Off-the-charts power, versatility make Gallo valuable

Off-the-charts power, versatility make Gallo valuable

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The "berm" is a staple in the Cactus League. All parks have a version of it, a green slope beyond the outfield fence where fans can spread a blanket and watch from a first-come location.

Joey Gallo clears berms. He hits moon shots that soar over the berm into parking lots, through fences and off pavilion tents. Fans gasp as they scramble backward for the baseball.

Gallo's power is awe-inspiring and known throughout baseball.

"He's the champ," Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder said.

Gallo's power will be on display again this season, but at Triple-A Round Rock. The team's No. 1-ranked prospect was a relatively early cut in Spring Training, along with Lewis Brinson (No. 2), Nomar Mazara (No. 3) and Jurickson Profar.

They are the four position player prospects who have a chance to impact the Rangers at some point during the season. Gallo's raw power is just one reason why he may be Texas' prospect to watch this season.

The second reason is Gallo could help the Rangers at five positions if needed. Gallo will play third base for Round Rock, but he could also get the call if something happens to Fielder or Mitch Moreland. He has played first base before, but if something happened to Moreland, Gallo could be used at designated hitter, with Fielder taking over at first base. He can also play both corner-outfield spots.

Gallo's three-run homer

Gallo must first master Triple-A as he did the other levels of the Minor Leagues.

The disappointing aspect of Gallo's 2015 season was not that he predictably struggled after being rushed from Double-A to the big leagues at the beginning of June. It was that his struggles continued at Triple-A when he was sent down at the end of the month.

Trying to make a bewildering series of adjustments, Gallo hit .195 with 14 home runs, 32 RBIs and 90 strikeouts in 53 games and 200 at-bats.

The 22-year-old had a much better approach in Spring Training. Gallo focused on being patient at the plate, working for his pitch, using the entire field and putting the ball in play with two strikes. He hit .286 with a .429 on-base percentage and a .607 slugging percentage.

"The message I gave him was be the best defensive player possible, be athletic at third base and continue to take his at-bats like did in Spring Training," manager Jeff Banister said. "I thought he made major improvements. I liked early on how he was seeing pitches, and as he got comfortable, he let the bat go."

Gallo needs to carry that over in Round Rock. If he does, he will most definitely be a prospect to watch.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.