In Defense of Joey Gallo

I have taken a lot of grief during drafts — both mock and actual 2018 season leagues — because I think a lot of Joey Gallo.

“A strikeout machine” @cwsoxfan reminded me when I picked up Gallo in the fifth round of the mock draft hosted by Scott White and CBS Sports last Thursday. (You can review the results here.)

I do have to say that I like Gallo a lot in just about any format this year, although I do confess there is potential danger within the slugger’s strike zone, or sometimes lack thereof.

Largely, I am basing my faith or opinion or hope or however we choose to designate on the solid jump in on-base numbers that Gallo witnessed the second-half of 2017 without losing any power.

First 21 39 112 0.194 0.313
Second 20 36 84 0.229 0.357

Granted, the .229 average is hardly something to jump over the Snake River Canyon for, but a 35-point jump is something that should at least get our attention, no matter who the batter. Second, the 44-point jump in OBP further says maybe something is going on where Joey is still going to get his cuts in, but perhaps in a more discriminating fashion.

For, though Gallo walked three fewer times post Break, he similarly cut his whiffs by 28, all of which should give a hitter with true 40-homer power the benefit of the doubt. As in, comparable to as much regard as that of say Alex Bregman, who also fared much better over the second half, but similarly is gone by the fifth round while Gallo floats around until at least eight or nine in most leagues.

In fact, if we check third base at the NFBC ADP for 12-team leagues, we find that while Bregman carries an ADP of #34, Gallo falls to #147, so in a way, part of the discussion I had with @cwsoxfan should give him the credit of saying I could have waited on Gallo.

That said, I was picking near the end, it was a 21-man (five reserve) points league, where homers are worth four points, walks worth one, while whiffs grab -.5 from one’s total. So based upon that OBP jump I saw (hoped for/anticipated/kicked Ra’s shins to get), coupled with the position flexibility and honest 40-home run power, I took the guy I wanted when I wanted him.

Again, while @cwsoxfan is correct, I might have waited, with the Gallo pick I could focus my next five rounds on pitchers and outfielders since my infield was full.

But @cwsoxfan also seemed to think I could do just as well later in the draft with Justin Bour, and I not only don’t think so, but I think if guys like Bregman deservedly get credit this year for a second-half jump to finish last year, so should Gallo.

For, if we look at a cross-section of first sackers last year, breaking respective first and second halves down in terms of those points — four for a dinger, one for a free pass, and -,5 for whiff — this is what we get with respect to best to worst.

Player Total (HR-BB-K) first half  points second half points total
Joey Gallo 41-75-196 67 74 141
Paul Goldschmidt 36-94-147 98.5 31 129.5
Justin Smoak 38-73-128 91 38 129
Ryan Zimmerman 33-44-126 67 46 113
Justin Bour 25-47-95 80.5 4 84.5
Matt Olson 24-22-60 4.5 74.5 79
Trey Mancini 22-33-114 33 14 47

No question among the cross-section of players who was the most productive overall, though kudos to Matt Olson for having the best post-Break points total among the group, while Gallo barely trailed.

The names I selected were sort of all over, though I took Mancini by virtue of his hot first half, and Olson because he shone post-July.

But, once more, if we use the second half as a qualifier, Gallo not only improved a lot, but he did so while the rest of this lot — sans Olson — fell far behind.

Is this enough to spike Gallo to a fifth-round pick? Maybe: It depends upon the league. But there is certainly enough there to merit the guy might be for real, and a .250-34-92 year would be just fine from the five-hole. At least it is for me.

Tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Sunday at 2 PM ET/11 AM PT, and you can follow me @lawrmichaels.

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