22 – 40 – 37 (so far)
These are the home run totals that Rangers prospect Joey Gallo has amassed over the past 3 seasons in the minors, from Rookie Ball to AA Frisco. Those are more home runs than previous Rangers prospects have produced in their time in the minors. Hank Blalock hit a total of 40 home runs over a period of 3 seasons in the minors. Mike Olt hit 52 over 2 seasons, including 42 between A+ and AA in 2012 before getting his first taste of the majors. Mitch Moreland hit 48 home runs over 3 minor league seasons before he reached the majors in 2011. Chris Davis, another Ranger prospect, hit 74 HR in 3 minor league seasons.
Gallo’s power is tantalizing for fantasy owners, but the Rangers recent track record of translating this power to the majors leaves questions surrounding Gallo’s prodigious power potential. According to The Baseball Cube, Gallo’s power rates at 100. Giancarlo Stanton rates as a 99, Jay Bruce rates at 94 and Chris Davis rates at 91. Davis hit 17 and 21 HR in his first 2 MLB seasons before hitting 1 homer in 45 games in 2010. In 2011 he hit 5 HR in 59 games before mashing onto the scene in 2012 with 33 HR and then 53 HR in 2013. Thus far in 2014, Davis has 17 HR while missing time on the DL, a far cry from the totals owners were expecting coming off a near Triple Crown Year in 2013.
Gallo strikes out a lot. So far in 2014 he has 146 K’s in 363 at-bats. Over his minor league career he has K’d a whopping 396 times in 980 at-bats! Over that time he has drawn 171 walks. His next HR will be his 100th minor league HR. It is becoming time that the Rangers must be considering bringing the young slugger to the majors. With Adrian Beltre entrenched at 3B until 2017, baring a trade, the Rangers can afford to take their time with the 20-year old Gallo. Which begs the question, what should fantasy owners do?
I have a few concerns based on Gallo’s splits. He hits nearly 70 points better against right-handed pitching than left. In an odd split line (though very small sample) he is a much better hitter at night. Scouts have often voiced concerns about the length of his swing. HR could be plentiful, but strikeouts will certainly come with more frequency.
As a Gallo owner, I am tempted to deal him as often as I have sworn to hold onto him until he makes his MLB debut. The league I own Gallo in is a contract dynasty league. I currently have Josh Donaldson at 3B under contract until 2017 ($8, $10, $15, $20). I have Ryan Zimmerman as my CI until 2016 ($14, $15, $16). Gallo could slide into my UT slot or replace the oft-injured Zimmerman. His contract would be $1, $2, $3 for the first 3 seasons, a great value to be sure. In a league such as this I am more likely going to hold onto Gallo unless I get another valuable piece, such as an inexpensive arm or another young bat. In other leagues, where promoted minor leaguers are not as valuable, I am more likely to deal him for a piece that could help me now and next season. Though his value is very high and the return could be equally high, with a chance to compete for the league title this year, now may be the time to see what my fellow owners think of Joey Gallo.