June 25, 2021

Joey Gallo Swung Less, Except When it Was Good to Swing More (FanGraphs)


Joey Gallo cracked the code in 2019. He recorded his highest major league wRC+ (by far), his highest WAR total (in only half a season!), his highest walk rate, and his highest isolated power. Before fracturing his wrist in July, he looked like a second-tier MVP candidate. It was a clear step forward for a player who was already an above-average major leaguer.

It wasn’t all cotton candy and lollipops. His strikeout rate ticked up, from a yikes-gross-cover-your-eyes 35.9% to a seek-shelter-this-is-not-a-drill 38.4%. Gallo struck out nearly as many times, in under 300 plate appearances, as Michael Brantley has in nearly 1200 PA over the last two years. But despite the eye-popping strikeout rate, the overall package made Gallo one of the most fearsome hitters in baseball.

What did Gallo change to turbo-boost his game? He started swinging less. That’s not all he did, but it’s a lot of it. And for someone like Gallo, that makes a ton of sense. He has what Eric and Kiley call a grooved swing — his swing rides a consistent path, which makes it hard to adjust to pitches away from his preferred target area, and given how much damage he does when he connects, pitchers are…

Read “Joey Gallo Swung Less, Except When it Was Good to Swing More” at FanGraphs