Since joining the New York Yankees on July 30, Joey Gallo is slashing .169/.319/.709 with three home runs, six RBI, and 29 strikeouts in 72 Plate Appearances. That slash is well off of his season slash line of .214/.370/.474. But he has still contributed in important spots.
His first home run was a game winning three-run home run against the Mariners on August 5th, and he hit two home runs in the same game against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, the second of which was practically a game winner in its own right. So despite the ugly numbers, he’s had some “clutch” hits.
But even outside of those moments, there are plenty of things to be excited about. What sticks out most is that he has walked in 13 of his 72 plate appearances as a Yankee, which is an 18% BB%. That is on par with his season long average of 18.9%. Additionally, his Average Exit Velocity over this span is 92.4 MPH, while his season average is 92.2MPH.
He’s Just Missing
Gallo also has 13 batted balls above 90 MPH Exit Velocity, which have resulted in outs since joining the Yankees. Of those 13, 8 were over 95 MPH.
Here is just a compilation of some of these hard hit outs:
These videos, though, do not do justice to maybe my favorite part of some of these outs. That being the fact that some of these 95 MPH+ Exit Velocity outs are pop ups or fly outs. See below:
What this tells me is Gallo is just missing on some pitches that he could send 450 feet. When a pop up is hit with that much exit velocity, the launch angle is what needs tweaking. Gallo has proven, though, that he can tweak that. The bottom line is, if you are hitting the ball that hard, all it takes is some things to even up. After all, we saw Gallo hit a home run with a Launch Angle of 47 Degrees and a 109.5MPH Exit Velocity against Seattle.
And recently, Gallo is just beginning to heat up. If you want to go back to just August 10th, Gallo’s slash is .176/.391/.529, which is more like it when it comes to what we expect. He clubbed two home runs against the White Sox on Sunday, as mentioned above, and has drawn six walks in his last five games.
It’s funny, but makes sense when you hear people say things about Gallo like, “the Yankees don’t need another strikeout guy!” To me, that sentiment has always been a fair one, but has missed the point. What Yankees fans don’t like is when Giancarlo Stanton goes up to the plate and has zero pitch recognition. In the process, he looks foolish swinging at three straight sliders in the dirt, and fans will lament when he occasionally runs into one.
But Joey Gallo isn’t like that. It’s easy to glance at his numbers and think he is an automatic strikeout. But when you actually watch his at-bats, the total ownership he possesses over the strike zone is unbelievable. For reference, Giancarlo Stanton is in the 55th percentile in chase rate, middle of the pack. Joey Gallo, though, is in the 94th percentile. He, almost literally, only swings at strikes.
Yankees fans are rightfully wary of the power-hitter approach because of players on the team who, when cold, can seem lost at the plate and swing at everything.
But Gallo, as a player that makes great swing decisions and owns the strike zone, is on a different level. While being a high strikeout power hitter, he manages to control the zone at an elite level. He is the best at doing that out of anyone on the Yankees. That alone is invaluable, so even when he isn’t going right, he is still working counts. And we’ve seen this play out the past 15 games. Through his first 18 days with the Yankees, Joey Gallo hasn’t been perfect. But things are pointing in the right direction.