Background Joey Gallo went to Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. His legend grew as he hit a Nevada record 67 home runs over his four years there. Gallo hasn't stopped hitting homers since.
In the first round of the 2012 Draft, the Texas Rangers selected Gallo out of high school. He was coming off a season in which he hit .509 with 21 home runs and 80 RBIs. Gallo chose to sign with the Rangers rather than attend Louisiana State University.
The left-handed-hitting, right-handed-throwing Gallo is huge at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. When All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre was injured, Texas called up Gallo to take over at third.
Gallo and Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant were friends and rivals growing up in Las Vegas. Their families knew each other very well, and the two have retained a competitive and close rivalry through their early years as professionals. Their similarities are almost eerie: Both have prodigious power, play third base and made their big league debuts at about the same time.
With the exception of Bryant, it is difficult to find a young player with the raw power of Gallo. Home runs are his claim to fame; he can hit the ball out of any park. But Gallo also tends to strike out. While it isn't quite feast or famine, the strikeouts will cause some heartache, but the home runs will bring great joy -- and change games.
During the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis, Gallo hit some of the longest batting-practice home runs imaginable. He has done the same in games.
Last season, Gallo smoked 42 home runs -- 21 at Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach and 21 at Double-A Frisco. He struck out 179 times in 537 plate appearances. Gallo also walked 87 times and drove in 106 runs.
Gallo has played both third base and left field for Texas. It remains to be seen if Gallo can make the transition to left, now that a healthy Beltre has returned from the disabled list. Ryan Braun made a similar transition with the Brewers early in his Major League career.
Regardless of his defensive role, offense is Gallo's calling card. While he continues to make defensive progress, he may ultimately be best suited as a designated hitter.
While Gallo can play in the field, his range is below average and his first step is slow and limited. He has enough arm strength to play any position.
Even the most uninterested person should buy a ticket to watch Gallo hit a baseball. The height and length of his home runs are majestic, his bat speed is very good and his power is by far his best tool.
Gallo's arm strength is above average, giving him the opportunity to refine his defense and possibly play effectively in the outfield.
Gallo has difficulty making contact with a very aggressive and unforgiving swing. He practically winds up, increasing the torque as he swings from his heels and taking a long path to the ball. Gallo can feast on fastballs, especially those that are down a bit in the zone. If he connects, the ball could suffer a dent or bruise due to the strength in his swing -- that's how powerful he is.
Gallo has little speed.
I find this interesting Bryce Harper also grew up playing with Gallo and Bryant in Las Vegas. Harper is 21, Gallo is 22, Bryant is 23 -- and the three form a trio of fantastic power hitters who could dominate the big leagues for years to come.
When a player can hit home runs like Gallo, his team will find a place for him. He will be tested now to determine if he can effectively play in the outfield. Gallo adds such a dynamic dimension to the lineup that his presence can change a game with one swing. Trading home runs for strikeouts is a winning equation.
Gallo in a word
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.