This is when Gallo first came up. Third baseman Adrian Beltre was injured so they called up Gallo to play third. He went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a home run in his first game. He ended up the season hitting .205 with an OPS of .717.
Let’s say Joey Gallo performs so well they cannot send him back down. Then what?
And what does him performing so well they cannot send him back down look like?
After 24 at bats, Gallo seems to be holding his own. He’s batting .292, with a very good OBP of .370 and an OPS of .954. The American League average OPS is just above .700.
But he has struck out 13 times in those 24 at bats. Which means he strikes out at a 52.4% rate. How high is that?
Consider this: The record for strikeouts in one major league season is 223 by Mark Reynolds. The AL record holder is Adam Dun with 222.
Joey Gallo would exceed that by a long shot. If you take his current pace, and project that over a 162-game season, Gallo would strike out 351 times.
He’d also hit 54 home runs with 135 RBIs.
So, is he ready? What can he learn in AAA that he isn’t learning here? How not to strike out so much?
Face it, he is a strike out machine with incredible power. That’s what he has been. That’s what he will be.
The question is, how much striking out can you take?
Look at his minor league totals. In 1177 at bats, he struck out 478 times, or a rate of 40.6% of the time. His minor league OPS is a remarkable 1.010.
He hits a home run every 9.6 at bats in the minor leagues, every 12.0 at bats in the major leagues. Small sample size, to be sure. But the numbers are what the numbers are.
Right now, the numbers would suggest he is close. He could use a bit of AAA seasoning, see if he can cut down on striking out. If he can do that on the major league level, we are talking about a phenomenal talent. If not, another Mark Reynolds.
The next two weeks will go a long way to determine Gallo’s readiness. He will face Sonny Gray (who no Ranger can hit), Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke, Chris Sale (again, who stuck him out three times last week) and Carlos Rondon. Seasoned major league hitters struggle with those pitchers.
If by the time Adrian Beltre returns Gallo does indeed prove he belongs to stay up with the Rangers, then it gets interesting.
Can you live with 54 home runs, 135 RBIs and 351 strikeouts?