Frisco RoughRiders’ slugger Joey Gallo has had his fair share of media coverage this season. Hey, when you’re yet of legal drinking age and put up big boy numbers like .298/.415/.669 with 37 HRs and 93 RBI, the coverage will continue.
Yet in the dicey world of talent evaluation, it’s always murky waters we wade when we look to player projection. This is why it’s sometimes useful (and mostly fun) to compare some current/former big leaguers that have similar skill sets. So here’s a look at how Joey Gallo stacks up against two former major-league All-Stars in Troy Glaus and Adam Dunn.
1B Adam Dunn – Major League Stats: .238/.366/.492, 457 HRs, 1,148 RBI, 1,307 BBs, 2,226 Ks
Say what you will about “Big Donkey,” but Adam Dunn has (somewhat) quietly put together a fine big league career. The 6’6” 285 lb Texan was slated to be the University of Texas’ next great quarterback—he might not have been a scrambler, but good luck trying to tackle that gigantic son of a gun…Dunn put the pigskin on hold to sign with the Cincinnati Reds in the 2nd Round of the 1998 MLB Draft.
You look at his career stats and you see the obvious power. Between 2004 and 2009, Dunn averaged over 40 home runs per season. Dunn is an easy 80 grade on the scout’s scale (40-80) on power. Gallo grades as an easy 80 too. The curious thing about Dunn is that during his minor league career, he was far from a free swinger. He struck out 270 times but walked 230 times over his 1,483 minor league plate appearances. It seems apparent that Dunn sacrificed contact for power in the bigs, and it has certainly paid off for him. The question with Joey Gallo is if his hit tool is keen enough to make enough contact power to be a usable asset at the big league level.
Bottom Line: Dunn has a far more discerning eye at the plate, and at this point in Gallo’s development, Dunn has far less swing-and-miss than Gallo has shown. Gallo’s arm is far stronger, and with improved footwork at third base, he may stick their defensively and will always be Dunn’s superior defensively.
3B Troy Glaus – (Retired) Major League Stats: .254/.358/.489, 320 HRs, 950 RBI, 854 BBs, 1,377 Ks
Troy Glaus, like Gallo and Dunn, was drafted out of high school, by the San Diego Padres in the second round of the 1994 MLB Draft. Glaus opted not to sign and enrolled at UCLA. After dominating during his college time, Glaus was drafted as the third overall pick in the 1997 MLB Draft by the Anaheim Angels.
Troy Glaus, at 6’5” and 220 pounds, is very similar to Joey Gallo in size. Glaus also was a fine third basean, and Gallo has a chance to be his defensive equivalent. Perhaps due to his tutelage at the collegiate level, Glaus hit the ground running in the minors and spent only 473 plate appearances on the farm before being called up to the bigs. In the bush leagues, Glaus went .307/.402/.641 with 35 HRs, 93 RBI with a very solid strikeout to walk ratio of 96:60.
Like Dunn, Glaus was able to translate his plus-power to the big leagues, averaging 44 home runs during the 2000-2001 season, and hitting over 27 bombs seven times during his 13-year big league career. Unlike Dunn, Glaus was one of the many names listed on the Mitchell Report, which is a Who’s Who of the Steroid Era.
Bottom Line: Although steroids likely contributed to Glaus’ success, he still had a more discerning pitch selection than Gallo currently possesses. Gallo’s athleticism and plus-arm give him a chance, like Glaus, to stay at the hot corner. If his batting eye continues to improve, he could very well put up 40+ plus bombs and hit around .250 with the Texas Rangers.
In other words, if Gallo can continue to improve his hit tool while minimizing his strikeouts, there is no reason to think he can’t be a viable power threat at the big league level.