MINNEAPOLIS —Texas Rangers prospect Joey Gallo put on such a powerful show Sunday during the Futures Game at Target Field that U.S. Team manager Tom Kelly said the American League should just add him to the major league home run derby tomorrow night.
"He's a strong young man," said Kelly, who also managed the Minnesota Twins to two World Series titles. "He gets a good spin on the ball in batting practice and they just keep going."
Gallo and Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant lead the minors with 31 home runs apiece.
The two-run home run Gallo hit in the sixth inning propelled his country to a 3-2 victory against the World Team. The distance was calculated at 419 feet, but it landed in the second deck in right center, a place Kelly says many balls have not reached at Target. Kelly asked a bat boy, who said he had seen "maybe five" land there — in batting practice and games — since the ballpark opened in 2010.
Earlier during batting practice, Gallo hit a home run that wasn't quite as long but smashed the windshield of a red Chevy pickup truck on display.
"I thought that meant I'd win it," Gallo said with a laugh. "I felt bad. They told me I hit it and I was, like, 'Oh, man.' "
Gallo remembered breaking a windshield during the 2013 season playing against Asheville (N.C.) in Class A.
"That was actually somebody's car, so I really feel bad about that one," Gallo said. "That one out there [today] was, like, for show."
Darn right it was a show.
"That's not typical," Gallo said of his batting practice performance. "At an event like this, you want to go out there and swing. But I usually don't do that during regular B.P. But it was kind of fun to feed off that. I'd hit one out and people would go, 'Oh!' "
Gallo, who turned 20 in November, recently was promoted to Class AA Frisco by the Rangers. He's their No. 2 prospect, and he's hit 93 career home runs already in 907 minor-league at-bats. His big left-handed swing also produces a lot of strikeouts, and scouts have worried about that, but Gallo is working on it.
He was the 39th overall pick in 2012 out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. Gallo played on the same traveling teams as Bryce Harper until high school.
Gallo had struck out twice before connecting against Michael Feliz, a Houston Astros prospect, to give the U.S. a lead.
"That made it a nice day," Gallo said.
Javier Baez, a top Chicago Cubs prospect, tagged Lucas Giolito of the Washington Nationals with a two-run homer a half-inning before Gallo went deep. Overall, U.S. pitching combined to strike out 10 World batters.
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