JOEY GALLO, RANGERS
Although he’s toned them down this year to better develop his feel to hit, his batting practices have been the stuff of legend.
Just as is the case in games, Gallo would use his BP sessions to launch balls to previously unreachable recesses of ballparks, dropping the jaws of teammates and opponents along the way.
And while the tamed version is more useful for his future, he let it all hang out again at this year’s Futures Game, putting on a display that rivaled anything else that afternoon. Ball after ball left the yard, including one that cracked the windshield of a pickup truck on the concourse in right field.
This truck the could not evade Joey Gallo's blasts at the Futures Game.
One of the best seats in the house (although he had to stand) belonged to Alex Meyer, one of the Twins’ top pitching prospects, who pitched in the game and shagged balls in the outfield while Gallo and the rest of the U.S. team took their hacks.
It was his first look at Gallo, and the experience lived up to the advance billing.
“When people ask me what the most impressive thing was that weekend, that’s what I say. I’ve seen (Miguel) Sano hit and I’ve seen (Kennys) Vargas hit, but what Joey Gallo has done, I’ve never seen anything like that before.
“He was hitting balls out of the stadium like it was nothing. And that’s not to take a shot at Sano or anybody at that game, I didn’t think it was close. That’s plus-plus power that I don’t think you can really find at the big league level. To watch it, it was incredible.”
He swept the voting for Best Power in our annual Best Tools survey in both the Carolina and Texas Leagues. That’s fitting, because even though he’s been out of the Carolina league for nearly two months, he still had a five-homer cushion over Courtney Hawkins and Oscar Tejeda.
Gallo’s 37 home runs are the most in the minors at this point in a season since 2008, when Dallas McPherson had 38 with Triple-A Albuquerque in the Dodgers system.
Want even more feats of Gallo? He won’t turn 21 until November, and he’s just two home runs away from 100 for his career. As of Aug. 3, His 99 longballs amount to 23.9 percent of International League career leader Mike Hessman, who has gone deep 410 times.
Like any masher of his ilk, there are plenty of tales of awe that have followed Gallo and his prodigious blasts throughout his brief but storied career.
Mike Recchia, a righthander in the White Sox system who spent the first part of the season with Winston-Salem (Carolina), tabs one Gallo blast against the Dash as the longest he’s seen.
“We were in Winston-Salem and my buddy (Braulio) Ortiz was pitching,” Recchia recalled. “I don’t really know if Gallo got all of it. I was sitting in the dugout, but I don’t think Gallo got all of it, but he hit the top left of the scoreboard, the top sign. It was unbelievable. Oh my goodness, that was just an absolute mammoth shot.”
Chances to win
: He’s never gone more than nine games without a homer in his pro career, so he remains the odds-on favorite to come away the winner once the season ends.