Joey Gallo
Joey Gallo in 2017 (cropped).jpg
Gallo with the Texas Rangers in 2017
Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 12
Left fielder
Born: (1993-11-19) November 19, 1993 (age 28)
Henderson, Nevada
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB debut
June 2, 2015, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
(through September 19, 2022)
Batting average.201
Home runs176
Runs batted in382
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Joseph Nicholas Gallo (born November 19, 1993) is an American professional baseball left fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has previously played for the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.

The Rangers selected Gallo in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft, and he made his MLB debut with the Rangers in 2015. He was selected to the 2019 and 2021 MLB All-Star Games and won the Gold Glove Award in 2020 and 2021.

Early life

Gallo attended Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.[1] As a senior, he was the Nevada Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year and a High School All-American by MaxPreps, ESPNHS and USA Today.[2][3][4][5] He hit a Nevada high school record 67 career home runs in 446 at bats, and during his senior year of high school he had a .509 batting average with 21 home runs and 80 runs batted in (RBIs) in 114 at bats.[6][7]

Gallo signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Louisiana State University (LSU) and play college baseball for the LSU Tigers.[8]

Professional career

Draft and minor leagues

The Texas Rangers selected Gallo in the first round, with the 39th overall selection, in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft.[9][10] Rather than enroll at LSU, Gallo signed with the Rangers for a $2.25 million signing bonus.[8]

Gallo with the Hickory Crawdads in 2013
Gallo with the Hickory Crawdads in 2013

Gallo started his professional career with the Arizona League Rangers, where he hit .293/.435/.733 with 18 home runs and 52 runs batted in in 150 at bats over 43 games, and was named a Post-Season AZL All Star, a Topps Short-Season/Rookie All Star, and the Topps AZL Player of the Year.[11] The 18 home runs were an Arizona League record.[12] He was named the Arizona League MVP.[13][14] He was promoted to the Spokane Indians of the Class A Short-Season Northwest League, hitting .214/.343/.464 with four home runs and 26 strikeouts in 56 at bats in 16 games.[11]

Prior to the 2013 season, Gallo was the Rangers 10th-best prospect according to Baseball America.[15] He played the season with the Hickory Crawdads of the Class A South Atlantic League, leading the league with 38 home runs and 165 strikeouts in 392 at bats, and was named a Mid-Season All Star and a Post-Season All Star.[16][11] He became the first teenager since Dick Simpson in 1962 to hit 40 home runs in a minor league season.[17] Between two minor league teams, he batted .251/.338/.623 with 40 home runs and 172 strikeouts in 411 at bats. Gallo won the Joe Bauman Home Run Award for hitting the most home runs in minor league baseball for the 2013 season.[18] Over the offseason, he worked out with Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Giambi at the Philippi Sports Institute in Las Vegas.[19]

Gallo started the 2014 season with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League, batting .323/.463/.735 and leading the league with 21 home runs as he struck out 64 times in 189 at bats and was named a Mid-Season All Star and a Post-Season All Star as well as the Carolina League MVP, and was promoted to the Frisco RoughRiders of the Class AA Texas League in June where he was named a Post-Season All Star, a Baseball America High Class A All Star, a Baseball America Minor League All Star, and a Topps Class A All Star.[20][21][11] In July, he played in the All-Star Futures Game, where he was named the MVP of the game after hitting a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning.[22] Between the two minor league teams he batted .271/.394/.615 with 42 home runs and 179 strikeouts in 439 at bats.[11] Gallo began the 2015 season with Frisco, and was named a Mid-Season Texas South All Star.[11]

Texas Rangers (2015–2021)

On June 1, the Rangers promoted Gallo to the major leagues.[23] In his first major league game, June 2, Gallo hit his first major league home run and drove in 4 runs (becoming the first Ranger to achieve four RBIs in an MLB debut game), going 3-4 in the game. He also had a single and a double in the game.[24] On June 5, Gallo earned his first MLB Golden Sombrero against the Kansas City Royals, making him the earliest to accomplish this in a Ranger career.[25] On June 30, 2015, Gallo was optioned to Triple A to make room for Josh Hamilton. In the minors, between two minor league teams he batted .240/.342/.520 with 23 home runs and 139 strikeouts in 321 at bats. In 2015 in the majors he batted .204/.301/.417 with 6 home runs and 57 strikeouts in 108 at bats.[11]

Gallo with the Round Rock Express in 2016
Gallo with the Round Rock Express in 2016

In 2016, Gallo spent the majority of the season in the minors, appearing in only 17 games for the Rangers. In 2016 in 25 at bats in the majors he had 19 strikeouts and one hit, a home run.[26] With Round Rock, he batted .240/.367/.529 with 25 home runs and 150 strikeouts in 359 at bats.[11]

In 2017, Gallo won a roster spot out of spring training and played multiple positions all season for the Rangers, finishing batting .209/.333/.537 (9th in the American League) with 196 strikeouts (2nd), 11.0 at bats per home run (2nd), 41 home runs (3rd), and 80 RBIs in 449 at bats.[26] For the season, he had the highest fly ball percentage of all major league hitters (54.2%), the highest percentage of hard-hit batted balls in the majors (46.4%), and the lowest contact percentage on his swings in the major leagues (59.1%).[27][28][29] He hit the third-longest home run in MLB in 2017, at 490 feet.[30]

In 2018, Gallo batted .206/.312/.498 with 12.5 at bats per home runs (2nd), and hit 40 home runs (3rd) with 207 strikeouts (3rd), 74 walks (10th), and 92 RBIs in 500 at bats over 148 games. For the second consecutive year, he had the lowest contact percentage on his swings in the major leagues (61.7%).[31]

Gallo was named the AL Player of the Week for April 15-21, after hitting .478 (11-23) with 4 home runs and 11 RBI over 6 games.[32] On May 8, Gallo hit his 100th career home run versus Nick Kingham of the Pirates.[33] He became the fastest player in American League history to reach 100 home runs, doing so in his 377th career game, a record since surpassed by Gary Sanchez, who did it in 355 games.[33] Gallo also set an MLB record, by recording the fewest career singles (93) at the time of reaching the 100 home run mark.[33] On May 31, Gallo hit his first career grand slam off of Danny Duffy of the Kansas City Royals.[34] Gallo was placed on the injured list from June 2 to June 25 with a left oblique strain.[35] Gallo was selected as an American League reserve outfielder for the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game,[36] and hit a home run off of Will Smith in his lone at-bat.[37] Gallo was placed on the injured list and underwent surgery to remove a broken right hamate bone on July 25,[38] ending his season. Gallo finished the 2019 campaign hitting .253/.389/.598/.986 with 22 home runs and 49 RBI over 297 plate appearances in 70 games.[39]

On July 6, 2020, it was announced that Gallo had tested positive for COVID-19,[40] despite being asymptomatic.[41] He hit the first home run at the Rangers' new stadium Globe Life Field on July 26. At the end of the season, he won the AL Gold Glove Award as a right fielder.[42] He finished the shortened season batting .181 with 10 home runs.[43]

On April 9, 2021, Gallo was the only baserunner allowed by Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove in his no-hitter against the Rangers, getting hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. Gallo was named to the 2021 MLB All-Star Game,[44] drawing a walk in his only plate appearance.[45] Gallo also participated in the 2021 Home Run Derby.[46]

New York Yankees (2021–2022)

On July 29, 2021, the Rangers traded Gallo and Joely Rodríguez to the New York Yankees in exchange for Josh Smith, Glenn Otto, Trevor Hauver, and Ezequiel Durán.[47] On August 5, 2021 Gallo hit his first Yankee home run, a 3 run shot off Seattle Mariners pitcher Paul Sewald.

In 2021, he batted .199/.351/.458 with 38 home runs and 77 RBIs. He had the highest strikeout percentage in the major leagues, and lowest of his career, at 34.6%, and led the majors in strikeouts with 213 and the American League in walks with 111.[48] He tied for the major league lead in bunt hits, with seven.[49] He won his second consecutive Gold Glove Award.[50]

On March 22, 2022, Gallo signed a $10.275M contract with the Yankees, avoiding arbitration.[51] Gallo's performance dropped off dramatically in 2022, continuing what was described in the New York Post as a "nightmare tenure in The Bronx." He was further described as "one of the biggest trade busts in Yankees history."[52] Shortly before being traded from the Yankees, he said of his time in New York, "I don't go out in the streets... I really don't want to show my face too much around here... I went through a lot of adversity and I really had to question myself a lot. My confidence suffered. I would say I hit rock bottom for the big leagues." He went on to say that opposing players would try to give him encouragement in the face of boos from fans but that their pity "makes me feel like a piece of s**t, [sic] honestly... it makes me feel like I'm a problem."[53]

Los Angeles Dodgers (2022–present)

On August 2, 2022, Gallo was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Clayton Beeter.[54]

Personal life

Gallo grew up in Las Vegas and played on youth baseball teams with Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant.[55][56] Mike Bryant, Kris' father, was one of Gallo's coaches growing up.[56] He is of Italian descent. Gallo's father, Antonio (Tony), is the son of Italian immigrants from Sciacca, Sicily. He was born and raised in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, graduating from New Utrecht High School in 1972. He appeared in three games for the GCL Expos in 1974.[57][56] His mother, Laura (née Giordano), was born in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, and raised in Bensonhurst a few blocks away from his father. He has an older brother named Salvatore.

During the delay of the 2020 Major League Baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallo stayed in his Dallas apartment and set up a batting cage in his living room.[58]

References

  1. ^ Brewer, Ray (February 15, 2012). "Gorman baseball player Joey Gallo has big bat, talent to merit first-round draft pick". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  2. ^ Rohrbach, Ben (May 30, 2012). "Nevada Baseball POY: Joey Gallo". Espn.go.com. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  3. ^ Kevin Askeland (July 4, 2012). "Joey Gallo leads 2012 MaxPreps All-American Baseball Team". Maxpreps.com. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  4. ^ "ESPNHS 2012 Baseball All-Americans". Espn.go.com. June 21, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  5. ^ Jim Halley, USA TODAY (January 14, 2013). "Tampa Jesuit'S Lance Mccullers Jr. Leads All-Usa Baseball Team". Usatodayhss.com. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  6. ^ Davison, Drew. "Home run ball has gotten Rangers prospect Joey Gallo plenty of love". Star-telegram.com. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  7. ^ "Joey Gallo's High School Baseball Stats". MaxPreps.com.
  8. ^ a b Dabe, Christopher (June 2, 2015). "Former LSU signee Joey Gallo homers in major league debut". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  9. ^ RunThisTown (Matt Philips) (June 4, 2012). "Bishop Gorman's Joey Gallo goes 39th overall to the Texas Rangers". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
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