Poor Joey Gallo. So much promise, so little to show for it so far.
Most players will tell you that hitting is 85% confidence, the other 15% is thinking you can do it.
Gallo’s problem isn’t just with the twelve-inch-wide slab of rubber known as home plate, it’s in the seven-inch-wide slab of head upon his shoulders.
He is pressing. How else to explain how a guy with that much talent seems so utterly, cluelessly lost?
You have to feel for the guy. Everybody is familiar with the famous picture from his Little League days in Las Vegas of him, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant. The three amigos. How crushing does it have to be to see his two childhood friends each win the National League M.V.P. in consecutive seasons, all while he is struggling just to hang on at Triple-A?
While there is a part of him that is naturally thrilled for the success of his friends, you can’t help being reminded of the Gore Vidal quote, “Every time a friend succeeds, a little something inside of me dies.”
Oddly, every expert on MLB Network Radio has predicted big things from Gallo this year. I’m not sure if they actually saw him carry a bat to the plate last year or if they are just going by old press clippings. But Gallo is more lost than Amelia Earhart.
And that’s a shame. His power potential is off the charts.
Maybe those predictions just add to the weight of expectations crushing his shoulders. But you can’t help feeling 2017 is his last chance at being a prospect. He is dangerously close to Chi Chi Gonzalez territory.
History suggested he wouldn’t ever be the All-Star some projected upon him. Only seven players who led the minor leagues in home runs have ever made a major league all-star game: Ryan Howard, who did it three times, Bryan LeHair, Danny Tartabull, Ron Kittle, Tim Laudner, Dave Duncan, and Kris Bryant.
Right now, the All-Star Game in Miami is the furthest thing on Joey Gallo’s mind.
Instead, it appears his mind is cluttered with doubt, insecurity, apprehension and confusion. All of which are the enemy of confidence.
On the bright side, a little bloop that falls in for a base hit today can turn it all around.