After his first three games as a professional, Texas Rangers’ first-round sandwich pick Joey Gallo had a .000 batting average. Nothing to write home about. He did, however, have a .643 on base percentage. Never seen that before? Yeah, me either. It may be just a couple of games, but it still looks weird. The reason for the ridiculous OBP was the fact that he drew nine walks over those three games, including five in one game on June 23. Not too shabby for a guy who some scouts thought could struggle early on because of his long swing and tendency to chase balls out of the zone. Well, early on, those scouts look foolish. In his fourth game, he drilled his first home run, and drew another walk. In his fifth game on June 25, he notched his first triple, and drew another walk. That’s 11 total walks over his first 23 plate appearances as a pro, a .609 OBP. Seven-time All-Star, Michael Young, has 13 walks this season over 301 plate appearances for the Rangers.
For a power hitter like Gallo, having a strong understanding of the strike zone is crucial for success at the next level. Pitchers will never throw you anything to hit if they know you will just chase balls out of the zone. If you can lay off the bad stuff, you can tee off on the good stuff.
A 6’-5”, 225-pound left-hander out of Bishop Gorman HS in Nevada , Gallo was the best power bat in high school this past season, blasting 21 home runs over 40 games, including four in a game against Clark HS on April 18, and 19 over his last 26 games. He also hit .509 with 80 RBI and a slash line of .628/.1.167/1.795. He finished his stellar career with 70 home runs, 258 RBI and a .468 batting average over 160 games.
The Rangers selected him with the 39th overall pick, compensation for losing starter C.J. Wilson to the Angels via free agency. He signed a week later and was designated to the Rangers’ Arizona League where he is playing third base. Aside from the power in his bat, he also has it in his arm, as he took the mound for Bishop Gorman on occasion and used his mid-90s fastball to rack up 23 strikeouts over 13.2 innings as a senior.
The Rangers used their 93rd pick on a kid with some of the most raw talent in the entire draft, but just needed proper development to refine his tools. The Rangers have been one of the best in that department over the last decade and back-to-back World Series berths have been their reward for moving players through their system properly.
Nick Williams is a 6’-3”, 190-pound left-hander out of Ball HS in Texas with jaw-dropping power, elite speed and a strong arm in the outfield – he was clocked at 94 mph on the mound. He has exceptional bat speed, and his swing draws comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. He dropped a bit in the draft because of his strong commitment to play baseball at Texas, and the fact that some teams may have seen more miss than hit in his game. If his first five games are any indication, 29 other teams are the ones that missed.
He has collected a hit in every game, including three mulit-hit games, and is 11-for-22 with two doubles, a triple and two stolen bases. He has yet to go deep, but is already showing that he more than just a power hitter and no doubt is playing with a chip on his shoulders to prove his doubters wrong.
The Rangers selected a lot of raw, toolsy players in the draft, including first-round pick Lewis Brinson and third-round pick Jamie Jarmon. With the success the Rangers are enjoying at the major league level, there is no need to rush these players. They can let them develop at their own pace, bring them along slowly and reap the rewards in the near future. It’s not always where you get drafted, it’s where you get drafted.