Tag Archives: Joey Gallo

Texas Rangers ride back into AL Wildcard race

The Rangers have ridden back into the AL playoff race
The Texas Rangers have been champions of the American League West Division in four of the last seven years. In eight of the last nine they have either won the division or finished as the runners-up.
But for much of the 2017 campaign, the Rangers struggled. Jeff Banister‘s squad sat with a 13-20 mark just a little more than one month into the season.
Since then this has been a roller coaster ride of a year for the ball club. Texas ran off 10 straight wins to get back on the winning side of the ledger. But then the Rangers followed that winning streak up by losing 12 of their next 16 contests. That was followed by eight wins in the next 10 games.
Back and forth it has gone like that all year. Just three weeks ago, on August 27, Texas was 64-66 and appeared headed towards a long off-season. The Rangers were just three games off the AL Wildcard pace at that point. But there were also four other teams in front of them vying for that same final playoff berth.
Flash-forward three weeks. Following Monday night’s 5-3 victory over the division rival Seattle Mariners, the Rangers sit just two games off that postseason pace.
Wins in eight of their last 11 games have Texas now at 72-71. They are two games behind the Minnesota Twins in the race for the final AL Wildcard. The AL West-rival Los Angeles Angels are the only other team ahead of them. The Angels sit just a game ahead of the Rangers.


Veteran lefty Cole Hamels picked up the win on the mound on Monday night. He struck out seven M’s batters while walking just one and scattering a half-dozen hits over six innings, raising his record on the season to 10-3.

“Obviously, we’re right neck and neck, and every win matters,” Hamels said per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.

“It’s not going to get any easier. We play some tough teams … we definitely have to win series, and that’s the only way we know how to stay within this fight. It’s just a matter of focusing on what we can do and believing in each other, and we’re having a good time doing it.”


Texas is finding a way to do it without their leader, future Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre, who is likely done for the season with a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring.
The club has managed to keep their collective heads above water since losing Beltre, winning six of 10 while he has been out. His replacement for the most part has been Joey Gallo.
The 23-year old perennial prospect has hit just .212 in September with one homer and four RBI. But his .395 on-base percentage during the month has allowed him to score seven times. Getting increased production from Gallo is likely to be a big key if the Rangers are to push into a playoff position.

The Rangers will visit Angel Stadium in Anaheim for a three-game head-to-head with Mike Trout and the Halos this coming weekend. With the Twins having to visit both Yankee Stadium to face the vastly improved Yankees and Progressive Field to take on the white-hot Cleveland Indians, the door could be open for the winner of that Texas-LA series to take over that final playoff spot.

Streaking Rangers powered by Joey Gallo

On Friday night at Tigers Stadium, the Texas Rangers held off the host Detroit Tigers by a 5-3 score. The victory was a 10th straight for the streaking Rangers.
Now at 23-20, they have slipped to within 6.5 games of their in-state AL West Division rivals, the Houston Astros.
The Rangers have made this move without their future Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre in the lineup. Beltre injured his right calf just one week into the 2017 season, and has been on the Disabled List ever since.
Beltre is now on the road to recovery. Earlier this week, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram reported that his return to the lineup is likely just a couple of weeks away. Wilson quoted Beltre after the Rangers training staff had allowed the now 38-year old to test the calf by running on it at half speed:
“It’s on the right track. I just have to make sure my legs are in shape and not to have any setbacks. So far, the plan the trainers have for me has been working, and I’m trying to follow that plan.”
Stepping into Beltre’s place in the lineup has been the man who is perhaps the future at the Hot Corner in Texas. Joey Gallo is a 23-year old who has been one of the club’s top prospects for years.
Gallo was the Rangers supplemental first round choice at 39th overall in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.


Gallo’s game is power. He crushed 22 home runs in his first minor league season as an 18-year old after signing during that summer of 2012. He followed that up by bombing 40 and 42 homers the following two seasons as he advanced through the Rangers minor league season.
Called up for the first time in early June of the 2015 season, Gallo has not been able to stick in Arlington. The big holes in his power swing have been exposed by big league pitching to this point.
However, with Beltre out this season, and with the Rangers lineup struggling for a good portion of his absence, Gallo’s power has fully emerged.
With 13 home runs, Gallo is tied for second in Major League Baseball with big names like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, just one off the game’s leaders. His 29 RBI have Gallo tied for fifth in the American League.
Gallo has also been aggressive on the base paths. His four stolen bases are as many bags as he swiped in the last two full minor league campaigns combined.
A big moment in last night’s victory over the host Tigers was yet another Gallo blast. With the Rangers clinging to a narrow 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth, the lefty hitter drove a Daniel Norris fastball deep into the right field seats. The two-run homer provided Texas with their ultimate margin of victory.


It hasn’t been all rosy for Gallo. His 63 strikeouts are tops in the American League, and he is hitting just .188 with a .304 on-base percentage.
Prior to last night, Gallo hit .091 with just one home in his previous 29 plate appearances over eight games. But as Mike Heika with SportsDay at DallasNews.com reported, both Gallo and the Rangers believe that this recent slump was different.
“There’s some patience there. He’s not chasing,” Heika quoted Rangers manager Jeff Banister.
“I still think there are going to be times when pitchers are making good pitches on him, but the other night he put the ball in play four consecutive times and didn’t come away with a hit.”
If Gallo keeps up his power pace, it will be difficult for Banister to remove him from the lineup once Beltre returns. The dilemma will then be what to do with the youngster.


First base is manned by Mike Napoli. The 35-year old is a similar player, but from the right side of the plate. Napoli is second on the Rangers with nine long balls. However, the veteran is hitting just .182 with 50 strikeouts.
At the Designated Hitter spot, the Rangers have mostly gone with 34-year old veteran Shin-Soo Choo. The Korean native is hitting just .258 at this point. But Choo’s .377 OBP reflects a far greater level of consistency than either Napoli or Gallo provide.
If everyone is healthy, there remains a chance that Gallo could find himself back in the Pacific Coast League with AAA Round Rock. That would become a greater likelihood should his power slack off.
But what if Gallo does keep ripping balls into the night? What if he keeps helping power the club to victories as he did last night? That is when the aging veterans better have their games together. Otherwise, this time it may be one of them scraping for playing time.

Phillies Looking to Add a Lefty Bat

The rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies escaped the cellar of the National League East Division in the 2016 season. Despite improving by seven games in the standings, the club continued to show significant shortcomings.
The greatest area of short-term concern for the Fightin’ Phils remains with offensive production from the lineup. The 2016 Phillies were the worst offensive team in baseball.
This past season, the Phillies finished last in runs scored (610) by a wide margin. The 29th place team, the division rival Atlanta Braves, scored 649 times. The top two scoring teams in the NL, the Colorado Rockies and World Series champion Chicago Cubs, scored 845 and 808 runs, respectively.
There has been a great deal of speculation in recent months that the Phillies might be interested in adding a new bat to their outfield mix. This addition would come either from signing an available free agent or via trade.
One new outfielder has already been brought on board. The Phillies traded for Howie Kendrick, installing him as the new left fielder. It is believed now that the club is looking to add a more proven right fielder, or a left-handed bat to platoon at first base with Tommy Joseph.
On Sunday morning, Phillies President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail was a guest on MLB Network Radio’s “Front Office” program. Per Jim Bowden, MacPhail stated that the Phillies are indeed looking to add a left-handed bat.

With this revelation, all previous speculation is now an official Phillies organizational position. So the team is indeed looking for a left-handed bat, preferably with some pop. What are the options?


Available left-handed or switch-hitting free agents include Pedro AlvarezKelly JohnsonAdam LindJustin Morneau and Logan Morrison. Also available are Brandon MossAngel PaganColby RasmusMichael Saunders and Matt Wieters.
And of course, both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have demonstrated pop in the past. Each of these former Phillies heroes remain available as free agents.
One lefty option available via trade is Jay Bruce of the New York Mets. A younger possibility is Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers.
While the Phillies are not going to turn back the clock by signing either Utley or Howard, any of the other names are possibilities. MacPhail and General Manager Matt Klentak are certainly mulling each of these and other options.
The ideal bat would be left-handed, of course. It would also be someone who could play both first base and the outfield. Also, it would be someone willing to sign a short-term deal, preferably for one year. Certainly no more than a two-year deal will be offered to such a player.

With today’s statement by MacPhail, the Phillies’ position is clear. Expect them to certainly add one lefty hitter to the mix of the type mentioned. Exactly which one is something that will now be speculated upon by those covering the team until a deal is done.

MLB 2016 Prediction: American League Rookie of the Year

Our staff has just released our predictions for the winners of each division, as well asour postseason predictions, including the 2016 World Series winner. 
I released my own predictions for the Phillies in the coming season. Now we begin the process of releasing our predictions for some of MLB’s major award winners.
Impact rookie ball players are always a fascinating part of any MLB season. A year ago, the Philadelphia Phillies began their rebuilding program by introducing 3rd baseman Maikel Franco for his first full campaign, and starting pitchers Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff as rookies on the mound.
A year ago there was a fascinating finish in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, with a near photo finish between a pair of talented shortstops with very different player profiles.
The award went to Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, who delivered a .279/.345/.512 slash line with 22 homers, 68 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in just 387 at-bats across 99 games following his call-up to the big leagues on June 8th.
The runner-up was Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. He produced a .313/.353/..482 slash line with a dozen homers, 51 RBI, 50 runs scored, and a dozen stolen bases in 390 at-bats across the same 99 games following his own promotion on June 14th.
While Correa had more of an offensive profile and Lindor a top-notch defensive reputation, each proved to be a more than capable performer in all aspects of the game during their freshman campaigns.
Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano banged out 18 homers and drove in 52 runs with a .269/.385/.530 slash line over 279 at-bats in just 80 games. 
He finished in third place a year ago. For the coming season, it’s a teammate of Sano who has been made our staff choice as the AL Rookie of the Year favorite.

Byron Buxton has been a known commodity for the last 3-4 years in baseball circles. He was considered the top prospect in the game by Baseball America and a number of other evaluation sources during both the 2014 and 2015 seasons, but his big league arrival has been derailed by a series of injuries.
While some of the lustre has come off the Buxton shine for some evaluators due to those injuries and a poor showing during his debut a year ago, the Twins center fielder remained among the top prospects on every list prior to this 2016 season.
Buxton came to the Majors twice last season, first making his debut on June 14th and staying up for most of June. 
Returned to the minor leagues, he then came up for good on August 20th. He produced just a .209/.250/.326 slash line with 16 runs scored and two stolen bases over 138 plate appearances in 46 games.
The 22-year old only recorded 129 official at-bats with the Twins, one short of the MLB rookie eligibility limit. 
Thanks to that single at-bat, Buxton remains an official candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award this season.
Our staff gave the talented 5-tooler half of our eight votes to become the cumulative favorite. However, four other players each received a single vote, and each has to be considered a legitimate candidate as well.
Those receiving votes included Texas Rangers slugging 3rd baseman/outfielder Joey Gallo, who is beginning the season in the minor leagues. 
Also receiving votes and starting the year in the minors are Houston Astros 1st baseman A.J. Reed and Minnesota pitcher Jose Berrios.
A spring surprise who won a starting job in MLB and who has received the vote from our Ryan Gerstel was infielder/DH Tyler White of the Houston Astros. 
The 25-year old White hit for a .325/.442/.496 slash line with 14 homers and 99 RBI in a 2015 season split between AA and AAA in the Astros’ minor league system.
White won a surprise role with one of the American League’s top teams with an outstanding spring in which he hit for a .353/.443/.588 slash line in the Grapefruit League, with three homers and a dozen RBI down in Florida. 
If he keeps hitting like that, he will certainly keep his job and remain a contender for the rookie award.
Others who could emerge as top rookies this season in the junior circuit include Twins’ Korean import DH Byung-ho Park, Indians ouftielder Tyler Naquin, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Rays pitcher Blake Snell, and Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara.