SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Last year, Joey Gallo wore No. 70 on his Cactus League uniform. This year, he's got No. 13.That says a lot about where the Rangers' slugging third-base prospect has traveled in the days between his first and second Major League Spring Training camps. Gallo, after 108 Major
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Last year, Joey Gallo wore No. 70 on his Cactus League uniform. This year, he's got No. 13.
That says a lot about where the Rangers' slugging third-base prospect has traveled in the days between his first and second Major League Spring Training camps. Gallo, after 108 Major League at-bats in 2015, arrived in the Texas clubhouse in Surprise more at ease in his surroundings. That, he says, has allowed him to put all of his concentration into what he needs to go do turn those 108 into a lot more.
"It's different knowing everybody and being more comfortable," said Gallo, who turned 22 in November. "The first camp, you're just trying to get to know everybody. It's pretty nice now to have been here before. It makes it a little easier on you.
"At first, you just kind of want to blend in. You just go out there and do your work. But now, in my second year and after being in the big leagues, you can kind of joke around with everybody and everyone's a little more comfortable with me, so it's a little more fun."
Gallo is the club's top prospect and No. 9 in all of baseball according to MLB.com, and it's because of his raw power, which ranks at 80 out of a possible 80 and has led to Minor League seasons with home run totals of 40 (2013), 42 ('14) and 23 ('15), with six more in those 108 big league at-bats.
On the flip side of that slugging potential is his penchant for striking out. Gallo, the Rangers' first-round pick (39th overall) in the 2012 Draft, fanned 57 times in the Majors last year, hitting .204.
Gallo knows that he needs to get more disciplined at the plate, and that's what he's been focusing on this spring. The results haven't been there early in Cactus League play -- entering Monday, he had struck out five times in six at-bats -- but the dedication has been.
"What I see from Joey, from the first day he got here, is his focus and commitment to his practice and his work," Rangers hitting coach Anthony Iapoce said. "He's really been diligent with his routine and staying within himself and being able to make decisions and make adjustments pitch to pitch in the cage, which is how you have to do things in order to translate that to the game.
"From what I see right now, he looks great. He's doing a great job. Great self-talk right now. He's not getting too down on himself. And it starts with practice and quiet work when you're focused in on what you're trying to accomplish each day, and then you just trust and believe in it during the game, and when it doesn't go your way, you go back to the cage and you build the trust within yourself."
It's hard not to get excited by the 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame and the swing that launches tape-measure blasts. But Gallo knows he has to improve to succeed at this level.
"I've learned a lot," he said. "Obviously, going to the Major Leagues and seeing the best pitching in the world, I went back and made adjustments. Now I feel 10 times better than I did at the plate. I'm just trying to be more patient, swing at pitches that are strikes and not let the pitcher get me out."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.