When the Rangers host the White Sox in the opener of a three-game set in Arlington on Tuesday night, it'll mark the big-league debut of power-hitting prospect Joey Gallo, the 21-year-old who is the top prospect in the Rangers' organization and one of the top prospects in baseball.
Gallo will be starting at third base for the injured Adrian Beltre, who was put on the disabled list for what is expected to be between 2-3 weeks after spraining his thumb in Sunday's dramatic win over Boston.
It's awfully exciting, for sure, and with good reason. It's arguably the most anticipated debut of a Rangers prospect since the Edinson Volquez debut back in the big DVD days — or possibly since the big-league debut of Ivan Rodriguez as an 18-year-old known as Pudge.
Gallo has prodigious power, as evidenced by his monstrous home runs in the minor leagues and his legendary showing at the MLB Futures Game in Minneapolis last year. He also still has a lot of growing to do as a player, specifically with his strike zone recognition. But, give him credit, he's improved this year. He's now hitting .314 with a 1.061 OPS for Double-A Frisco, and in line with the Rangers' hot May, he hit nine home runs after a homerless April.
So what's so bad about this? Well, there are a few things. First off, you hate to see a guy like Gallo come to Arlington, be overwhelmed by big-league pitching and lose the confidence and good mindset he had going this year in Frisco, especially when the Rangers have already made it known he's returning to the minors when Beltre is healthy. The Rangers did make one wise caveat to that announcement, saying he'll be going to Triple-A Round Rock when he leaves Arlington instead of returning to Double-A Frisco.
The biggest downside to this move is that he had been working in the outfield extensively recently, moving away from his traditional corner infielder position to try to get him to the big leagues faster with first base and third base having established veterans in Arlington. In Arlington, he will be playing exclusively third, which will set back his development in the outfield.
Those are just a couple of reasons I would've called up Rougned Odor and shift Adam Rosales and Hanser Alberto to third base in Beltre's absence, but I will say, it does at least make sense for the first time ever that the Rangers were even discussing calling up Gallo, and now it's done.
One thing is for sure, it's going to be fun to watch on Tuesday night when he steps in the batter's box for the first time. Now, if he can just get a hold of one.