Texas Ranger minor league third baseman Joey Gallo was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for last week, and is off to a red-hot start to the 2014 season.
The 20 year old Gallo spent the 2013 season in low-A Hickory, where he had a bizarre statistical season. Gallo put up a .245/.334/.610 slash line in the Sally League, with 38 home runs and 165 Ks in 446 plate appearances. Gallo has incredible raw power, which is reflected in his home run total from last year, but also had major contact issues -- the 37% K rate is a rate that almost no player who went on to a major league career has had in low-A ball.
So coming into the 2014 season, Gallo was an intriguing guy, someone with huge ability but equally huge red flags. 11 games into the 2014 campaign, however, Gallo has put up impressive numbers. Gallo has a .343/.447/.800 line through 11 games (47 plate appearances), with 5 homers, 9 walks and 12 Ks. While 12 strikeouts in 11 games is a lot of Ks, at a 25.5% rate, its still much better than what he was doing last year.
BP had a scouting write-up on Gallo as part of their report on the Myrtle Beach/Wilmington series, and praised his approach, pitch recognition and ability to make adjustments. Its nice to see the electric stat line be accompanied with visual reports that suggest he's improving in his areas of weakness, and isn't simply pounding mistakes by inferior pitchers.
Its way too early to get too excited about Gallo, both because the season is very young and because he's still far away. Finishing the season at AA Frisco would be an accomplishment for Gallo, and we shouldn't be thinking about him possibly contributing at the major league level until late 2015, at the earliest.
But with the downer start that the Rangers are off to, I thought it was worth highlighting one of the real bright spots from the early part of the minor league season.