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June 10, 2014

Going Yard

Joey Gallo

by Ryan Parker


Everyone wants to talk about Joey Gallo’s power, and why not? Dude has power like Kanye West has ego. He hit 40 home runs last year, and his prodigious power has my early-season proclamation of “don’t expect [him] to be a fast mover” looking silly. His power is a legitimate 80, but that’s not what I want to focus on. The reason Joey Gallo’s stock is exploding this year is his ability to make productive changes to his swing.

As a hitting coach, I realize Gallo might not be making these changes on his own, and that is almost more admirable. Gallo’s power is so extreme he could have made very few changes to his swing and still reached the big leagues at 25 and hit 25-plus home runs. His ability to constantly improve his swing (or listen to good coaching) has him on track to reach the big leagues at 21 or 22 and hit 35-plus. This fact even speaks to his makeup, as it suggests he is not willing to coast on his skills and instead seeks continual improvement.

His current swing is built to send baseballs screaming over fences at an alarming rate. It wasn’t always this locked in. Thanks to YouTube there is footage of Gallo from his sophomore year in high school to his current trek through the minor leagues.

We start with a young and skinny Gallo doing things to baseballs that mere mortals can’t comprehend. Notice how even the camera’s focus is affected by the power resulting from his swing. I love watching early swings of guys because you can see traces of their mechanical identity. I observed three separate qualities to his innate swing:

First we have a synchronization of his hands and feet. This is not unique to Joey, not by a mile, but I choose to highlight it for a teachable moment. Hitting is timing, and losing timing within your own swing is terrible. By getting the hands and feet in lockstep, you avoid a potential timing hurdle. Why have two movements to time (move the feet, then hands) when you can have one (move the hands and the feet together)? Joey avoids this hurdle in his own identity and follows the trails of the maestros of hitting. These three hitters (Longo, Miggy, Joey Bats) show how to synchronize the feet and hands even with very different striding patterns.

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Related Content:  Texas Rangers,  Prospects,  Scouting

7 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Silverback38

Ryan,
Great analysis. I appreciate your good work.

Jun 10, 2014 04:36 AM
rating: 0
 
msurell

Excellent piece...much appreciated.

Jun 10, 2014 07:41 AM
rating: 0
 
rwp9843

Well done! To my eye, his latest swing does indeed look much more like a major league swing. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the videos are worth thousands of them.

As an aside, I've always wondered what led to the trend of hitters starting with their hands so much higher than those of previous generations. Any idea? I assume it is related to the desire to create backspin rather than topspin, or perhaps ground balls rather than fly balls, but admit that I don't know for certain. Given that the majority of major league hitters, who are elite hitters compared to all other baseball players on the planet, get their hands in a very similar position during the loading process and immediately before initiating the movement of the bat toward the ball, the high hands seems unnecessary to me, and possibly counterproductive. As someone who watches considerably more baseball than he should, it seems to me that more recently, there have been quite a few players using a lower starting point for their hands. Perhaps the old is becoming new again.

Jun 10, 2014 10:14 AM
rating: 0
 
rrvwmr

Great piece. Couple questions: What size bat does he use? What is his bat speed? Is there something in his swing that allows him to generate more backspin than average?

Jun 10, 2014 10:40 AM
rating: 0
 
JasonPennini

Can I put in a Kris Bryant request for one of these write-ups?

Jun 11, 2014 11:06 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ryan Parker
BP staff

Yes! Bryant is super interesting to me. I honestly thought the swing wasn't that great and he benefitted from tons of strength. Now the strength is there in spades but I've been enlightened on his swing. I love it for the most part. These articles take time but I think Bryant would be an awesome case study.

Jun 11, 2014 13:23 PM
 
jlarsen

During the last offseason it's been noted that Jason Giambi was working on Gallo's swing mechanics with him. Not really sure if you can tell from his swing what exactly Jason had him work on or if Gallo was just a workout partner with the aging slugger.

Jun 12, 2014 05:08 AM
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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (06/10)
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Premium Article Going Yard: The Swing ... (05/20)
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Premium Article Going Yard: Super Hits... (07/08)
Next Article >>
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (06/10)

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