I’m right here to make a case for a Joey Gallo turnaround.
Gallo, in a season to overlook, was shipped from one World Collection favourite (the Yankees) — the place he carried out brutally and was mercilessly booed every time he struck out — to a different on the other coast (the Dodgers).
Maybe the Dodgers — just like the Rays, Brewers, and Padres, who had been reportedly within the outfielder on the commerce deadline — thought they may repair him, or on the very least present a change of surroundings for the slugger in hopes his prodigious energy returns.
In any case, Gallo slashed .159/.282/.339 within the Bronx, including batting .085 in his final 29 games in pinstripes. His lefty energy, which was presupposed to lead to him incessantly depositing balls over Yankee Stadium’s brief porch in proper, was nearly non-existent. Actually, solely 4 of his 12 spherical trippers got here at dwelling.
His stroll fee was down; his strikeout fee up. Perhaps there’s one thing within the analytics to counsel that he’ll get higher, regardless of not producing in a lineup that has been the highest-scoring group in baseball.
But here’s the real reason he’ll improve — call it the Dodger Effect.
The Dodgers are the Yankees of the West, though they have more recently appeared in three World Series over the past five years, winning one in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. They’re high profile, in a big market. Gallo couldn’t hack it under the bright lights of New York, New York. But what about laid-back La La Land where the fans’ greatest motivating factor is beating traffic?
There’s a reason for hope in other struggling players blossoming once they put on Dodger blue, also known as Pantone 294. Look no further than Chris Taylor, Justin Turner, and Max Muncy.
Do you remember Turner’s Mets tenure? Or how Taylor wasted away in Seattle before a trade sent him to SoCal? What about Max Muncy’s time with the penny-pinching A’s?
How would you describe their pre-Dodger careers? Ugly. Disappointing. Lackluster.
What about after? They’ve become All-Stars and earned rings.
Taylor went from slashing .240/.296/.296 in three years with the hapless Mariners to .261/.339/.453 in his seven since. He hit a total of zero dingers with Seattle. ZERO. He’s slugged 85 since.
Turner, a key cog during L.A.’s playoff runs, was a .265 hitter with eight homers during his four years in Flushing. And that was in 814 at-bats. Now he’s a career .295 hitter with the Dodgers, having clubbed 151 long balls, hitting a career-high of 27 three times. In the playoffs, Turner has hit 13 round trippers, knocked in 42, and scored 43 runs in 82 games.
The Dodgers altered Turner’s swing by adding a leg kick. With Taylor, it was a complete overhaul that included moving the barrel and a leg kick. With Muncy, a little fine-tuning with a bend and a leg kick. Whatever the case, the Dodgers knew how to fix them.
Muncy went from a total of five HRs in two years in Oakland to smashing 35 in each of his first two seasons in L.A. He’s up to 128 for his career.
Gallo is a bit of a different story. Before his trade to N.Y., Pico De Gallo was a two-time All-Star, who had hit 145 home runs across 568 games with the Rangers. His season high was 41 in 2017, and he followed that up with 40 a year later.
But his Yankee tenure was his lowest of lows. Though he grew up a Yankee fan, he was among a group that just can’t seem to handle the Bronx — a hitter’s version of Ed Whitson, Hideki Irabu, Sonny Gray, A.J. Burnett, etc.
“I think it’s a product of the culture we have around here, the environment. The way everyone is treated,” Turner told Bleacher Report after Muncy’s rise to stardom.
Maybe with less of a microscope on him, Gallo could get his groove back.
Getting Gallo is far from the splash that the Padres made by acquiring Juan Soto (and Josh Bell), but he could be one of the most important players come playoff time.
We’ve seen it happen before in L.A. We could certainly see it again. Who doesn’t love a good Hollywood ending?