While Gallo is never going to hit for a high average, power and plate discipline are his calling card. For his career, Gallo has hit .199/.325/.469, good for a .794 career OPS, 9% better than league average since his debut. His best year came in 2019 when he had a .956 OPS in the first half before a broken hamate bone took away most of his second half.
After struggling in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he began to return to form in the first half of 2021, hitting .223/.379/.490. He was subsequently traded to the Yankees where he was never able to have that same level of success. Since that trade and then being dealt to the Dodgers last season, Gallo has only mustered a .160/.288/.374 batting line.
His 2022 Statcast metrics are truly a marvel. Offensively, he’s essentially the opposite of Max Kepler. He doesn’t make contact often, but when he does, it goes far. While the low ratings are a cause for concern, 2021 had more positive signs.
Considering his awful second half in 2021, there could be even more offense outside of the bright lights in New York and LA. The Twins are surely hoping he can look more like the player from the first half of 2021 than the one he’s been since then.
Even when things are going well for Gallo, he’s going to strikeout a lot. In fact, more than anyone in MLB history, as Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic pointed out.
Miguel Sanó has the second-highest career strikeout rate in MLB history at 36.4 percent.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) December 16, 2022
And the only player with a higher career strikeout rate — at 37.3 percent — is Joey Gallo.
(Gallo is a good defensive corner outfielder, making him a better all-around player. But still.)
Gallo can play either corner outfield spot and fields both very well, grading out as a good fielder by most metrics. He also played third and first earlier in his career, but hasn’t seen meaningful time at either position since 2017.
Without Carlos Correa on the roster, the Twins have plenty of money to spend. Using it on a player who has looked like an MVP candidate at his best is as good a use of it as anything at this point. If it goes well, you have the middle-of-the-order bat the team desperately needs. If it doesn’t, well, there’s no such thing as a bad one-year contract.
With a plethora of left-handed hitting corner outfielders on the 40-man roster already, this signing is likely a signal of what’s to come. The long-rumored Kepler trade is almost sure to happen now, the only question is when. The Twins want to win in 2023, and this is a good first step toward retooling the current roster.