The Rangers announced this afternoon that they’ve recalled top infield prospect Joey Gallo from Triple-A Round Rock and optioned outfielder Jared Hoying back to Triple-A in his place. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported shortly before the announcement that Gallo was being recalled (Twitter link).
Gallo, 22, made his big league debut with the Rangers last season but struggled in the Majors, posting a .204/.301/.417 batting line. Strikeouts have long been an Achilles heel for Gallo, and that proved especially true in last season’s brief MLB tenure, as he whiffed an astounding 57 times in 123 plate appearances. Gallo, though, receives 80 grades for his power (on the 20-80 scouting scale) and did homer six times while drawing 15 walks in that stretch as well. This year, he’s dropped his strikeout rate at the Triple-A level by nearly 10 percent. Granted, that still means that he’s punched out in just over 30 percent of his trips to the plate, but it’s a notable step up from the 39.6 percent rate at which he whiffed in 2015 while playing at Triple-A.
This season, Gallo is hitting .246/.381/.557 with 19 homers, nine doubles and five triples in 299 plate appearances with Round Rock — once again displaying a penchant for drawing free passes but also some struggles in making contact. With Prince Fielder expected to undergo season-ending neck surgery later this week, there’s an opportunity for Gallo to get some at-bats while spending time at DH and at both corner infield spots. That could lead to fairly regular at-bats for Gallo, who could slide into the everyday lineup as Texas’ everyday first baseman next season if he proves capable of handling big league pitching this time around. Mitch Moreland is a free agent at season’s end, and while Gallo has cut his teeth playing third base in the minors, the Rangers won’t have a vacancy there until 2019 after signing Adrian Beltre to a two-year extension earlier this season. Gallo’s name has also popped up in myriad trade rumors over the past several weeks, and while most reports indicate that the Rangers are loath to part with his power upside, a couple of reports have suggested that the team is more willing to part with him than it has publicly let on.