Do the Yankees have a Joey Gallo problem? Aaron Boone comes to his defense

joey gallo, yankees

The Yankees need more out of their 5th batter in the lineup, it’s simple as that. One hit in three games is good enough to get replaced, especially coming off a terrible 2nd half of the 2021 season. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the player in question is Joey Gallo, who has been atrocious to open the year offensively.

Yes, Gallo has three walks and has made some decent contact, but getting thrown out trying to extend a single and striking out on over 30% of his at-bats is unacceptable. The Yankees know Gallo is a strikeout-heavy hitter, but with a short right porch in Yankee Stadium, there’s a belief he could smash 40+ homers. However, those random blasts don’t make up for his straight-up negligence as a contact hitter.

Field manager Aaron Boone came to Gallo’s defense, providing an extremely optimistic view of his production thus far.

“I would suggest he’s off to, at-bat-wise, a good start,” Boone said, despite Gallo finishing Sunday’s loss with a strikeout. “Controlling the zone, getting on base, he smoked a couple balls. Tonight I thought had some really good at-bats where he just missed the ball.”

Boone mentioned that Gallo was getting bat to ball on some pitches he missed altogether last year, but that doesn’t indicate he’s going to begin slapping oppo-field homers anytime soon.

“He’s getting to pitches that he wasn’t last year,” Boone said. “Hit a ball the other way, hard to left. Smoked a ball to right. Another walk. Look at what he’s doing. And I think we’re seeing a lot of good at-bats and a guy that, for me, has a lot more [plate] coverage right now.”

Gallo hit .160 last season, which is terrible. So far this season, he’s sitting at .100, a number almost believed to be unfathomable. Will he turn it around? Probably, but will he end up hitting above .200? That’s a legit concern.

The question is, how much are the Yankees willing to sacrifice for 30+ homers? Defensively, Gallo is a sure thing, which is valuable, but having an automatic out most of the time right behind your clean-up hitter is tough.