by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Rangers’ Joey Gallo certainly made a splash in His MLB debut, going 3-4 with 1 HR and 3 RBI (and followed that up with a home run in game two as well). One of the premier prospects in the game, there are questions facing his potential in 2015.
Prior to his recall he had posted a 33.6% strikeout rate at Double-A (146 PA) and 33.9% over his minor league career. It’s an extremely elevated number, especially since it will likely increase in the Majors (and could even more considering the jump in levels). That’s going to severely limit his average potential.
Once Adrian Beltre is healthy you have to wonder if the Rangers are going to find the playing time. Prince Fielder is locked in as the DH, so could Gallo shift to first base if he’s hitting? Having only played 7 games there in the minors and 6 games in the outfield, it’s hard to imagine him learning on the fly, though it’s not impossible.
Those are significant questions hanging over him for his short-term future. That doesn’t mean that he’s to be ignored, with 80 HR in 2013 and 2014. Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 probably gave the best summary prior to the season:
“What is more likely is that Gallo will post a slash line of .220/.330/.550 with 40 bombs. That’s a 3.0 to 4.0 offensive WAR per year player or a $20 fantasy player. In other words, that’s Adam Dunn in his prime. Given how hard he hits the ball, it’s conceivable he could have some .260/.380/.550 BABIP induced years and assemble plenty of MVP votes in the process.”
Obviously we’d love to expect a better average, but it’s impossible to (especially for this season). While Adam Dunn was a valuable fantasy option, it’s probably not the type of player owners would be hoping he’d become.
In OBP formats Gallo’s value does improve, with a 14.8% minor league walk rate. However for 2015 don’t get overly excited. His average will likely struggle and there’s simply no guarantee that he sticks in the Majors all season long.
Ride him while he’s here, but be ready tpfor some bumps and a potential demotion.
Sources – Minor League Central, MILB.com, Prospect 361