Gallo Could Force Rangers To Make Decisions

ARLINGTON—Joey Gallo had all the markings of a first-round pick in the 2012 draft, but a college commitment to Louisiana State dropped him beyond the initial 31 picks and into the compensation round.

Even then he lasted eight more picks before the Ranges scooped him up 39th overall out of Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High, and then wooed him away from LSU with an above-slot deal worth $2.25 million.

Based strictly on his first go-round as a professional, it appears to be money well spent.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound third baseman was a unanimous choice as the player of the year in Rookie-level Arizona League after swatting a single-season record 18 home runs in only 150 at-bats. He jumped to short-season Spokane and hit four more homers.

But the Rangers are reluctant to get too giddy about Gallo, who turned 19 on Nov. 19. They love his lefthanded pop but aren't prepared to ship away Mike Olt and declare Gallo the eventual successor to Adrian Beltre at third base.

"Some of these guys come quick, but I think a lot can happen between now and then," general manager Jon Daniels said. "But does he keep getting bigger? Does he grow off the position? Does he move to another position?"

Olt, who missed time in the Dominican League this offseason after being struck in the head by a pitch, was mentioned as trade bait for Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton during the general manager's meetings in Indian Wells, Calif.

The Rangers, though, were not willing to ship away their top power-hitting prospect. Olt can also play first base, and the Rangers feel like they could be leaving themselves thin at the corners if injuries were to hit Beltre or first baseman Mitch Moreland.

"Gallo is a hell of a prospect," Daniels said. "We like him a lot. We think he's going to be a good one. The power's going to play. But it's early to say where and when."

Rangers Roundup

• Shortstop Jurickson Profar got off to a 4-for-16 start with Licey in the Dominican League. The Rangers expected the 19-year-old Profar to alternate between shortstop and second base with the Dodgers' Dee Gordon through the end of November.

• Outfielder Engel Beltre was among the Dominican League leaders in hitting with a .328 average through 22 games. Beltre batted just .261/.307/.420 in 564 at-bats with Double-A Frisco in 2012.