Now that former Frisco RoughRider, Joey Gallo, has ascended to the big leagues, and flashed his legendary power, fans of the Texas Rangers are embracing him even more than before. It’s one thing to love a top-flight prospect, but once that prospect fulfills his promise with actual big league production…well, that’s when legends are born.
However, it is still not known if Joey Gallo will stay with the team once Adrian Beltre returns from his wrist injury. In fact, Rangers GM Jon Daniels has stated that Gallo will “likely” be sent back down to the minors (probably Triple-A Round Rock) as soon as he can pencil-in Beltre in the starting lineup.
But Gallo’s hot start to his major league career might make him too valuable to NOT be in the Rangers starting lineup…
Here are four reasons why the Rangers can’t afford to send Joey Gallo back down to the minors.
Gallo, the Texas Rangers’ number one prospect heading into this season, has been on the hardcore fans’ radar since his professional debut in 2012. With the buzz created by his recent promotion, he now moves the needle for even the casual fan.
When Josh Hamilton made his 2015 Rangers debut against the Cleveland Indians, 112,000 homes tuned in to the local broadcast, which translates to a 4.3 rating for Fox Sports Southwest.
When home grown talent Joey Gallo made his major league debut, it was seen in approximately 128,000 homes, good for a 4.9 rating. Gallo gets ratings, and improved attendance as well as heightened fan interest is the straw that stirs the business side of baseball.
Adrian Beltre as trade bait?
Fan favorite Adrian Beltre is still an excellent third baseman, as well as a solid middle-of-the-order power bat. He even recently signed a contract extension, guaranteeing he’ll be back in Arlington through 2016.
Unless he gets traded…
Beltre’s contract ($16M owed this year, with a 2016 option payable for $18M) is team friendly, includes that valuable extra year, and won’t make a GM spit out his Perrier like Elvis Andrus’ bloated price tag.
Now that the Rangers have segued from surefire trade deadline sellers, to possible buyers, you have to think that Beltre’s name could headline a trade to bring in a frontline starter.
The absence of Beltre, of course, means that third base is Joey Gallo’s for the foreseeable future.
Josh Hamilton has proven that he still has some magic left in his bat. Likewise, he’s shown he’s still injury-prone too, as the slugging outfielder recently landed on the disabled list with a balky hamstring.
Although a natural third basemen, Gallo has played some in the outfield, and possesses a strong enough arm to handle right field if need be. He could also play some first base to provide a day off for Mitch Moreland, who also has trouble staying on the field for an extended period time.
If 2014 proved anything, it’s that over the course of a 162 game season, injuries are going to happen. This raises the value of Gallo, as he is a player capable of manning multiple positions.
Plenty has been said about Gallo’s prodigious pop. What impresses me most, is that through his first 10 big league games, he has shown a plate patience that is unusual for a 21-year-old, much less a young power hitter.
Granted, he’s still going to strike out a ton—you can’t hit 470 foot bombs if you don’t swing—but if Gallo continues to make contact with off-speed offerings while not chasing breaking balls out of the zone, he can maximize his contact and ignite his once-in-a-generation power.
Joey Gallo is good for the game, and a boon to the Rangers. If he continues to make the necessary adjustments required in the major leagues, his power and defensive versatility should mean that he is up with the Texas Rangers to stay.