Joey Gallo

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Joseph Nicholas Gallo

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Biographical Information[edit]

Joey Gallo was a supplemental first-round selection in the 2012 amateur draft (signed by scout Todd Guggiana) and made his major league debut three years later. He was a third baseman at the time, but has since been switched to the outfield.

A little league teammate of Bryce Harper, Gallo set a Nevada record with 67 home runs while batting .466. He hit .275/.403/.412 with 10 runs and 10 RBI as junior Team USA's first baseman in the summer of 2011. He fielded .992 and led the team with 15 whiffs in 51 at-bats but also tied for the lead with 10 walks. The US won the junior Pan American Games. As a high school senior the next year, he batted .509 with 21 home runs, 66 runs and 80 RBI. He set a Nevada single-season RBI record and also set the Nevada high school career home run mark (65).

He was selected by the Texas Rangers in the supplemental first round of the 2012 amateur draft with the 39th overall pick. The pick was compensation for the loss of C.J. Wilson to free agency. It was the second of three first-round selections for Texas, after Lewis Brinson and before Collin Wiles. He soon signed and made his pro debut with the AZL Rangers on June 20th. Not missing a beat in turning pro, he was hitting .292/.485/.771 with 6 home runs, 18 walks, 20 runs and 14 RBI after 15 games. One big problem was his defense, with 8 errors and a .784 fielding percentage at the hot corner.

In 2013, he led all minor leaguers in home runs with 40, earning the Joe Bauman Award. He played most of the season with Hickory Crawdads of the Carolina League, where he hit .245/.334/.610 with 19 doubles and 38 homers in 106 games. He added a couple more homers in a five-game rehabilitation assignment with the AZL Rangers, finishing with a grand total of 40, and also drove in a total of 88 runs while scoring 86.

He was again leading the minor leagues in home runs, with 31, when he was selected to play in the 2014 Futures Game at Target Field on July 13th. Starting at DH for the U.S. team, he struck out twice, as is his wont, but also connected for a two-run homer off Michael Feliz in the 6th inning that put the U.S. ahead, 3-2, which would turn out to be the game's final score. He was named winner of the Larry Doby Award as the game's Most Valuable Player in recognition of his performance. He .271/.394/.615 with 42 homers and 106 RBIs in 126 games split between the Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans and AA Frisco Rough Riders. On the down side, he did strike out 179 times, although he also drew 87 walks. He finished second in the minor leagues in home runs, one behind fellow third baseman Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs organization.

Gallo began the 2015 season back in the minors with Frisco, although it was clear that a call-up was likely sometime during the season. He was hitting .314 with 9 homers and 31 RBIs in 34 games after a slow start when he got the anticipated call on June 1st, after Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb. Facing the Chicago White Sox, he singled off Jeff Samardzija in the 1st inning, driving in two runs, then followed that with a two-run shot to the upper deck off Samardzija in the 3rd and ended his night with a double off the top of the wall in the 5th inning. The Rangers won the game handily, 15-2. he went deep again in his second game, connecting off Zach Duke to lead off the 9th in a 9-2 loss. Not quite ready for stardom, he struck out 43 times in only 98 at-bats in June, and was sent back to the minors at the end of the month. He ended the year at .204 in 36 games with 6 homers and 14 RBIs. With Frisco and the AAA Round Rock Express, he hit .240 in 87 games, with 19 doubles, 23 homers and 63 RBIs.

In 2016, Gallo spent almost the entire season in the minors with Round Rock, where he played 102 games and put up a batting line of .240/.367/.529 with 25 homers and 66 RBIs. He struck out 150 times while drawing 68 walks and scored 71 times. He also played 17 games with Texas but had only 25 at-bats, hitting .040. In 2017, however, he began the year in the starting line-up because of an injury to Beltre. On April 9th, he had a career-high 5 RBIs in an 8-1 win over the Oakland Athletics, including a three-run homer off Sean Manaea. While he picked up a slew of strikeouts, he made up for this to a large extent by displaying tremendous power, including a number of tape-measure homers. On September 30th, the season's penultimate day, he hit two long balls against the A's to bring his total to 41, becoming the sixth player in Rangers history to reach the mark. In 145 games, he hit .209, with the 41 homers and 80 RBIs and also struck out 196 times. However, thanks to his power and his ability to draw walks - he had 75, his OPS+ was a very good 122 in spite of the low batting average and all the strikeouts.

He was back doing his thing with the Rangers in 2018. He regularly faced a defensive shift when he came to bat, as an extreme pull hitter who had only one thought in his head: hit the ball as hard as possible to the right side of the field. The Houston Astros took that to an extreme level on May 11th when they 6 of 7 fielders to the right side of the field to defend him, with only LF Marwin Gonzalez defending the other half of the field. The Astros had also successfully tried a shift with a fourth outfielder against him. His final stats that year were almost identical as they had been the year before: 148 games, a .206 average, 40 homers and 92 RBIs. He upped his strikeout total to 207, but also scored 103 runs.

In a statistical quirk, he had never driven in a run on a sacrifice fly until doing so for the first time on April 21, 2019; he had gone 1,145 at-bats until then, setting a major league record dating back to the introduction of the sac fly as a statistic - and after he broke through, it would take him over two years to hit another one, in September of 2021. On May 8th, he hit his 100th career homer. What was remarkable was that at that point, he had hit only 93 singles, by far the fewest of any player at the time of reaching the 100-homer mark: next on the list was Russell Branyan with 172 and Ken Phelps with 174. he also did this in 377 games, the third fewest ever, behind Ryan Howard at 325 and Ralph Kiner at 376. It was the fewest games in American League history at the time, but the mark was topped by Gary Sanchez later in 2019, when he hit #100 in his 355th game. Joey put everything together in the first half of the season, hitting .275 with 20 homers and 46 RBIs in 61 games for an OPS+ of 178, well above anything he had done until then. This allowed him to be named to the All-Star team for the first time, and explained why the Rangers were surprisingly in the hunt for a wild card at the halfway mark of the season. On July 25th, however, he went on the injured list as he had to undergo surgery on his right wrist; he was complaining of soreness and doctors found a fractured hook on his hamate bone, which was surgically removed. He was in a 1-for-28 slump at the time, with the problem contributing greatly to his hitting woes. He was unable to return after the surgically.

In 2020, he played 57 games for the Rangers in a season shortened to 60 games by the Coronavirus pandemic. His production with the bat was a big disappointment, as he batted just .181 with 8 doubles and 10 homers while striking out 79 times. His OPS+ was only 82. He did have a good year with the glove, however, winning a Gold Glove in right field. It was assumed that he was a poor fielder because he had been moved off third base and was strikeout prone, but he is in fact very athletic with a strong arm. In late June and early July in 2021, he homered in five consecutive games, hitting seven long balls in that stretch to reach the 20-homer mark for the fourth time. He was named to the All-Star team for the second time, but by then trade rumors were swirling around him as it had been reported that he had refused the offer of an extension from the Rangers, and it was assumed that they would prefer to trade him now that his value was high, rather than let him walk away without compensation in a year's time. On July 28th, he was hitting .223 in 95 games, but with 25 homers, 55 RBIs and an AL-leading 74 walks when he was scratched from the starting line-up at the last moment. It did not take long for reporters to confirm that a deal had been struck with the New York Yankees, with Gallo and P Joely Rodriguez going to the Yankees in return for four prospects, none of which was particularly high profile: 2B Ezequiel Duran, 2B Trevor Hauver, P Glenn Otto and SS Josh Smith. The trade still awaited confirmation pending physicals, something which came through shortly thereafter. However, Gallo then failed to hit with New York. He batted .160 in 58 games in 2021, and although he slugged 13 homers, giving him 38 on the year, he also struck out 88 times. In fact, he led the AL in both walks (111) and strikeouts (213). He made his postseason debut in the Wild Card Game against the Boston Red Sox but went 0 for 4 as the Yankees lost the game.

In 2022, he was slated to be the Yankees' left fielder, with Aaron Hicks in center and Aaron Judge in right, and Giancarlo Stanton as the disignated hitter, but he again failed to hit, and as result lost playing time as the season advanced, event though the Yankees were on a roll and running away with a division title. He hit .159 in 82 games, with 12 homers and 24 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 77. The Yankees had clearly given up on him, and for the second straight year, he was traded at the trading deadline, but this time he was sent away as dead wood on August 2nd, by which time he was in a 6 for 71 skein since mid-June. Interestingly, the team willing to take a chance on his regaining his hitting strike was another contender, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who gave up a low-level prospect in P Clayton Beeter in order to bring him on board. Things did not really go much better for his new team as he batted .162 in 44 games with 7 homers and 23 RBIs. However, he was no longer the target of boo-birds, as the Dodgers were winning and he was buried at the bottom of the batting order. He did appear briefly in the postseason, in one game on defense in the Dodgers' upset loss to the San Diego Padres in the Division Series, but did not come to bat. He became a free agent in the off-season and on December 16th signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins for $11 million in the hope of getting his career back on track.

He started the 2023 season on a good run with the Twins, hitting 7 homers in April with an OPS above 1.000. However, he went into a very deep slump immediately after that with only 1 hit through his first 8 games in May. He still played good defence and on May 10th made the highlight reel for a tremendous catch that robbed Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres of a double. He made stumbling, sliding grab after a long run in left field, only to see the ball bounce out of his glove as the glove hit the grass. Somehow, the ball did not touch the ground, but bounced upwards, and he managed to snatch it out of the air with his bare hand to complete the catch, all while lying on his back. He then got up and calmly threw to first base to double off Jake Cronenworth, who was convinced the ball had dropped and was standing on second base, for an inning-ending double play. On May 13th, manager Rocco Baldelli used him as his leadoff hitter for the first time of his career, and continued to do so after he went 3 for 10 in his first two games in the role, homering in both games. Overall, he hit .177 in 111 games, with 21 homers and 40 RBIs. He struck out 142 times in 282 at-bats - just over 50% of the time, but still managed to draw 48 walks so his OBP at .301 was not awful, and his OPS+ was at 101. However, he played his last game on September 5th due to a foot injury and he missed the postseason as well.

Gallo was a free agent again after the 2023 season and on January 23, 2024, it was reported that he had agreed on a one-year deal worth $5 million with the Washington Nationals.

Gallo grew up in Las Vegas, NV and has known big league slugger Jason Giambi since he was 10 years old. He considers him a mentor as he has regularly talked to him about on and off-field matters, helping him to grow as a hitter and as a person.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2014 Player of the Year Carolina League Myrtle Beach Pelicans
  • 2-time AL All-Star (2019 & 2021)
  • 2-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2020 & 2021/RF)
  • AL Bases on Balls Leader (2021)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (2017-2019, 2021 & 2023)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2017, 2018 & 2021)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2017 & 2018)


Further Reading[edit]

  • Jessica Camerato: "Gallo checks all these boxes for Nationals",, January 24, 2024. [1]
  • Sarah Langs: "There has never been a slugger like Joey Gallo",, May 8, 2019. [2]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "With extended opportunity, Rangers' Joey Gallo starting to shine", USA Today Sports, April 19, 2017. [3]
  • Do-Hyoung Park: "Twins add Gallo on 1-year, $11M deal",, December 16, 2022. [4]
  • Do-Hyoung Park: "Here’s how Gallo can get his groove back",, February 14, 2023. [5]
  • Do-Hyoung Park: "Turns out Joey Gallo is a great leadoff hitter. Just don't tell him that",, May 18, 2023. [6]
  • Phil Rogers: "Gallo learning the virtues of patience",, March 18, 2016. [7]
  • T.R. Sullivan: "Rangers' Gallo setting sights high and far: Ninth-ranked overall prospect credits Giambi as mentor, working to become a complete player",, February 18, 2015. [8]

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