– Joey Gallo certainly has a knack for hitting big home runs in the
spotlight of big games with the entire nation, and farther, watching
years ago he crushed a 442-foot blast at Petco Park during the 2011
Perfect Game All-American Classic. That blast continues to be the
10th longest blast hit at the home of the San Diego
Padres, a shot that propelled Gallo to become the game's Most
Sunday Gallo followed suit during the Futures Game, drilling a pitch well out of the seating
arena at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, that was
estimated to travel 419-feet, for a two-run bomb in the bottom of the
sixth inning. The shot put the U.S. team ahead for good, garnering
Gallo MVP honors once again while bailing out his good friend and
2011 PG All-American teammate, Lucas Giolito.
a game that is structured quite similar to the Classic, the Futures
Game, as part of the All-Star Game festivities, is a collection of
the best and brightest young prospects currently playing in the minor
leagues. Gallo, Giolito and 11 other former Perfect Game
All-Americans found themselves named to the game's initial rosters,
divided up between players that hail from the United
States and those from the rest of the World.
is very similar as to the way the All-American game worked back
then,” Giolito said prior to the game. “You know you come out you
see a bunch of guys that are at the tippety-top of their levels, respectively, within their organizations. It's awesome just to be able to
go out and talk to them about what they're going through and I hope
to see them all in the majors some day.”
time spent at the Classic, as well as on the travel circuit while in high school, has allowed
Giolito, Gallo and fellow 2011 PG All-Americans and Futures Game
participants Corey Seager and Jesse Winker to retain friendships they
expect to carry well beyond their projected big-league careers.
great friends with everybody,” Gallo said, taking his round of
batting practice just behind Winker. “I haven't even seen [Jesse]
Winker in two years -- I haven't played against him, we've been in
different leagues. It's good to see him out here, and playing against
him and [Corey] Seager and all these guys.”
should be noted that Gallo isn't particularly picky how and when he
hits his home runs. He hit them at a record-breaking pace at national
high school powerhouse Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, Nev., and has already added 93 more to his resume just two years removed from his high
school playing days.
20-years old Gallo is now at the Double-A level in the Texas Rangers
organization after the club selected him in the supplemental first
round of the 2012 draft. He hit 22 home runs during his professional
debut that summer and set a record in the Arizona Rookie League. He
added 40 more during his first full season in 2013 and has 31 already
so far this year.
it doesn't seem as though life in professional baseball has provided
much of a challenge for Gallo, he's quick to point out the
adjustments that were needed to be made.
toughest adjustment is just playing everyday,” Gallo said of life
as a professional baseball player. “It's tough with 140 games in
for) the hitting aspect, I try not to get too frustrated anymore. I
think last year I had to make a lot of adjustments, and I'd get
frustrated and change something automatically if I didn't have
success with it, and I never really stuck with anything. This year
I'm trusting what I did in the offseason and it's working so far.”
has also enjoyed a successful professional career so far after it got off to a rocky start.
entering the spring of 2012 as one of, if not the, top-rated prospect
of any draft-eligible player, Giolito was sidelined for much of the
spring during his senior year at Harvard-Westlake High School. He had strained a ligament in his elbow that at the time was deemed to
require rest, not surgery, to right itself.
he wasn't one of the very first players selected in the 2012 draft,
the Washington Nationals believed in his talents and took him with
the 16th overall pick. After one appearance in the minors
it was ultimately decided that Giolito would require Tommy John
surgery to repair that strained elbow ligament, but fortunately it
hasn't set back his progression to this point in his young career.
the surgery [stands out],” Giolito said of what has transpired
since he started the 2011 PG All-American Classic for the West
squad. “That long road I had to go through, going through the
injury, getting drafted, having high hopes, getting the surgery, and
then building it back up through physical therapy and the whole
I'm kind of thankful for it, I learned a lot about myself and I
learned what it is really to work hard and to dedicate yourself to
Gallo, Giolito has had to recognize the adjustments needs to stay
healthy and succeed at the professional level.
I make sure that I take care of my arm, a lot better than I used to,” he said. “I do my bands, I stretch, I make sure I do all
of my exercises, after I pitch [and] before I pitch. Overall I just
have a discipline for what you're doing, have a plan and have a
general schedule as to how you go about things.”
is something that has come naturally for both players for quite some
time. Bishop Gorman, as noted, is a perennial national high school
powerhouse, and finished the 2012 season -- Gallo's last in high
school -- ranked No. 2 on Perfect Game's final ranking of the top 50 teams. Harvard-Westlake, led by yet another 2011 PG All-American
in Giolito's absence, lefthander Max Fried, finished close behind at
was huge,” Gallo said of his time spent at Bishop Gorman. “We
kind of got used to winning and have a winning attitude. Even in
rookie ball we wanted to win; in Low A you want to win and Double-A you
want to win.
had that feeling ever since high school because we were pressured to
win, we had to win, we were the team [to beat]. I think it helped me
out a lot going to a school like that; playing good competition. It
kind of got me ready for professional baseball.”
Giolito is being brought along more patiently, he too has seen his
talents translate well to professional baseball. Currently playing in
the South Atlantic League (Low A), Giolito has gone 6-3 with a 2.33
ERA in 26 professional appearances, all starts. In just over 104
innings of work he has allowed only 77 hits and 38 walks while
striking out 112.
like Gallo, the best has yet to come.
step for me is go out here and hopefully have a good inning and just
keep grinding out throughout the rest of the season,” Giolito said
with a smile prior to game time.
comment seemed to serve as foreshadowing on his performance, and although he
pitched well, mixing in his usual mid-90s heat with his sharp low-80s
breaking ball, he did hang one such pitch that another top prospect
and former PG All-American, Javier Baez, didn't miss.
drilled that curveball to the opposite field well over the fence
for a two-run home run, which put the World team on top at the time
pressure so many times at a young age makes it easier to adjust when
the spotlight continues to be thrust upon you. And Gallo came up
big-time for his teammate and close friend. In
the bottom of the sixth, with yet another former PG All-American,
J.P. Crawford, on first base, Gallo crushed a 95 mph fastball out of
the hand of World righthander Michael Feliz on a 2-0 count.
noted above, yet another big home run in a big-league ballpark meant
more MVP hardware for Gallo. It won't be long until he'll be doing
the same at a ballpark near you.