There isn’t a whole lot of figuring things out when it comes to Joey Gallo. We know what he is, and we know what he isn’t. Coming in at 6’5″ and 235, he’s a behemoth of a man with a “dingers first and questions later” skill set, in the simplest sense. He’s shown surprising versatility, even if he doesn’t play any defensive position remarkably well (or even really competently). But just because we were all relatively aware of what Joey Gallo figured to become at the Major League level doesn’t make what he’s done this year any less astounding.
Among Major League qualifiers at the third base position, Gallo truly represents an anomaly. In terms of the power figures, there’s not a single player that compares. Sure, there are powerful players that qualify at the third base position, but nobody represents the type of all-or-nothing power presence that Gallo provides at the dish. As such, there are some pretty severe shortcomings that have him as one of the most intriguing entities at the position. It seems like he either ranks at the top of the 24 qualifiers at the position or completely at the bottom.
In a general sense, Gallo might be performing better than some expected. His park-adjusted offense, represented by wRC+, comes in at 121 for the season, painting him as an above average offensive player. When you supply the amount of power that he does, that mark is obviously going to take care of itself. He’s also reaching base at a more-than-respectable .331 clip, while walking over 14% of the time. So there’s some semblance of an approach there. But, again, as intriguing an entity as the power side of things makes him, the all-or-nothing tendencies that make up virtually his entire skill set certainly serve as a bit of a deterrent for prospective owners in some cases, intriguing as his power may be.
Let’s focus on the positives first. Those positives obviously manifest themselves in the power game more than anything. While Gallo’s 39 homers only lead Mike Moustakas by one, his isolated power stands well above everyone else at the position. His .323 ISO is 45 points higher than the next closest player. 45 points. It’s just one of a variety of numbers that stand well above the rest of the position. His contact rate is low, but when he makes contact, it’s loud. His 45.9% is two points higher than the second place player at the position and six points higher than the third place. That combines with an obscenely high flyball rate (over 54%) to register a homer-to-flyball ratio of 29.3%. Travis Shaw is the next closest player and his comes in at a shade under 21%.
It’s kind of crazy to think about just how far ahead the power numbers lie in comparison with his positional counterparts. At the same time, the aspects of his game that serve as a detriment also have Gallo ranking at or near the bottom of the pack in a number of regards.
It probably comes as no surprise that Gallo ranks at the bottom both in his strikeout rate and in his (lack of) ability to make contact, given that everything we knew about him before he became a full-time big leaguer indicated exactly that. But a contact rate of only 59.5% ranks more than 15 points behind the second-lowest percentage among qualifiers, while he’s striking out at a rate over 12% higher than the second-highest K percentage. His .209 batting average is also the lowest, with Todd Frazier a couple of points ahead of him, at .211, and Maikel Franco, who checks in at the third-lowest mark, coming in at .230. A .250 BABIP certainly doesn’t help his case with all those flyballs, either.
Of all of the crazy things with Joey Gallo, the most striking, and most indicative of what he is, might be his hit type distribution. Gallo has 39 home runs on the season. He also has 31 singles. That’s just an absurd thing to think about and really speaks to the all-or-nothing entity that is Joey Gallo. Ultimately, his power is going to keep him fantasy relevant, it’s just a matter of willingly punting batting average and things of the like out of that position. The anomaly with Gallo lies in the fact that no player in baseball is as all-or-nothing as he’s demonstrated this season. It’ll be interesting to see if further adjustments or developments are made or if this is exactly what we should expect from him moving forward. Probably the latter.