Joey Gallo is finally joining baseball's new wave of young home-run titans
After the last few years of reformatting, rebuilding and desperately trying to re-energize the Home Run Derby, the Baseball Gods have decided to step in and provide Major League Baseball with something not even it can screw up: a slew of sluggers who keep trying to one-up each other.
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In a blend of the game’s most well-known names — Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, Giancarlo Stanton, and Khris Davis — and it’s newest stars — Eric Thames, Aaron Judge, George Springer, and Joey Gallo, baseball has both the present and the future at its disposal. The hottest hitters and the biggest names working to awe a worldwide audience.
It’s the dream lineup for MLB. It’d be a coup for its fans.
You can catch Gallo in action Monday as the Texas Rangers (9-10) host Phil Hughes and the Minnesota Twins (8-10) on Yahoo’s Free Game of the Day. The stream will be available on our MLB page, the Free Game of the Day tab or right here in this post. First pitch is slated for 8:05 p.m. ET. Local blackouts apply per MLB’s rules.
It might seem like some of these sluggers are having their own personal home-run derbys lately. Take Gallo, who homered four times in the past five games for the Rangers. We’ve long known about Gallo’s power, but he’s lacked both the consistency at the plate and the playing time to truly make his mark. This year, with Adrian Beltre yet to play because of injury, Gallo has made the most of his opportunity. It figures that could continue against Hughes on Monday night, against whom Gallo is batting .333 lifetime with one homer.
Gallo blasted his sixth homer of the season Sunday. That followed Friday night when he hit two, one of which traveled a whopping 462 feet and nearly took out a few fans on the concourse. It’s the longest homer of the season so far, but the way they’re being hit in 2017, you shouldn’t expect that to stand for too long.
That baseball had a family, @JoeyGallo24. https://t.co/wCNqyJOrdd #OpeningWeek pic.twitter.com/jnZBOc9YDj
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 5, 2017
While the Rangers’ third baseman is winning the distance contest, New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge has been hitting the ball out faster than anyone. Judge — who also has six homers, including three in the past week — does it with sheer force, dropping bombs with some of the highest exit velocities of the season.
Through Sunday, Judge had already topped 115 mph six times this season, with another missing that threshold by just 0.4 mph. This is what we’ve come to expect from Judge who is, simply put, the human embodiment of what happens when you max out all the attributes on your MyPlayer in video games.
So imagine him and Gallo going head-to-head. A Home Run Derby between them could show us just how many jaw-dropping ways there are to destroy a baseball. That goes the same for any of these young sluggers launching dingers these days.
Just south of Dallas on I-45, where the Rangers’ in-state rival resides, Springer is opening up games with homers at an alarming rate for the Astros. Six of his seven homers this year were leadoff shots. What will it be like when he’s tossed cookie after cookie?
Spring(er) has sprung. https://t.co/1QCfkOXn28 #OpeningDay pic.twitter.com/3cM94CwPzj
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 4, 2017
Could that be enough to take down Eric Thames? The MLB leader has eight home runs already and playing home games in a dome should make it easier to keep that pace up and further perfect his stroke. As long as he doesn’t suddenly forget how to swing a bat, he should be a lock for the Derby.
A couple of MVPs in Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant could put on their own little sideshow in this lineup, too. Harper’s seven homers through Sunday are only adding to the absurd amount of money he’ll cash in on soon enough. How much more would a Home Run Derby victory earn him?
.@Bharper3407 takes a bite out of the Big Apple. https://t.co/QxK8UAZK4Z #Crushed pic.twitter.com/E4kgsOIkOv
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 21, 2017
Imagine that alongside Bryant’s scoreboard-hitting prowess.
Kris Bryant with a monster shot for his first home run of the season! pic.twitter.com/kGsMjvAQ3H
— MLB ⚾️ (@MLBNews365_) April 15, 2017
And that’s all to say nothing of Stanton, the reigning champ, defending his title in front of his fans at home. The fact that this is only a subplot speaks to the entertainment value in the works.
Over the next 77 days, as Miami closes in on hosting All-Star Week at Marlins Park, fans and executives alike around baseball should sit back and marvel at what’s unfolding in front of them.
Despite all its attempts to make the Home Run Derby a must-see event, baseball finally has what it needs to do so: players worth watching.
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Blake Schuster is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Schustee