Joey Gallo is a natural third baseman, and is believed to be a pretty good one, at that.
But Gallo isn’t going to be playing third base for the Texas Rangers any time soon, not as long as Adrian Beltre is healthy and happy in a Rangers uniform, and he’s under contract through the 2016 season, which should make every Rangers fan giddy.
Gallo showed his flaws after being promoted to Double-A Frisco as a 20-year-old this season. He struck out a ton and showed an inability at times to hit vastly improved pitching over what he was seeing in High-A Myrtle Beach.
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But Gallo still displayed a prodigious power tool that not many guys in professional baseball have. He combined over the two leagues to hit 42 home runs — double the 21 years old he’ll turn in November. His home run in batting practice at the MLB Futures Game during all-star week in Minnesota was a thing of legend, and he added a big home run in the game itself.
The Rangers don’t want to rush Gallo to the bigs, as evidenced by their decision not to call him up this September despite the fact it would’ve sold tickets and caused a fervor among Rangers fans. In fact, it’d be fantastic if they could get through 2015 without calling him up. But his road to the bigs could be accelerated if he learns another position, and that’s exactly what he’s been up to this fall.
Gallo has been seeing time in the outfield in Arizona Instructional League play, and could continue to do so once Fall League play begins soon. The Rangers have an obvious need for a corner outfielder with power, and Gallo definitely fits that bill, even if he’s not quite ready for “The Show.”
“Versatility is a plus,” general manager Jon Daniels told reporters. “It gives both the club and the player options. Joey’s a good athlete and, while we don’t doubt he can play third, this is an easy way to give him additional paths to the big leagues, when the time comes that he’s ready and we have a need. As we sit today, I expect him to start 2015 at third base in the minor leagues, but Instructional League is the time to introduce new things.”