Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers have made a lot of trade deadline deals over the years that made waves throughout the league and the fanbase. You had Rich Hill and Josh Reddick in 2016, Yu Darvish in 2017, Manny Machado and Brian Dozier in 2018, and Max Scherzer and Trea Turner last year.
When the Dodgers acquired Joey Gallo from the Yankees at the trade deadline earlier this month … well, let’s just say it didn’t generate quite the excitement those other trades did.
But three weeks into the experiment, Gallo is putting in big work and paying big dividends for the Dodgers. After going 2-for-3 with a triple, a single, and a walk on Sunday — not to mention two sparkling defensive plays — Gallo is batting .267 with a 1.038 OPS since joining the Dodgers. His strikeout rate remains high and his walk rate is actually down a bit, but the most notable changes are a drastic increase in hard-hit percentage and a sizable decrease in pull percentage.
Whatever Gallo is working on with the Dodgers’ team of hitting coaches, it is paying off. And, as noted by J.P. Hoornstra in the Orange County Register, Dave Roberts has noticed.
“There’s continued growth and comfort in what he’s doing in the batter’s box. He and the hitting coaches have been relentless trying to do this in real time during the season, trying to tighten up the swing mechanics. He’s bought in. Every day it seems like he’s getting more and more consistent. He’s taking better at-bats. He’s taking better swings.
“I certainly believes it validates and gives him more confidence.”
Gallo’s work and results aren’t lost on his teammates, either. Dodgers rookie starter Ryan Pepiot was the beneficiary of Gallo’s great day on Sunday to earn his second career win, especially an outstanding thrown from Gallo to catcher Will Smith to nail Joey Wendle at the plate and end a first-inning Marlins threat.
“It was huge,” Dodgers starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot said of the outfield assist, Gallo’s first as a Dodger and his third this season. “Definitely a momentum-swinger, and kudos to Joey. He made a great play, then a diving catch later, and a big triple as well. Great game from him.”
There’s still work to be done for Gallo, and Roberts’ comments make it clear that he’s a work in progress, but the results have already been enough for Dodger fans to buy in on Gallo. As he continues to put in the work and the Dodgers continue to deploy him wisely, it’s not hard at all to see Gallo having a big moment or two for the Dodgers in October.
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