Go, Twitter, go!
Headed to Texas! New chapter of my life starting today! #Rangers— Joey Gallo (@JoeyGallo24) June 11, 2012
The rumors of Gallo seeking $2.5 million notwithstanding (slot money for his pick is $1.3248 million), it appears that Gallo is about to be signed ... you'll recall that the Rangers made it a point of emphasis last year (and maybe a few other years) to hold a presser for their top signings, and, with that in mind, we could see Lewis Brinson, Gallo, Collin Wiles, and second-rounders Jamie Jarmon (who also confirmed that he was headed to Texas last night), and Nick Williams (who also dropped some cryptic tweets) all being announced as new Texas Rangers at one great big press gathering today.
After the jump, there's the scouting report from my Day One draft writeup, and some video of Gallo ...
No. 39: 3B Joey Gallo | DoB: 11/19/93 | 6' 4", 200 lb.
School: Bishop Gorman High School (Nevada) | Slot Money: $1,324,800
Best No. 39 Picks: Don Baylor (1967), Mel Hall (1978), Todd Hundley (1987)
Gallo was pegged to go as high as No. 11 (Athletics) in several of the mock drafts that circulated around the blogosphere yesterday, but he slid well beyond that point and ultimately fell all the way into the Rangers' laps at No. 39. I think that if you were to dig around enough among the various scouting services, you'd find the Gallo pick to be perceived as a great one this far down in the draft, especially since his one monster tool (power) is something that teams will pay out the nose for in the open market. To add a little context to this point, Keith Law had Gallo ranked as the 23rd-best prospect in the draft in his final rankings set, and Scout.com's Frankie Piliere had him all the way up at No. 11.
So, yeah, the power is inordinately huge; per Lone Star Dugout's Jason Cole, Gallo's raw power is "staggering" in nature, and commonly draws 70-plus grades from scouts, and provided that the hit tool develops to the necessary extent, he will stand a good chance of becoming the rare player capable of banging 35-40 homers on a seasonal basis. The questions on the hit tool, however, are fairly significant, in the sense that scouts wonder if the power tool will be marginalized by his inability to make enough contact -- the product of a swing and approach that generates plentiful swings and misses. For what it's worth, Law's present/future hit tool grades on Gallo are 35/45, which, from the most optimistic vantage point, translates into a future batting average of .265-.275.
The other major aspect to this pick that needs to be taken under consideration is where Gallo fits on the big league diamond. Ideally, you keep Gallo at third base and take full advantage of his tremendous arm (he showcased an elite fastball that touched the upper-90s in high school), but there's already talk of his frame being too big and his defense too borderline to keep him at the hot corner for the long haul; a move to first base would neutralize the arm and raise the offensive expectation, as good-hitting third basemen are tougher to find than good-hitting first basemen, and such a cross-diamond move would force him to raise his OPS by 70-80 points to remain at the same level among his peers.
One more thing worth noting: Clearly, the Rangers did not make this pick with the intention of Gallo failing as a hitter and/or overhauling him as a pitcher, and Gallo adamantly opposed the pitching route going into the draft, but the fact that he does boast such a special arm -- and that, per Keith Law, he could have been a top-10 prospect in this draft class if he had committed to pitching -- does suggest that not all may be lost if the hit tool doesn't actualize as hoped, and if he ends up stalling out in the minors.
I vividly recall an anecdote from Jim Bouton's Ball Four where it was explained that a two-way player could commit to hitting and always come back to pitching if it didn't pan out, because a live arm is still a live arm at the end of the day, but that committing to pitching and then trying to go back to hitting was incredibly difficult, as hitting is driven by repetition, and extended time away from that repetition severely erodes the required skill set. With that fully in mind, there is a built-in backup plan in place here if, for whatever reason, Gallo doesn't develop as expected at a corner, because he could still conceivably turn around, go the way of Matt West, and become a viable pitching asset. It's still a tad far-fetched, and I'd much prefer to see Gallo pan out as a slug-heavy monster, but having more pathways to the majors is never a bad thing.