2020 was and still is a real test of mental strength for everyone. It’s teaching us how much we, as a society, can withstand. For the 2020 MLB season, the mental aspect of a regular-season grew. The league forced teams on the road to travel in solitary confinement. While teammates could become closer, it didn’t take away from the suffocation associated with limited to no social interaction outside the organization. I bring all of this up because calling Joey Gallo’s 2020 a regression doesn’t seem fair.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) September 10, 2020
First, if we are even talking about a bad season and Joey Gallo, the word defense shouldn’t be in the same vicinity. Joey Gallo found his home in right field and treated the new Globe Life Field as his backyard in right field. He won his first career gold glove, coincidently in his first season playing in only one position (he played center field for one inning on July 29th). “I knew I had a shot this year playing right field, getting everyday reps, and not moving around. I tried to take advantage of that. I’m really proud of that,” Joey Gallo said.
I get it; the offensive numbers aren’t kind to Joey. After his 2019 season was cut short due to surgery to remove the broken hamate bone in his right wrist, there was motivation to come out strong. Joey had his Summer Camp limited due to a positive COVID test in early July along with a condensed 2020 season. Sure these all may be excuses and that last point is a circumstance all thirty teams dealt with. It still is a stretch to call 2020 a failure season for Joey offensively. I will say this, Gallo’s strikeout to plate appearance rate decreased in 2020. For the first time in his MLB career, Joey struck out at a rate lower than thirty-five percent. Plus I feel like he bunted more in 2020.
The power that Joey Gallo has is honestly mind blowing. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/EyiPcbgx8N
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) August 5, 2020
What’s next for Joey Gallo?
The Rangers threw Gallo’s name at the trade deadline to the surprise of the baseball world outside. However, no one took the bait. Expect the same circumstance during the winter with no personnel change. Joey has two years of control until he becomes a free agent, winding down on Jon Daniels and the Rangers’ decision-making. Defensively, Gallo already earned his Gold Glove reputation based on his work in center in 2019. “Our options with Joey, one of which includes extending him, are still very much available to us,” Jon Daniels said after the season. “We’ll have those conversations. I don’t know exactly where that will go.” Keep in mind that Joey is a Scott Boras client.
Maybe it’s digestion of what didn’t go as planned for Joey from now until February, or it’s a comfort issue. Joey’s home/road splits in 2020 were nearly even, which is unusual considering the Rangers’ road games in 2020 included San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. It’s clear to say Gallo hasn’t figured out the offensive nooks of Globe Life Field (took the Dodgers a little bit too), but the small offensive surge to end the 2020 season by the club as a whole is a good starting point.
OH MY 😱
Joey Gallo with a 433 ft BOMB to the UPPER DECK
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 6, 2020
Typically it’s difficult to predict a player’s campaign for next season with a whole set of circumstances. For 2020 moving to 2021, it’s even more unpredictable. All of the obstacles, the shortened season, the eerie atmosphere, and the uncertainty of Spring Training add more cloudiness. With that said, it’s hard to pinpoint failure on this season with the obstacles mentioned. Are there things to work on? Hell yes. But don’t stamp regress on Joey Gallo for 2020.
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