14 july 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – Joey Gallo’s done this before: The eye-popping batting practice, the monster home run to win the game, even damaging a vehicle seemingly parked a safe distance from home plate.
But not on the big league stage, the one the Texas Rangers’ slugging third base prospect plans to make permanent by doing more than creating batting practice gasps.
The 20-year-old Gallo, promoted to Class AA last month, decided the All-Star Futures Game with a two-run, sixth-inning home run that gave the USA a 3-2 victory Sunday against the World team.
“I got into a hitter’s count and said I’m going to let it fly if the pitch is there,” said Gallo, whose 31 home runs are tied for the minor league home run lead with boyhood friend and Futures Game teammate Kris Bryant of the Cubs organization. “It was there.”
But only for a moment. Then the 95 mph fastball from Astros prospect Michael Feliz was 419 feet away on the right field terrace at Target Field.
At least this ball carried over the pick-up truck on display on the concourse, a truck with a cracked windshield from Gallo’s batting practice display.
“I think I win the truck,” said Gallo. “No, I feel bad. I broke one last year at Asheville (N.C.) and that one actually was somebody’s car, so I really feel bad for that one.”
His batting practice stole the show early – ball after ball into the upper deck in right-center field.
“I can hear them in BP,” Gallo said of the fan reaction. “It’s fun to feed off that. I’d hit one far and they’d go, ‘Ohhhhh,’ like it’s Home Run Derby. I thought, ‘I’ll keep going, I guess.’ ”
The questions surrounding Gallo – and make no mistake, he’s heard them all – are whether he can keep going toward an eventual spot in the Texas lineup.