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Yankees Missed At-Bat of the Week: Joey Gallo (6/9)

This at-bat was a nice showcase of Gallo’s top two skills.

Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

I really did not mean to trigger anybody with this article, but as I was sorting through some quality at-bats from early June, it really stuck out. During the season, every time I wrote an at-bat of the week centered on Joey Gallo, there would be many jokes in the comments. To that I say, even somebody as bad as Gallo was can still have a good at-bat worth looking over!

Perhaps I could have just picked a non-Gallo at-bat, but I have an affinity for a hitter displaying their best skills in an at-bat that results in a home run. It’s like the culmination of putting it all together, even if it was just a blip in time. As I consider where my opinion stands on Gallo, which is much lower than it was two years ago, it’s nice to be reminded of what he can do, since that got lost during his tenure in New York. Anyways, his at-bat against Dylan Bundy was a good one. He combined his plate discipline with his aggressive, high-effort swings and it paid off. Let me show you how.

Pitch 1

There is nothing more that Joey Gallo loves than taking a first pitch out of the zone. It’s not that he isn’t an aggressive hitter, because he definitely picks his spots. However, it’s clear to me he can’t get enough of taking mega hacks when he’s an advantage count. Well, I guess he does this all the time, but in advantage counts he knows it won’t hurt him.

Pitch 2

There it is — an uber aggressive hack resulting in a whiff. Like I said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s when you don’t adapt your approach that it can become troublesome. It was okay in this case though. Gallo knows he can take bigger swings against Bundy since low velocity is a problem of his. Heading into the 1-1 count, expect the same approach.

Pitch 3

Basically a repeat of the first pitch, and again, it’s an easy take for Gallo to get to an advantage count. There isn’t much to read into here, Bundy is clearly trying to stay up and over Gallo’s barrel. It’s a good strategy, unless you make a mistake. 2-1 count.

Pitch 4

That’s tough for Bundy. Gary Sánchez sometimes gets a little too movement happy on glove side pitches low in the zone, but he was quiet as can be this time around. Statcast agreed with the call, but you want this pitch no matter what if you’re a pitcher. The catcher barely moves and you’re throwing to a hitter’s weakness. Not getting this pitch puts you in a 3-1 hole. Not ideal.

Pitch 5

I remember watching this in real time thinking about how terrible this swing was. Bundy was doing everything he could to stay away from the worst-case scenario and Gallo still gave in. It’s not the end of the world since it was a 3-1 count, but still, this is indicative of a hitter trying to do too much. To bounce back in a 3-2 count, Gallo had to stick to his solid approach and only attack pitches in a specific zone. Run it up.

Pitch 6

Okay, I’m not going to say Gallo never had great mid at-bat adjustments like this during his Yankees tenure, but they didn’t happen that often. This pitch was actually off the plate too, but since his barrel best covers middle away, it was a cookie. I’m surprised Bundy went back to this pitch — it seems like he had Gallo swing happy with the changeup. It had been his best pitch of the at-bat but he tried to get another whiff. It’s an interesting decision that Gallo made look silly in retrospect. I hope Gallo does more of this in 2023, even if he isn’t in pinstripes anymore. The plate discipline/power profile is still so intriguing if he can just have a sliver of consistency.