Joey Gallo connected again Thursday with a three-run homer that lifted the Texas Rangers to a 4-1 victory. He said that he just got lucky (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com
Joey Gallo connected again Thursday with a three-run homer that lifted the Texas Rangers to a 4-1 victory. He said that he just got lucky (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

Texas Rangers

Rangers believe Gallo can be better, and not just a little better

August 04, 2017 10:18 PM

MINNEAPOLIS

The swing that had launched eight home runs in 13 games entering Friday is far from a finished product, just as the man behind all that torque and power isn’t a finished product.

Joey Gallo is still three months shy of his 24th birthday, and still two months shy of graduating from his first full season in the major leagues. Of course, he’s not a finished product.

The power is there and is going to be there. The strikeouts are there and are going to be there. The walks are there and are going to be there.

The average? Well, he has one.

It’s not the one he wants, just above the Mendoza Line, and it’s not the one he or the Rangers believe he will have as he gains experience and becomes a more polished player.

So how high can he take his average? What’s his ceiling on home runs?

The Rangers could have a star on their hands, though Gallo isn’t ready to put any numbers on paper. He knows he can do more.

“If I keep going on this path, I won’t be a .200 hitter with 40 home runs but can hit .270 and actually be more productive on the offensive side,” Gallo said Friday, before the Rangers lost 8-4 at the Minnesota Twins, who got a complete-game victory from 44-year-old Bartolo Colon. “When I talk to Adrian Beltre and our hitting coaches, they say, ‘You’re not a .200 hitter. You’re going to be this type of hitter one day.’

“I don’t want to say .300, because I don’t want put that on myself, but a higher, .280 hitter. I think it comes with some learning and some growing pains. That’s just what I’m trying to go through right now.”

Gallo has batted .300 at a few stops in the minors, where pitchers aren’t as sharp and scouting reports aren’t as thorough. He’s also recorded a couple 40-homer seasons, which he is on track to do this season in the majors.

He launched No. 29 on Thursday, so 30 is a lock. He has 53 games to hit 11 more for the first 40-homer season by a Rangers player since Josh Hamilton hit 42 in 2012.

“You see it every single day in BP, and now he’s doing it in the games,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “We all knew the power was there, and it was just a matter of time for him to get comfortable out there and have a better idea of how they’re going to approach him.

“I’m really happy with his development this year. Thirty or forty for him is like me getting 100 hits. You know it’s going to happen. He’s a lot better. For the past month, he’s been doing really good.”

Andrus said that Gallo can hit .280 or .300 once he is able to use all parts of the field. Gallo is an athlete, too, who might be able to beat out a few infield hits and even drop a bunt against an infield shift.

“I think if he elevates his average, he probably won’t hit 50 or 60 homers,” Andrus said. “But if stays in the 30 to 40, which is amazing, with a better average, he’ll drive in way, way, way more runs. He’ll be the guy that we want, the guy you can put in the middle of the lineup and let him do his thing.”

Joey Gallo describes his 456-foot homer to center field

Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo said his first of two homers felt good off the bat. It landed 456 feet from home plate on the roof of the Hyundai Club beyond Greene's Hill at Globe Life Park.

sstevenson@star-telegram.com

The Rangers have started to see the things Gallo needs to do to improve as he starts to see pitchers for a second or third time.

The at-bats have improved. He’s drawn 45 walks, second on the team. He’s not just a dead pull hitter anymore, with each of his past five homers to center field.

“He’s getting better every day that he goes out there,” manager Jeff Banister said. “He’s keeping the ball in the middle of the field, driving the ball to center field, staying out of the pull zone, not as much of the chase. He’s able to manage the at-bat.”

Through it all — he played in his 99th game of the season Friday — he has remained confident and continued to work even during stretches where his average had dipped as low as .189 as recently as July 22.

A fourth-inning single, only his 19th of the season, lifted his average to .207. It hadn’t been that high since he was at .212 on May 30.

Yet, he’s still been wildly productive, and has the Rangers wondering just how high he can take his average and how many home runs he can hit.

“I know I’m not going to hit .300 this year. I’m not going to end up at .250 most likely,” Gallo said. “I know I’m going to be in the low .200s. That’s fine with me. I’m not worried about average. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m productive in a different type of way. It’s not something I’m too focused on. If I was, I’d be tearing myself up every day.”

Texas

201

000

001

4

9

1

Minnesota

410

021

00x

8

12

0

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Choo dh

4

1

1

0

0

0

.257

Andrus ss

4

1

3

0

0

1

.295

Mazara rf

3

0

1

1

1

0

.247

Beltre 3b

4

0

1

2

0

1

.293

Odor 2b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.219

Napoli 1b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.200

Gallo lf

4

0

1

0

0

2

.205

Gomez cf

4

1

1

1

0

1

.254

Nicholas c

4

1

1

0

0

0

.111

Totals 35

4

9

4

1

5

 

Minnesota AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Dozier 2b

5

3

3

2

0

0

.246

Escobar 3b

4

0

0

0

1

1

.265

Sano dh

3

1

2

0

0

0

.270

Granite pr-dh

1

0

0

0

0

0

.250

Mauer 1b

1

2

0

1

1

0

.277

Grossman rf

4

2

2

3

0

1

.251

Gimenez c

4

0

2

0

0

1

.207

Rosario lf

4

0

2

2

0

0

.287

Buxton cf

3

0

0

0

1

2

.216

Polanco ss

4

0

1

0

0

0

.214

Totals 33

8

12

8

3

5

 

E—Perez (2). LOB—Texas 5, Minnesota 7. 2B—Andrus 3 (29), Nicholas (1), Sano (14), Grossman (17). HR—Gomez (15), off Colon; Dozier (18), off Perez; Grossman (7), off Perez; Dozier (19), off Perez. RBIs—Mazara (66), Beltre 2 (39), Gomez (40), Dozier 2 (54), Mauer (41), Grossman 3 (34), Rosario 2 (36). SF—Mauer. DP—Texas 2, Minnesota 1.

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Perez, L 5-10

4 2/3

9

7

7

2

2

5.46

Barnette

1 1/3

1

1

1

1

2

5.55

Bibens-Dirkx

2

2

0

0

0

1

4.61

Minnesota

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Colon, W 3-9

9

9

4

4

1

5

7.32

Inherited runners-scored—Barnette 1-0. HBP—Perez (Mauer), Barnette (Sano). T—3:03. A—22,272 (39,021).

Rangers at Twins

6:10 p.m. Saturday, FSSW

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