2012 draft tracker: Joey Gallo sets HR record; David Dahl streaking

David Dahl’s first-year stats stack up against a certain Angels rookie. (Paul Ruhter/Billings Gazette)

Hitting home runs at historic clips is nothing new to Joey Gallo. After all, he set a Nevada state record with 70 long balls over 160 games at powerhouse Bishop Gorman HS, including a 26-game stretch over his senior season in which he hit 19 home runs — four of those in one game against Clark HS. He also hit .468 with 258 RBI over those 160 games, showing much more than power to his game.

At 6’-5” and 220 pounds, the left-hander was the best power prospect in the draft regardless of class. He slipped to the 39th-overall selection for reasons I am still not sure of. Some scouts thought his long swing could lead to a lot of swing-and-miss and he would have problems with breaking balls as he had a tendency to chase balls out of the zone, especially against lefties. So far, he has rewarded the Rangers while making every other team’s scouts look foolish.

On August 5, he hit his 16th home run of the season for the AZL Rangers, tying the mark set by Wladimir Balentien of the Mariners back in 2003. Balentien accomplished the feat in 50 games. Gallo did it in 37. On the season, he is hitting .297 with 40 runs scored, nine doubles, 16 home runs, 39 RBI and five stolen bases. He leads the league in runs, RBI and slugging percentage (.758) and is second in walks with 30. He is also crushing lefties, going 12-for-29 (.414) with six home runs, 13 RBI and a 1.103 SLG, silencing those critics, as well.

The record for RBI in a season is 63 by Cody Decker of the Padres in 2009. Decker also holds the record for SLG with .717 in the same year. Decker was 20 years old when he did it. Gallo is 18 … and still has 19 games to go.

When the Colorado Rockies selected David Dahl with the 10th-overall selection in the 2012 draft, they knew they were getting a special player. An elite athlete with plus speed and arguably the purest hitter in the draft. He’s a center fielder with great range and instincts in the field, and an exciting player who can do just about everything at the plate.

The 6’-2”, 185-pound left-hander has been nothing short of spectacular during his first pro season for Grand Junction of the Pioneer League. He is currently riding a 19-game hitting streak in which he is 38-for-84 (.452) with 26 runs, four doubles, five triples, two home runs and 17 RBI. You won’t hear him talking about it, however. All Dahl cares about is team wins, showing the high character that is going to make him a clubhouse leader as well as a fan favorite at the next level to go along with all that talent.

People like to throw out comparisons for younger players so fans can get a feel for what kind of player they might become. A lot of people throw out the Jacoby Ellsbury comparison when it comes to Dahl. Ellsbury is a left-handed top-of-the-order hitter with great speed, power and the ability to hit for a high average. For me, there is another player I liken him too. Take a look at the pro debuts of these two 18-year olds:

42 G, .379. 39 R, 11 2B, 8 3B, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 8 SB, .424/.603/1.028

44 G, .352, 30 R, 7 2B, 7 3B, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 13 SB, .419/.486/.905

The first is Dahl. The second is the likely AL MVP this season, Mike Trout.

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