base runner. As much as he gets down to earth, I think it’s putting a lot of pressure on the other team. That helps the offense enormously. “
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After 12 seasons of treating the Rangers for the Star Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and that baseball involves far more than just the 162 games per season. Jeff has more to offer too – like a family and formidable arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes – but sometimes it’s hard to tell.