May 11, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Joey Gallo takes his turn at bat against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
Without reading this article, people will comment “WE NEED MORE DJ LEMAHIEUS, HE STRIKES OUT AND HITS .220” and then an angry unfollow on Twitter.
Before you do those things, I implore you to put down the 1996-tinted glasses and actually take a look at Joey Gallo’s numbers. He’s more than just a strikeout guy, more than just a prolific power hitter, and more than just a .220 hitter. We have a plethora of injuries, and he’s one of the best options for the outfield. His ability to play CF at a pretty high level with his bat would make him an amazing add this deadline. Let’s answer the question at hand and break down why Joey Gallo makes sense for the Yankees.
The Total Package
Rarely do you see players excel at all 3 phases of the game. Joey Gallo is one of those players, playing defense at a high level and being one of the better baserunners in baseball alongside his powerful bat. Since 2018, he’s at the top of the leaderboards in production in these facets of the game:
.367 xwOBA (22nd)
22 DRS (9th among OFs)
Gallo is able to play defense, hit pretty well, and run the bases very effectively, so what’s his detraction? Why is there hesitation or even flat-out repulsion amongst some Yankee fans at the idea of trading for him? The issue a lot of fans have with him is that he hits below .230 and is a strikeout machine, but these are things that ultimately have very little bearing on Joey Gallo and his ability to play at a high level. He’s a consistent 4 fWAR/650 player and 4.1 rWAR/650 player, and strikeouts aren’t a problem on this team.
Gallo Is More Than Just Average and Strikeouts
Gallo hit .213 and struck out 36.4% of the time from 2018-2020. On the surface that would make you think that he’s terrible, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Since 2017 they have the 12th lowest K%, within 0.5% of the elite Dodgers. On top of that teams like the Pirates, Angels, and Royals have struck out less and they have been horrid. The Yankees don’t strike out nearly as much as people believe they do, and this season the only players who strike out at a 26% clip or higher are Frazier, Stanton, Ford, and Voit. Gallo also has a 113 wRC+ in his career and a 109 wRC+ in Fangraphs’ High leverage Index situations, meaning he’s a solid hitter in the “clutch” as well. At this point you cite strikeouts and BA for Gallo, it’s willful ignorance.
Gallo Would Fit Like A Glove For the Yankees
Gallo is a left-handed hitter who launches the ball a lot and hits it hard. He does this with a near 50% pull percentage, meaning there’s a lot of home run potential for him. He could easily clobber 40 Home Runs at the Bronx, and with his ability to post a .340-.350 OBP he would serve as an elite middle of the lineup bat. His 11.5 DRS/150 games at CF and 13.4 UZR/150 allow him to be one of the best centerfielders in baseball if he is transitioned to that position.
There’s nothing not to like about Gallo, he’s a left-handed bat, he’s a good defensive CF, and he’s got batted-ball data tailor-made for Yankee Stadium. It would be a match made in heaven for the Yankees. This is what a lineup with Gallo looks like: (Based on how Boone sets the order)
DJ LeMahieu 2B
Giancarlo Stanton DH
Aaron Judge RF
Luke Voit 1B
Joey Gallo CF
Gio Urshela 3B
Gleyber Torres SS
Gary Sanchez/Kyle Higashioka C
Clint Frazier/Brett Gardner LF
This lineup not only gets a lot deeper with Gallo there, but it also becomes extremely difficult to navigate through for hitters and would give the Yankees a permanent franchise-caliber CF for 2021 and 2022. I have faith in Cashman to at least do his due diligence, but I want to see Joey Gallo in pinstripes, and you should too.