Before Tuesday, the Texas Rangers knew they had an elite power-hitting prospect in 21-year-old third baseman Joey Gallo. What they didn’t know is how he looked in real, live major-league action.

Well, now they do. And they have every reason to be excited.

Very, very, very excited.

If you missed it, Gallo’s major league debut went down on Tuesday evening against the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington, and it was one for the books. Filling in for an injured Adrian Beltre, he led the Rangers to a 15-2 rout by going 3-for-4 with a walk and four RBI. His hits were the first single, double and home run of his career.

The homer was a two-run blast off Jeff Samardzija in the bottom of the third, and it looked a bit like this:

Sure looks like a bomb. And wouldn’t you know it, ESPN Stats & Info measured it as a bomb:

Though that was certainly the hardest ball off Gallo’s bat, it wasn’t the only one the lefty-swinging slugger hit hard. His single was a scorching ground ball that was too hot for Adam LaRoche, and his double was a missile to deep right-center that barely missed becoming his second homer.

If you’d heard about Gallo before Tuesday, none of this was surprising. If you hadn’t, well, just know that these hard-hit balls were him living up to his billing.

As noted by, Gallo came into the 2015 season ranked as a top-15 prospect by, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. There wasn’t even a shade of disagreement about his best asset.

Here’s a hint, in all caps for effect: ALL OF THE RAW POWER.

As Baseball America summed it up:

Tales of Gallo’s power sound like hyperbole, but scouts and coaches with 30-plus years of experience say Gallo hits balls as far as nearly anyone they have ever seen…Gallo has easy, top-of-the-scale 80 raw power on the 20-80 scouting scale, which he generates with quick hands, premium bat speed and plenty of strength, leveraging the ball with majestic loft and backspin.

Before everything described here was on display at Globe Life Park in Arlington, it was on display in the minors from the moment Gallo was drafted 39th overall back in 2012.

That year, Gallo slugged .660 with 22 home runs in just 59 games in the low minors. The next year, he slugged .623 with 40 home runs in 111 games. In 2014, the Rangers moved him up to High-A and Double-A, and he didn’t slow down with a .615 slugging percentage and 42 homers in 126 games.

This brings us to 2015, and Gallo’s finest work yet.

In just 34 games at Double-A, he slugged .636 with nine home runs. And as his batted ball map from indicates, pretty much anything he hit to the outfield flirted with going over the wall:

That, folks, is what 80-grade power looks like from space. All Gallo needed to do was show that it could look just as impressive in a major league setting, and that mission was very much accomplished in his major league debut.

Of course, it wasn’t a perfect debut. On a not-so-bright side, Gallo also showed off the other thing he’s known for.

In Gallo’s fourth at-bat, he struck out against the lefty-throwing Dan Jennings. Along with lots of hard-hit balls, that’s another thing that major league fans are going to have to get used to seeing from Gallo. His career strikeout rate in the minor leagues is a whopping 33.9 percent.

That does indeed reflect an extreme swing-and-miss habit. That comes with the territory with Gallo’s swing, which is as long as it is hard. The whiffs are always going to be there, and that’s undoubtedly going to be his biggest limitation as a hitter.

Fortunately, any player who regularly crushes the ball when he puts it in play is going to be able to overcome a bad strikeout habit (see: Stanton, Giancarlo).

And as he showed with his eighth-inning walk on a close 3-2 pitch, another thing Gallo has is a good eye. Next to his huge minor league strikeout rate is a 14.8 walk percentage. That, also, is quite huge.

Add it all up, and what you get is a hitter who doesn’t project to hit for average but does project as a solid on-base guy who can flirt with 40- and 50-homer seasonsespecially if Globe Life Park in Arlington remains a haven for lefty power hitters.

Of course, this is assuming Gallo sticks. As it was, Gallo’s debut hardly guarantees that he will. It was a fine tease of the hitter he could be, but not proof that he will be that hitter.

Beyond that, there’s the matter of how Gallo fits into the Rangers’ current plans.

No matter what Gallo does in the next two weeks, the Rangers aren’t going to nudge a future Hall of Famer like Beltre aside as soon as he’s healthy.

Elsewhere, there’s no room for him in left field (Josh Hamilton) or at first base (Mitch Moreland). He’s also certainly not seeing time at designated hitter as long as Prince Fielder is still standing (and raking).

That’s why Rangers general manager Jon Daniels made no promises, telling Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News“I hope we’re in that spot, that team is playing well and Joey puts us in position to have to make that call. We expect Joey to go back down and we’ve told Joey that as well.”

Still, for now we can play the “you never know” card.

Gallo was crushing the ball before he arrived in the major leagues and kept right on crushing in his major league debut. If he keeps that up in the next two weeks, the Rangers might have to do everything they can to keep him in an offense that’s quickly climbing the ranks of MLB’s best.

Regardless, the excitement of Gallo’s debut is worth hanging on to. Be it sooner or later, he looks like he’s going to be a good one.


Stats courtesy of and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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