Joey Gallo has been a member of the New York Yankees for nearly two weeks, a span in which he has played 13 games. While he already had his signature Yankee moment, he has struggled at the plate for the most part.
In those 13 contests, the left fielder is hitting .149/.298/.298 with a .596 OPS. Gallo has struck out 22 times while wearing the pinstripes, slugging just one home run, albeit one that ended up gifting the Yankees a late-inning victory against the Seattle Mariners in spectacular fashion.
Some fans are growing frustrated about Gallo’s production in the Bronx. After all, that OPS is a far cry from the .834 mark he has in 2021 as a whole, and watching strikeouts in two out of every five plate appearance can grow weary when there isn’t quality production in exchange. But some patience is warranted because Gallo, like all major leaguers, is prone to slump from time to time.
Yes, it’s true that Gallo’s contact issues make him more vulnerable to stretches like this, but the Yankees’ lineup is significantly better with him in it. Strikeouts are obviously part of his game, but he will give the Bombers many more moments to celebrate despite the high K%. The power will eventually come, and the walks have been there to some extent (10 in 13 games).
A deeper analysis tells us that this is just what a Gallo slump looks like. Even in a good first half (24 home runs and a .923 OPS), he had a .534 OPS stretch from April 5th through the 23rd, a span of 16-games. And if we look even further in the calendar, before he came to the Yankees via trade, he had been slumping toward the end of his run in Texas: in his last 30 games, he has an odd .154/.302/.481 line, which equals to a .783 OPS.
However, even when Gallo is slumping and it appear that he can’t buy a hit, he will find ways to contribute to his team. He is far from a one-dimensional player, and fans should appreciate that, too. In just a couple weeks, Gallo has already impressed in the outfield with both his range ...
... and his arm.
Gallo’s batting average will fluctuate between .200 and .230 for the most part, but his ability to reach base (.369 OBP despite a .213 average), evident power (.254 ISO, 26 homers), athleticism, and Gold Glove-caliber defense make him a very valuable player.
In fact, few players on the Yankees’ roster can match Gallo’s all-around greatness, even if he looks desperately lost at the plate at times. At his worst, he will always walk and contribute on the field.
It’s understandable that Yankees fans want more consistency from their star trade acquisition, especially considering that he is under the Yankees’ control for at least another season after 2021. But if Gallo is prone to slumps, he is also capable of going through extremely productive stretches in which he can carry a team.
For example, over a stretch of just five games that started on June 26th and ended on July 1st, Gallo batted .563/667/1.875 with seven home runs and 13 RBI. He homered in each of the five contests:
The Yankees have some big series coming up in the next few days and weeks, and the fact that Gallo is capable of carrying his team to a series sweep while at his best says a lot about him as a ballplayer. However, the fact that he can be a .300 OBP guy or slug .480 even while hitting .150 says even more.
Be patient with Joey Gallo. He is flawed, but remains a very good and complete ballplayer.