Joey Gallo: Potential Points League Poison

Jun 3, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Joey Gallo (13) hits during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The call-up of Joey Gallo was a little surprising when Adrian Beltre headed to the DL, and I hope you were quick enough to grab a share of the prized slugging prospect.  However, Gallo represents a gigantic risk if you play in points leagues that penalize strikeouts.  I am convinced Gallo is a must own player for his monstrous power; he could whiff at unparalleled levels against Major League pitching.

Through 27 plate appearances, Joey Gallo has been a treat to watch with two homers, seven hits, three walks, and thirteen strikeouts.  His .290/.370/.583 slash line and .556 BABIP through his first six games are phenomenal, but this is the smallest of sample sizes.  So far, he either gets on base or strikes out, but his current K% of 44% may not be too far off his strikeout rate going forward. 

At this point, the three qualified hitters with the highest strikeout rates are Steven Souza at 36.6%, Chris Carter at 35.9%, and Chris Davis at 34.5%.  Those notorious hackers may pale in comparison to what Joey Gallo could do.  Through 33 games in 2015 at AA, Gallo posted a dreadful 33.6% strikeout rate, but that was sadly an improvement over his 39.5% K% in 68 AA games last year.

None of the trio of Souza, Carter, and Davis struck out nearly as much as Gallo did in the Minors.  As you would expect, the vast majority of ball players see their strikeout rate increase when they make it to the show.  Striking out over a third of the time in AA is usually a death sentence for a Minor Leaguer.

Gallo’s best strikeout rate at any level in the Minors was his 26.0% K rate in A+ ball.  His penchant to K at an unprecedented rate comes with 80 raw power that has been repeatedly demonstrated throughout his professional career.  His other-worldly pop makes Gallo an elite prospect and potential fantasy superstar, but he could easily flop due to his lack of contact.

I really hope that Gallo sticks because he could hit tape measure shots, but I worry that he could go the route of Brandon Wood.  If you do not remember, Wood was a top prospect with the Angels who had major power and a strikeout problem.  Unfortunately, he fanned way too frequently to succeed in the big leagues.  Obviously, Brandon Wood is the floor for Gallo’s future, but it is important to remember that not all elite prospects pan out.

There is no doubt that I am happy to own Joey Gallo now, but I would be a lot less tempted if I played in any points leagues that penalize for strikeouts.  He could get you a -1 almost half the time, and it could be detrimental to your team depending on the scoring system in place.  In non-keeper leagues, I would definitely think about moving Gallo unless you are power starved.

Disclaimer: Joey Gallo has so much power that he could completely alleviate any fears that I have, and I want him to make me look foolish.  I sure hope that I end up worrying for nothing because I definitely want him to succeed.