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Two weeks of Joey Gallo

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It's only been two weeks, but Joey Gallo is performing as advertised.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Gallo made his MLB debut for the Texas Rangers on June 2. He’s played nearly every day since then, giving us a little more than two weeks' worth of Joey Gallo. Moreover, he’s put together a nice two weeks, and we’ve seen basically what we were told we would see from Joey Gallo: some walks, a lot of strikeouts, and some glorious, glorious dingers. He’s hit .224/.318/.500 thus far, good for a 117 wRC+. The actual slash line might drop a bit after a while, but Gallo’s .308 BABIP isn't propping up his line.

Let’s look at what we do know after two-ish weeks of Joey Gallo, with some of those glorious, glorious dingers interspersed through the text, starting now.

What we know: The strikeouts, walks, and home runs will probably continue

Of course, this all comes with the caveat that Gallo’s only had 66 plate appearances, which... well... you probably know about small sample sizes. At the very least, he’ll probably keep walking, striking out, and hitting homers, because that’s what the projections and the scouts and everyone who has seen Joey Gallo play has told us would happen. The strikeouts especially should be expected to continue since Gallo has passed the 'stabilization point' for strikeout rate of 60 PAs.

After Friday's action, Gallo’s K% at nearly 41%. That’s a high mark to be sure, but it’s not so crazy compared to what we might expect from him. Per ZiPS and Steamer projections, which can be found on FanGraphs, Gallo’s K% for the rest of the year sits at 42.1% and 35%, respectively. His current mark gives him one of the 10 highest K-rates in the game among players with at least 50 plate appearances.

Sure, Gallo strikes out a lot. But he does other things at the plate well enough to make up for it. Hitting five home runs and one double, and posting a 12.1 BB% in his first two weeks are examples of that, and ZiPS has taken some notice. It’s not much since, like us, ZiPS also hasn’t seen too much of Joey Gallo. One could argue that ZiPS hasn’t seen any of Joey Gallo since it doesn’t have eyes. But where Gallo was expected at the beginning of the season to post a 9.4 BB%, a 42.2 K% and a .241 ISO, he’s now projected to improve each of those marks, to 9.6, 42.1, and .244, respectively. Again, it’s not much at all — it’s very nearly nothing, and they've even come back a little since I originally wrote this sentence on Thursday night — but he’s come up just 66 times, and expectations are already shifting a little more in his favor on the projections side.

As far as the homers, they’ll keep coming. Not at the rate we’re seeing now, because Gallo is posting a 38.5% HR/FB ratio, which nearly seems impossible. But that’s Joey Gallo for you: defying what I can even imagine.

What else we know: Joey Gallo is very strong

It feels like a good time to mention that Joey Gallo is 21 years old. If you don’t mind, I’ll repeat that: Joey Gallo is 21 years old. And once more for effect: Joey Gallo is 21 years old.

With several companies, Joey Gallo couldn’t rent a car without incurring some kind of fee. The idea there is that those companies let only those they feel are adults get rental cars. In the eyes of some rental car companies, Joey Gallo might as well be a child.

I say all that because of how hard Joey Gallo has hit baseballs so far. Hard and far, even compared to fully grown adults (by rental car company standards), is how he’s hit them.

Do keep in mind that, for the following numbers, Joey Gallo has just 23 balls in play recorded by Baseball Savant, so there's going to be some noise. Still, among players with at least 20 BIP recorded by Baseball Savant, Gallo ranks third in average fly ball/line drive velocity (behind Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Peguero, two notably strong people), third in average recorded distance, and seventh in average home run distance. Now, a chart to show how hard he hits the ball, among some other things:


LD% GB% FB% HR/FB Pull% Cent% Oppo% Hard%
Joey Gallo 19.4% 38.7% 41.9% 38.5% 64.5% 35.5% 0.00% 54.8%
League Avg. 21.1% 45.5% 33.4% 10.7% 38.9% 35.6% 25.5% 28.7%

One good way to hit baseballs hard is to pull them, and Joey Gallo does that. He's done it more than twice as often as your league-average hitter. Another thing he's done nearly twice as often as a league-average hitter is make hard contact. Only pulling the pull is a good way to hit it hard, and that’s not a misprint, or an error, or anything of the sort in the table above — Joey Gallo actually hasn’t hit a ball to the opposite field yet. It’s not been too long, but still, right? That’s a little crazy.

And here's the last bit of proof that Joey Gallo is very strong, in case we need any more.

So there a few things we know about Joey Gallo. He’ll strikeout, walk, and hit home runs at healthy rates, and he hits the ball hard. What we don’t know right now is how long he’ll stay up, since Adrian Beltre will hopefully be returning relatively soon. It currently seems like a silly thing to consider sending Gallo down when Beltre returns with the way the former is playing, but teams have done far sillier.

Maybe we’ll someday look back on June 2, 2015 and remember it as Joey Gallo Day in the baseball world. Maybe it will be a national holiday. I hope it is, anyway.

. . .

Murphy Powell is a contributor at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @murphypowell.