This spring is about a few things.
Jurickson Profar. And when can we stop cringing every time he makes a throw?
A. J. Griffin. And is this the steal of the offseason or just another broken down arm passing through town?
Chi Chi Gonzalez or Nick Martinez. And if Griffin is a bust (see above), then which one of these two gets to hold Darvish’s coffee until June?
Ian Desmond. And how quickly will he make us forget that Jake Smolinski and Carlos Peguero and Kyle Blanks and Adam Rosales and Will Venable and Delino DeShields and Ryan Rua and Joey Gallo and Ryan Strausborger (the forgotten man, when was the last time you heard his name mentioned this spring?) and Mike Napoli all spent time standing in left field in 2015?
And Joey Gallo. And how quickly can the disappointment of last season crawl out of his head and confidence can take its place?
The Gallo story carries a ton of ramifications. He described last season as the most difficult year of his life, and said he was so angry with himself for “failing every single day” that he just had to get away this off-season and not think about baseball. A sort of sorbet for the mind. Just clear it out and move on.
It’s a delicate ecosystem in an athlete’s mind. Failure corrodes. Especially when it’s foreign, when things have come together so naturally every day of your life up to that point.
He was the third of the Three Amigos that are destined to be the new power source of baseball with Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant.
The other two found success last year. Big success. Bigger, even, then the already lofty expectations hoisted upon them. All Gallo found was a way to miss pitch after pitch.
Make no mistake. Even if he develops into a perennial All-Star, he will miss a lot of pitches. He is a high strikeout guy. Think Adam Dunn. Think Dave Kingman. Think, if we dare, Reggie Jackson. The strikeouts will be as common in his future as the disappointment was in his past year. And that can be okay if the power parts of his game are working.
What this spring is all about is getting his confidence back up, and getting his bat on the ball with some sort of regularity.
It’s about putting his worst year behind him. About not telling himself every time he walks up to the plate that he will fail once again. Not conquering the twelve inches of real estate that is home plate but the few inches of real estate inside his head.
This spring is about a few things. For Joey Gallo, it’s not about finding a major league roster spot. It’s about finding a rudder.
He is a kid I am rooting like hell for.