Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo has shown his elite talent offensively and defensively and is now approaching the superstar level.
He barreled up the baseball 26.4% of the time in 2019, higher than anyone else in the MLB. In 2018, he also led this category with a 22.5 barrel %. He pairs this with a launch angle that is over 20 degrees basically every year which is a heavy fly ball swing.
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As a hitter, he’s kind of a good representation of the MLB today. Tons of home runs, hard-hit balls, and strikeouts. Gallo is five years into his career and has developed this trend further each year. I’d expect this to continue in the future. His overall numbers improved in 2019, leading to an All-Star Game appearance.
Unfortunately, he only played a total of 70 games due to injury, but at that time he was very good. He hit .253 with 22 HR, 15 2B, .986 OPS, and .401 wOBA. Those are ELITE numbers. We weren’t able to see if he sustained this for a full season, but this type of output was his first step toward superstar level.
Based on his hitting profiles his entire career, his elite ability to crush the ball is not going anywhere anytime soon, so I’d expect his positive trends at the plate to continue.
Looking at 2020 projections on Fangraphs, Steamer projections give him an OPS of .883, ZiPS projections give him an OPS of .933, and Depth Charts gives him an OPS .908. I think these are definitely the type of numbers we can see from Gallo in the future.
Being an elite slugger is nice, but that doesn’t make you a superstar in the modern game. What will separate him from a lot of other players is his offensive power paired with elite defense.
While 2019 was just the first year of his career as a full-time outfielder, Gallo was one of the very best out there when he was healthy. In just 70 games he totaled 5 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8 outfield assists. Only 13 OF had more assists than that and Gallo played less than half the season.
Performing at that kind of level in his first season fully committed to playing outfield is very impressive and he should only continue to improve out there with more experience.
A player with arguably the most power in the game today combined with Gold Glove level defense is definitely the type of player to be one of the most elite stars in the game. If Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo can continue these trends then the superstar label is very likely in his future.