After the 2021 opening series against the Kansas City Royals, the Texas Rangers currently sit with a 1-2 record. Much of the first two implosions can be placed on the Rangers pitching staff, but one thing is for certain — the Texas lineup is potent.
One of — if not THE — highlight of the weekend was Joey Gallo. The slugger and Gold Glover is easily the face of the franchise and is also taking on a larger role in the clubhouse as a leader. And while he hasn't put together a full season of consistent results, this past weekend saw him continuing the success he had in Spring Training and looking like his 2019 self prior to injuries. His five hits in ten at-bats was one of the best offensive performances on the team.
However, Gallo is notably swinging a new bat that was custom designed for him this past winter. It is lighter, more balanced, and has a very sizable knob on the bottom. The effect it has had on his game seems to positive, at least according to early indications. Could the new bat be the cause of his improvements and new found consistency?
"I went to the facility they said, 'This type of bat, this type of knob, you swung better than the other one,'" said Gallo regarding his new bat. "I just went with it, I have nothing to lose and tried it. That's pretty much it. There's more weight on the bottom as opposed to more weight on the top."
Putting all of the onus on the bat is a bit unfair to Gallo. The 27-year-old is known to be one of the hardest workers when it comes to preparation and refining his game. He has implemented a different approach at the plate over the course of the last two seasons. More recently, he's made a concerted effort to lower his launch angle by staying on top of the ball, and it seems to be coming to fruition thus far in 2021.
He was not going to let the shortened 2020 season in which he hit for a .181 batting average and .679 OPS define him as a player.
"It's pretty cool to see it kind of paying off," Gallo said. "Even that line drive [on Sunday] that I hit, I haven't hit a ball like that in a while. I know last year I don't think I did. That's what it is, just trying to get on top of the ball and understanding high fly balls are outs. I have to hit the ball on a line. If I hit it on the barrel on a line drive, it's gonna happen like it did [with Saturday's home run]."
Gallo's success in the first series against the Royals could be a springboard for more consistent results. If those results and the expectation that he can be a MVP-caliber player can materialize, then the franchise — and likely trade suitors — will be very excited for what could come next.
Until then, Gallo will focus on his approach at the plate and his new bat should be considered only a helpful tool in accomplishing those goals.
Editor's Note: Chris Halicke contributed to this story.
Follow Kade Kistner on Twitter @KadeKistner.
Chris Halicke covers the Texas Rangers for InsideTheRangers.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisHalicke.
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