2012 draft: Bishop Gorman’s Joey Gallo on Ruthian tear at plate

Joey Gallo has built a reputation around his ability to destroy the tar out of  a baseball unlike many others his age have ever been able to. At 6’-5” and 220 pounds, and just 18 years old, the left-hander is the top power bat in this year’s draft, and he should hear his name called in the upper half of the first round on June 4. Playing for Bishop Gorman high school in Nevada, a perennial powerhouse that has won six straight state titles, he has had every scout’s eyes on him since the first day he stepped foot in the door.

After a freshman season in which he hit .402 with six home runs, 31 RBI and a 1.216 OPS over 97 at-bats, he was named a Freshman All-American and was considered one of the top players in the country entering his sophomore year. He backed that up by hitting .474 with 16 doubles, 15 home runs, 62 RBI and a 1.586 OPS over 114 at-bats and led the Gaels to a 36-4 record and a state title.

His junior season saw his power reach legendary status as he smacked 25 home runs over 121 at-bats. He also hit .471 with 76 RBI and a 1.757 OPS over 39 games leading the Gael to a 35-5 record and another state title. He was named MVP of the Perfect Game Classic as he hit a 442-foot bomb in the West’s 6-2 over the East.

Aside from his hitting abilities, Gallo also shines on the mound. As a junior, he had a 1.12 ERA with 29 strikeouts over 18.2 innings. His fastball has been clocked in the upper 90s and his curveball has the potential to be a plus pitch. He could probably be a frontline starter in the majors if he stuck to it full time, but his bat is what teams are most interested in.

Coming into this season, his career totals look like this:

117 G, .452 AVG, 149 R, 26 2B, 8 3B, 46 HR, 169 RBI .546/.994/1.540

The one knock on him is his long swing. Most feel it will lead to a lot of strikeouts at the next level, and he has a tendency to chase balls out of the zone. Those things can be corrected. What shouldn’t be corrected is his aggressiveness at the plate. And for some reason, opposing teams continue to pitch to him, and he has been making them pay, especially of late.

Over his last five games, he has gone 14-for-18 (.778) with 10 runs, two doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI, including going 5-for-5 with four home runs and eight RBI in a 27-0 thumping of Clark HS on April 18. The baseball looks like a grapefruit to him right now, and actually has been for weeks. He is hitting a ridiculous .700 (28-for-40) over his last 12 games with 24 runs, five doubles, eight home runs and 31 RBI. He has a .746 OBP and an OPS of 2.221 over that span. His team has outscored their opponents 172-29 in those games, and at 26-2 overall, are the clear-cut favorites to win yet another state title.

Overall, he is hitting .554 with eight doubles, 10 home runs, 50 RBI, 10 stolen bases with a slash line of .656/1.122/1.778. He isn’t pitching as much this season, posting a 1.91 ERA with 16 strikeouts over 11 innings, as he focuses more on his hitting progression. His 22 walks to 17 strikeouts show the improvements he has made in his approach already while maintaining that aggressive demeanor at the plate.

Gallo will leave Bishop Gorman as the most decorated baseball player to ever play there. He will also leave with countless records with his name attached to it. Whatever team selects him in the draft, he will have everyone’s eyes on him the first day he steps to the plate.

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