Yankees finally starting to phase out struggling slugger

joey gallo, yankees

The New York Yankees might be the best team in baseball, but they have significant struggles of their own. With the number of injuries mounting after a tumultuous last week, the Bombers have had to supplement some big losses with depth pieces.

General manager Brian Cashman has already made several signings to help fill the roster, including the acquisition of Matt Carpenter, formally an All-Star with the St. Louis Cardinals. Carpenter has performed well, making good contact and getting on base over the first three games of his tenure wearing pinstripes.

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The Yankees need more from Joey Gallo, but it might be too little, too late:

However, the Yankees are still waiting for slugger Joey Gallo to pick up his production. He’s currently hitting .172 with a 27.8% on base rate. His slugging percentage is worse than José Treviño’s at .310, indicating he’s not even hitting home runs, his specialty.

Manager Aaron Boone plugged Gallo into the nine-hole on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays, where he contributed a hit and strikeout. Gallo and Aaron Hicks will likely begin taking turns in the nine spot given their struggles this year.

“The nine hole is a place I value,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I think there’s a pretty good fit there, especially as you turn over the lineup, when he’s going well [with] his ability to get on base. And just trying to space out our lineup a little bit, our lefties a little bit better.”

Boone might not admit it, but moving some of his most potent hitters to the nine-spot reduces usage and takes them out of high leverage situations.

“Joey’s going to strike out at times,” Boone said. “Hopefully after having missed a couple days with the illness, where he was gaining some traction, he’ll get back in that. He had a big hit [Friday] in his first at-bat to kind of get us going a little bit. I think maybe it’s a spot he can potentially thrive in for us.”

When the bases are empty, Gallo is hitting .206, but with runners at first base, he hosts a .148 BA. With two runners in scoring position, he’s hitting a measly .154. Considering Gallo only has five homers this season over 39 games, his inability to curate hits with runners in scoring position is a liability.
Gallo has a few positives this year, including a 98th percentile barrel percentage and 91st percentile max exit velocity. However, his average exit velocity ranks in the 40th percentile and land in the 2nd percentile in strikeout rate.
They were rumors several weeks ago that the Yankees could explore trading Gallo as the deadline approaches, but they first have to find a potential suitor that still sees value in him after a tough start of the 2022 season.