When Joey Gallo was acquired in July of last year, he was supposed to bring even more power to the Yankees lineup. Over a hundred games later, it’s fair to wonder if he’s no longer even the best player in a trade that he had headlined.
On Tuesday night, Joey Gallo went 0-2 to bring his season batting average down to .186. During his time with the Yankees, he’s hit .172 with 21 home runs, 37 RBI, 53 runs scored, and one stolen base in 109 games. He’s also struck out 156 times.
It’s possible that the Yankees are experiencing buyer’s remorse.
What’s driving that regret more is the success of the prospects that they dealt away.
In order to get Gallo, the Yankees parted with shortstop Josh Smith (who was their 14th-ranked prospect at the time), second baseman Ezequiel Duran (15th-ranked prospect), infielder Trevor Hauver (23rd-ranked prospect), and starting pitcher Glenn Otto (28th-ranked prospect).
Three of those four prospects have already debuted with the Texas Rangers’ major league club.
Otto was the first former Yankees prospect to have success in Texas. After the Yankees revamped his pitch mix and where he stood on the rubber, Otto had a breakout season in Double-A for the Somerset Patriots, pitching to a 3.17 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while registering an impressive 40.7% strikeout rate.
While he struggled in his first taste of the majors last year, he has settled down a bit this year, pitching to a 4.24 ERA; although, the strikeout rate has not carried over with just a 19% mark.
Still, Otto has shown signs of life, pitching to a 3-1 record and 2.45 ERA in his last four starts which came against the Astros, Rays, Angels, and Mariners. While his command has still been an issue, with 13 walks in those 22 innings, he’s shown enough flashes to suggest he can stick in the rotation for years to come.
However, the bigger piece that has begun to frustrate Yankees fans is the emergence of Ezequiel Duran as a key starter in Texas. After hitting .317 with seven home runs, 31 RBI, 34 runs, and seven stolen bases in 45 games at Triple-A, Duran was called up to the Majors.
All he’s done since arriving is hit .325 with two home runs, five RBI, eight runs, and two stolen bases in ten games.
What’s more, is that his at-bats have shown advanced hitting acumen. He makes adjustments after each at-bat, getting fooled by a pitch his first time up and then lacing it for a base hit his next. When you combine that with his power-speed potential, you can see big upside with the youngster.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 12, 2022
Aside from Otto and Duran, Josh Smith was the other former Yankees prospect to make his big league debut. He’s hit .273 in 40 games at Triple-A this year despite having played only 30 games above High-A before this season. He also added four home runs, 29 RBI, 30 runs, and eight stolen bases, which prompted a call-up.
He proceeded to hit .417 in five games with the Rangers before landing on the IL with a shoulder strain. As he makes his way back from injury, the Texas Rangers are wondering how they can fit both Smith and Duran into the lineup.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are wondering how they can hide Joey Gallo in theirs.
Despite hitting .212 so far in the month of June, Gallo is still striking out 39.5% of the time. It’s only 314 feet from home plate to the right-field wall in Yankee Stadium, but Gallo can’t seem to make enough contact to take advantage of that.
As a result, he’s been moved to ninth in the Yankees batting order, even hitting below guys like Miguel Andujar, Jose Trevino, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Matt Carpenter.
With the Yankees having their sights set on a World Series this year, you have to wonder if keeping Joey Gallo in the lineup gives them their best chance at achieving that level of success.