Texas Rangers top prospect Joey Gallo was optioned back to the MLB Odds on Tuesday in order to make room on the roster for Josh Hamilton. Gallo hit .218 with five home runs and struck out 43 times during his stint with the Rangers. The powerful left-handed bat got off to a sizzling start with Texas and looked to have immediately fulfilled the hopes of Rangers fans and staff. But, just like with every prospect, there is always a learning curve.
Joey Gallo hit a rough patch in his last few weeks in the big leagues. His last eight starts consisted of a .182 batting average, with no home runs, and 20 strikeouts in 38 at-bats. He struggled particularly against lefties, having endured more strikeouts when facing southpaws than he did in 20 more at-bats against right-handers. These apparent and sudden struggles may seem alarming, but maybe it’s best for both Gallo and the Rangers that the up-and-comer showed some vulnerability.
What are Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo MLB Odds?
Look at it this way. Say the Rangers kept Gallo on the roster. The team would have either made him a platoon player, likely having him matchup only against right-handed pitchers, limiting his at-bats and having him play an uncomfortable outfield position. Or they play him everyday, providing him ample at-bats, but sacrificing a shutdown outfielder for an inconsistent bat (the shutdown outfielder likely being Leonys Martin). The last thing any team wants to do with any prospect is have him split time on the field and have the occasional plate appearance.
This being said, the Rangers made the correct decision in sending him down. If he stays up with the team, the Rangers would simply be developing the next Adam Dunn, a guys who hits a ton of homers but strikes out 200 times a year. Dunn was somewhat effective for the teams he played for, but the Rangers are looking for more out of Gallo than an all or nothing guy. He will have time to develop, to see more pitches, and now that he has a taste of the big leagues, he probably has a better idea of what he needs to improve on. And don’t forget about September call-ups. Gallo will most likely be asked to rejoin the team once rosters expand to 40 players in September. By that time the Minor League season will have concluded, and each at-bat from that point on will be a bonus.
Whatever additional time spent in the minors will be a positive for Gallo in the long run. He is only 21 years old, the last thing Texas wants to do is rush him. The Rangers are putting together a promising season that could easily end with a playoff appearance. However the ultimate goal of winning the World Series is likely out of reach. The Rangers are a team that needs to play for a year or two down the road. Maybe it is then that they find themselves competing for a championship.