Just a year ago, slugger Joey Gallo was on top of the MLB universe.
The 2021 season was extremely productive for him, as he had a .808 OPS and 38 home runs between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees.
2022, however, wasn’t as kind.
He slumped to a .638 OPS and the Yankees traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a Double-A pitching prospect at the deadline.
He couldn’t find any consistency in the Bronx and while he had his moments in LA, he wasn’t much better.
He entered free agency as a 29-year-old outfielder with good defensive skills and athleticism, but with lots of strikeouts and contact issues.
The Minnesota Twins decided to give him a chance on a one-year, $11 million contract.
A Make-Or-Break Season For Gallo
As MLB insider Jeff Passan states, this is a make-or-break season for him.
Joey Gallo will get $11 million in his deal with the Twins, sources tell ESPN. He’s still just 29. With a solid season this year — remember, he put up 4.7 Wins Above Replacement in 2021 — he’s still primed to do well next year. But no doubt: This is a make-or-break season.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 16, 2022
Twins insider Aaron Gleeman provided a good initial analysis of the Gallo fit in Minnesota.
“Joey Gallo has nearly unmatched raw power. He’s averaged 38 homers per 162 career games, including two 40-homer seasons. He also draws lots of walks and is a good corner outfielder. Should benefit some from shift limitations, too. But he also strikes out more than anyone, ever,” he tweeted.
Joey Gallo has nearly unmatched raw power. He’s averaged 38 homers per 162 career games, including two 40-homer seasons.
He also draws lots of walks and is a good corner outfielder. Should benefit some from shift limitations, too.
But he also strikes out more than anyone, ever.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) December 16, 2022
Gleeman mentions an interesting concept: since MLB banned the shift starting in 2023, Gallo’s offensive output could be a bit better.
A reminder: he is a notorious pull hitter, and having a normal infield and outfield alignment could obviously help him.
Joey Gallo and Max Kepler next year without the shift pic.twitter.com/AO2c21QEVH
— Gomer (@GomesDaLegend) December 16, 2022
The Twins intend to compete in 2023, and recently had their pride hurt by losing out on Carlos Rodon and their own free agent, Carlos Correa.
They need to make a splash, and Gallo is the kind of addition that can define the way their season goes.
Not every Twins fan is in love with Gallo:
— Alex (@MNSportsStud) December 16, 2022
However, he does have upside.
That is undeniable.