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Finding a Way to Win


Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

It was a nose-to-the-grindstone victory for the ‘Riders last night, who rallied from a pair of setbacks and held-on to win in a tense ninth inning. Click here to read the game recap.

Frisco overcame a 1-0 deficit after Cory Spangenberg went deep in the first at-bat of the ballgame. The ‘Riders fell behind again in the sixth when the Missions plated three runs, including one on an error.

In spite of outhitting the Missions 13-5, Frisco left men in scoring position in each of the final four frames. After loading the bases with nobody out in the seventh, Luis De La Cruz came out of the pen and struck out the heart of the order in succession to keep the ‘Riders off the board.

The turing point came in the eighth when shortstop Diego Goris booted a ball from Nick Williams and two runs scored. Credit Jake Skole with starting the rally earlier in the frame on an RBI single to put runners on first and third with one out. Skole later hustled around from second to score on the Goris error and put the ‘Riders in front.

Keone Kela took the ‘Riders through a gamut of emotions in the ninth. He struck out the first batter of the frame, only to walk the bases loaded. With family in the stands, Kela rediscovered the zone and struck out Goris and induced a mile-high pop up from Cody Overbeck to end the ball game.

Star of the Game: 2B Odubel Herrera – 3/4, R, BB

Back-to-back three-hit nights for the Texas League batting leader. Odubel raised his average to .343 with the ‘Riders through 84 games. He has collected 110 hits and scored 42 runs in that span.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders clinched the season series with San Antonio in earning their 17th win of the year against the Missions.

-In addition to Herrera, Jorge Alfaro, Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Hanser Alberto each turned in multi-hit games.

-Jerad Eickhoff struck out five batters on Tuesday to move his season total to 133, the most in the Texas League.

-Trever Adams hit his first outside-the-park home run since July 21. He scored an inside-the-parker on July 30 against Midland.

-Gallo watch: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 SO

Joey’s two-bagger was well-hit to the warning track in left-center, but flat-out dropped on the run by Hunter Renfroe.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (19)

2. Trever Adams (13)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

8. Nomar Mazara (2)

11. Patrick Cantwell (1)

11. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

Jorge Alfaro hops on the Pregame Show to talk about his first Double-A home run and working with Pudge Rodriguez:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Meeting Mazara

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Nomar Shamir Mazara Jiminian joined the Texas Rangers organization with plenty of high expectations. Three years ago on July 2, the Rangers signed the then 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic for a record-setting $4.95 million—the largest bonus for an international prospect in Major League Baseball. The front office views Mazara as a cornerstone talent for the future and a valuable left-handed power hitter who just needs time to mature.

How has Mazara handled this pressure during his first three seasons of professional baseball?

“I am just the same guy every day no matter what. I don’t worry about anything else. Whatever I have to give, I bring it all to the clubhouse and the field for my team.”

Mazara, who was called up to Double-A on August 4, admitted there were early bumps along the road. In his first full minor league season, Mazara played 126 games with the Single-A Hickory Crawdads and batted .236 with 62 RBI and 13 home runs.

The Dominican didn’t allow the mental aspect of his game to become a detriment; instead, he learned from the 2013 season and adjusted his approach at the plate.

“Last season was my first full year, and I did struggle to start,” Mazara said. “I knew I was better than that. So I used that to prepare my mind, telling myself I had to get out of it. I put a lot of work in, tried to be more patient and started looking more for the pitch that I wanted.”

That attitude did not go unnoticed by the Rangers. When Mazara took the leap over Advanced-A and went directly from the ‘Dads to the RoughRiders, general manager Jon Daniels said the surprising promotion was in large part due to Mazara doing what his club asked him to do all year.

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“I guess it’s because I always give it my all,” Mazara said. “I don’t care if I go 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, I’m always going to be the same guy for my team.”

Since his arrival to the United States from Santo Domingo, Mazara’s quick hands at the plate have caught the eyes of scouts. Once he starts his swinging motion, it doesn’t take long for him to get from point A to point B.

“When I was working out before I signed, I worked a lot with my agent with heavy bats,” Mazara said. “It built up my strength and made me work for every swing. I think that’s why I have such quick hands and have that speed.”

Major league teams covet left-handed power hitters, and the Rangers believe Mazara has the tools to become a strong southpaw with increased muscle on his 200-pound frame. However, he doesn’t want his batting prowess to be his only valued strength and expects to hone more of his tools.

“My defense, my power, my speed,” Mazara said. “I want to be known for all of those. It’s always good to develop these things and be able to do many things on the field. It’s going to make me a better player. I’m going to keep developing that, continue getting in the weight room, doing my agility drills and putting work in.”

Standing 6-foot-4, Mazara is taller than all his fielding teammates not named Joey Gallo. He uses this height and reach to his advantage when chasing down fly balls in right field. Back in his hometown, though, Mazara’s stature helped in more ways than one.

“When I was little, I actually started playing basketball first,” Mazara said. “I started playing when I was four and picked up baseball when I was five. I ended up playing both at the same time during my childhood. Then when I was about 13 or 14, my father told me to quit playing basketball and start focusing on baseball. It was the right move for me because I like to play baseball much more.”

It’s becoming more and more apparent that Mazara’s father (whose first name is Ramon—Nomar’s name backwards) made a smart decision for his son. Mazara is currently the youngest player in Double-A and will inevitably play a vital role in the Rangers’ future. Yet, Mazara isn’t concerned about the future. He is focusing on the present and ready to help the ‘Riders in September.

“I want to finish hard,” Mazara said. “There’s not too much left of the season, but I want to give my best and help my team. We have a chance to win the championship, and I want to be a part of that.”

-Jay Wallis

Master Drillers


Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

The ‘Riders would gladly play more cames at ONEOK Field if the schedule allowed. On Sunday, Frisco completed a three-game sweep of the Drillers and will finish the regular season 5-0 in the Oil City. The RoughRiders mastered Tulsa from the start and won 9-of-11 (with one game cancelled) in 2014. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Alec Asher – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Alec book-ended the six-game road trip with a pair of victories on the hill. After falling to 8-11, the Big Cat has raised his season record to 10-11 and has allowed just one unearned run in his last 12 innings. Alec did not walk a batter over the course of his six innings on Sunday and never allowed multiple baserunners in a single inning.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders finish their slate of games against the North Division with a 29-18 record.

-Odubel Herrera batted leadoff and turned in a three-hit night (all singles) with two runs and two stolen bases. Odubel now has 11 swiped bags as a RoughRider this season.

-Jorge Alfaro picked up three hits as well including a double and a run scored in the ninth inning.

-Teodoro Martinez extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games with an RBI double in the sixth.

-Trever Adams scored two runs and now has 63 on the season, third-most in the Texas League.

-Nick Williams has a double and triple through his first two games in the Texas League.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB, 2 SO

Joey got a hold of a ninth-inning offering from lefty Kraig Sitton and bopped his second home run of the series. The blast was Joey’s 40th of the season and 19th as a RoughRider. On a historical note, Joey becomes the first minor league player since Ron Kittle in 1981-1982 to hit 40 homers in consecutive seasons. He is once again tied with Kris Bryant for the most home runs in the minors and trails Corpus Christi’s Telvin Nash by one for the Texas League lead.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (19)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

8. Nomar Mazara (2)

11. Patrick Cantwell (1)

11. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

Jason Wood shares his thoughts on the changed dynamic of the team with an influx of young prospects over the course of the season:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Déjà Vu


Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

It was déjà vu all over again for the ‘Riders and no one complained as Frisco came out on the right side of an 8-2 final score for the second night in a row. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez – 7.0 IP, 6 H, R, 2 BB, 8 K

Pitching in front of friends and family in Tulsa, Chi Chi turned in his sixth straight winning decision to move his Double-A record to 7-3 (12-5 on the season) with a 2.02 ERA (2.32 overall). The ‘Riders took the reins off the right-hander for the first time and he turned in his longest outing with Frisco both in terms of innings and pitch count (106 pitches and 74 strikes). Chi Chi played collegiately at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, hence the high concentration of supporters. The native of Delray Beach, Florida was especially keen with runners on the bases and stranded runners in scoring position in four of his seven innings. He has become the Luke Jackson of the second half for the RoughRiders.

In case you missed it:

-Nomar Mazara deserves an honorable mention for his performance at the plate on Saturday. He finished the night 2-for-4 with two runs, a double, a home run and four RBI.

As if the pure numbers aren’t enough to validate his case, the timeliness of his extra-base knocks enhanced the impact of his line. His second Double-A homer in the second got the ‘Riders on the board and into the lead, not to mention it came off Eddie Butler, a pitcher with big league experience this season. In the ninth, with the RoughRiders clinging to a 3-2 lead, Nomar provided his squad with a much-needed cushion on a ringing two-run double to right. The Dominican made the Drillers pay for a costly error earlier in the frame and tipped off a five-run frame for the ‘Riders who made the final score look rather lopsided.

-All five of the RoughRiders’ runs in the ninth were unearned because of an error on shortstop Taylor Featherston. If Featherston makes the play on a Nick Williams grounder, the inning is over with the score still 3-2.

-Speaking of Nick Williams, the newest RoughRider batted 1-for-4 in his Double-A debut with two runs and a double. He reached base three times including a wild-pitch strikeout and the aforementioned error on Featherston in the ninth.

-Teodoro Martinez extended his hitting streak to a season-high ten games with an RBI single in the ninth.

-Trevor Story has been almost the sole source of offense for the Drillers in this series. The Irving High School alumnus pummeled his third home run against the RoughRiders in five games on Saturday.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB, SO

Butler struck Joey out in the first, but the slugger extracted revenge in the fourth on the first pitch of the inning. Butler dropped one right into Joey’s sweet spot (low and inside) and he knocked out to right-center for his 18th home run with the RoughRiders. It’s home run number 39 for Joey this season and he trails Corpus Christi’s Telvin Nash by two in the Texas League home run race.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (18)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

8. Nomar Mazara (2)

11. Patrick Cantwell (1)

11. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

If Teo had his way, the Tulsa Drillers would be on the schedule for more than 12 games. Café has two four-hit games against the Drillers this season and has been scorching hot in the month of August. He also talks about the influence of his father, a former major leaguer, on his development as a ballplayer:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Trampled By Teo & Thompson

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

The RoughRiders let loose some frustration on Tulsa after a difficult series in Springfield, particularly on the offensive side. Four hits from Teodoro Martinez and five strong innings from Jake Thompson helped the ‘Riders trample Tulsa 8-2. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: LF Teodoro Martinez – 4/5, R, 3 RBI, SO

Teo has come to life in August and has posted a .474 batting average in the month. The dog days were tough on Teo, but his season batting average has risen to .289 and he is on a ten-game hitting streak, his longest of the season.

In case you missed it:

-In addition to Teo, four other ‘Riders had multiple hits on Friday night: Guilder Rodriguez (2-for-5, 2B, RBI), Trever Adams (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI, ROE), Nomar Mazara (2-for-5, 2B, RBI) and Hanser Alberto (2-for-4, RBI).

-Every ‘Rider reached base safely at least once in the game.

-The RoughRiders smacked five doubles on the night and three in the third inning.

-After eight games without a double, Trever Adams cracked two against the Drillers to move his season total to 34. He trails Texas League leader Alex Yarbrough by three.

-Patrick Cantwell was hit by a pitch for the 19th time this season, the most in the Texas League.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-4, 2 R, 2B, BB

After a night off on Thursday, Joey looked rejuvenated and smacked his tenth Double-A double.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (17)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

10. Patrick Cantwell (1)

10. Nomar Mazara (1)

10. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

Strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon gives the inside scoop on what it takes to keep a baseball player in peak condition over the course of a long season:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Fly Away

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

The ‘Riders were more than joyful to fly out of town after the 2014 regular season finale against the Springfield Cardinals. No matter that the ‘Riders lost the game 6-2, the series 2-1 or the season series 7-5. Hammons Field became a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” for the RoughRiders, who were again flummoxed by Cardinals’ pitching and committed multiple errors in the field. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: RF Nomar Mazara – 2/4, 2B

The pickings were slim, but Nomar was the only ‘Rider with multiple hits on Thursday. Nomar now has three doubles at the Double-A level in nine games.

In case you missed it:

-Teodoro Martinez extended his hitting streak to nine straight–a season high for Teo–with an RBI single in the ninth inning.

-The ‘Riders narrowly avoided a shutout for the fifth time this season when J.T. Wise, Odubel Herrera and Martinez sparked a two-out rally in the top of the ninth.

-Three Frisco errors led to three unearned runs for the Cardinals.

-Entering the ninth, the RoughRiders had just three hits, but doubled their total with three base knocks in the ninth inning alone.

-Gallo watch: DNP

Joey got a deserved night to clear his mind in anticipation of the upcoming series against Tulsa.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (17)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

10. Patrick Cantwell (1)

10. Nomar Mazara (1)

10. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

Former big leaguer Harry Spilman, now a special assignment instructor for the Rangers farm system, talks about some of the hitters in the organization and his relationship with Nolan Ryan:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Claudio’s Call-up Is No Changeup

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Alex Claudio works home with his trademark changeup.

The writing was on the wall for Alex Claudio to make his Rangers debut, and the former 27th round draft choice did just that on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. In a 10-1 thumping at Globe Life Park, Claudio pitched the eighth inning and allowed no runs on no hits with no walks and one strikeout. The Puerto Rican, and new father, tossed nine pitches and seven for strikes.

Claudio enjoyed a good run with the ‘Riders over the middle part of the season. Despite his preference to pitch out the bullpen (he was excited the arrival of Jake Thompson meant he could work as a reliever), Frisco utilized the lefty primarily as a starter. Claudio did not miss a beat. He posted a 2-2 record and a 2.17 ERA through eight appearances and six starts. Over 37 1/3 innings, Claudio allowed nine earned runs and only two walks alongside 22 strikeouts. When Thompson did arrive, the ‘Riders, albeit briefly, had a lock-down southpaw in the pen that could pitch extended innings if necessary.

Fans may remember Claudio broke camp with the ‘Riders before the season, but he wound up on the wrong side of a numbers game and the organization sent him to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach to begin the season. To his credit, Claudio didn’t sulk and instead dominated to the tune of a 1.09 ERA over nearly 50 innings. ‘Riders fans should be thankful for the month they had with Claudio (June 28-August 3), but personally, I selfishly lamented to Alex how Frisco had been deprived of some time with the changeup specialist.

Interestingly, Claudio’s style of pitching, with a fastball that maxed out in the mid-80s (yes, a fastball), may have suited him better for Triple-A, where pitchers rely less on pure power and more on moving pitches and off speed stuff than in the comparatively fireballing Double-A ranks. But the wiry 6-foot-3, 160-pounder lasted only 5 1/3 innings with Round Rock before the Rangers made Claudio the 121st RoughRider to play in a major league game and 14th this season. Based on his season with three different affiliates, the decision to give the 22-year-old a ticket to the show is certainly no changeup.

In case you missed it, take a listen to our interview with Alex on July 23. Thanks once again to Guilder Rodriguez who served as translator.

 

Thanks for tuning in!

-Chris V.

Failure to Launch

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

Like a hitter in a hot streak at the plate, this pitching staff is grooving right now. A 2-1 loss in 11 innings hardly falls on the shoulders of the pitchers. Instead, the offense stayed under wraps provided virtually no run support for Jerad Eickhoff & co. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Jerad Eickhoff – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K

Jerad did not earn a win on Wednesday, but least he was spared a losing decision. The Texas League leader in strikeouts upped his total to 128 and turned in a seven-inning outing for the fifth time this season.

In case you missed it:

-Curt Smith’s walk-off home run was the first run allowed by Martire Garcia in over 18 innings as a RoughRider this season.

-Springfield reliever Sam Tuivailala gave his best Keone Kela impersonation and topped out at 101 mph on the Hammons Field Radar gun. He loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth and blew a save when a wild pitch allowed the ‘Riders to tie the game. The ‘Riders could have taken the lead for good, but Tuivailala denied them the chance when he struck out the side in order. He finished with six strikeouts in two inning.

-After Tuivailala, Joey Donofrio took the hill and gave the ‘Riders fits for the final three innings. Donofrio sat down all nine batters he faced and added four strikeouts to his line. The RoughRiders struck out 15 times in the ballgame.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-5, 5 SO

Telvin Nash hit a home run on Wednesday for Corpus Christi and now leads Joey by two in the Texas League home run chase. Joey last hit a homer on August 8.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (17)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

10. Patrick Cantwell (1)

10. Nomar Mazara (1)

10. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

New arrival and top ten Rangers prospect Nomar Mazara sits down with Alex and talks about his first Double-A home run and his basketball background in the Dominican Republic:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Active and Passive

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

It took the RoughRiders two pitches to turn a 1-1 tie into a two-run lead in the seventh inning at Hammons Field on Tuesday. Nomar Mazara and Hanser Alberto each went deep on the first pitch of their respective at-bats as the ‘Riders took a pro-active approach to take the lead in the later stages of the game. In the ninth, the ‘Riders patiently kept the bats on their shoulders and drew five walks and a hit-by-pitch in a nine-batter inning to put the game out of reach for Springfield. Three runs on zero hits with three men left on base in the ninth inning for the RoughRiders. It doesn’t get more passive than that. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Alec Asher – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

The staff takes home “Star of the Game” honors once again. The Big Cat snapped a two-start losing streak on the hill as he went six innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Alec is now 9-11 on the season and the nine dubs ties a career mark for the Floridian. As a unit, ‘Riders pitching has not allowed an earned run in 20 innings and has coughed up just one earned run in the last three games.

In case you missed it:

-The homers for Mazara and Alberto were Double-A firsts for both hitters. Mazara’s blast to right field was the first of his career with Frisco and 20th of the season. Alberto went deep to left for his first jack as a RoughRider in 2014 and sixth on the year. The shortstop also hit four long balls with the ‘Riders in 2013.

-Teodoro Martinez extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the second. Teo is one game shy of tying his season-high of eight straight with a base knock.

-Patrick Cantwell was hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season, the most in the Texas League. He also drew a walk in the third and now has 17 base on balls in 2014.

-The ‘Riders snapped a streak of six straight games with an error and did not have a miscue defensively, although Jorge Alfaro did have a passed ball that scored Springfield’s only run of the ballgame.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-5, 2 SO

After a day off on Sunday, Joey reached base on a fielder’s choice in the second, but the offense did not need his power on Tuesday. Hammons Field in Springfield is known as a hitter-friendly park, so it will be interesting to see if the slugger can knock any out of the yard in the Show Me State.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (17)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

10. Patrick Cantwell (1)

10. Nomar Mazara (1)

10. Hanser Alberto (1)

 

In case you missed it (again), be sure to catch out interview with the Rangers Derek Holland, who enjoyed a brief, yet very successful run with the RoughRiders at the end of the 2008 season:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

The Ongoing Story of Joey Gallo

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Joey Gallo.

The name alone sends chills down pitchers’ backs and gives Rangers’ fans hope for the future. Still shy of his 21st birthday this November, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound phenomenon has burst onto the Frisco stage with an assortment of dynamic home runs in every direction. He seems to have all the tools necessary to eventually make his way to the big stage and big lights in Arlington.

Some MLB teams, though, did not initially buy into the hard-hitting high schooler when he entered the 2012 MLB draft. Gallo showcased plenty of raw power at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, but there was concern his game was one-dimensional and that his height would prohibit him from playing an infield position. The Rangers weighed the risks and decided to take a chance on him with the 39th pick in the supplemental first round.

Now in his third season, Gallo has quickly gone from a well-known prospect in the Rangers organization to a name recognizable across professional baseball.

As a teenager in 2013, Gallo blasted 40 homers that season and earned the Joe Bauman Award as the top home run hitter in the minor leagues. In the process, he became the first teenager in more than 50 years to hit 40 home runs in a minor league season. The buzz around Gallo only grew at the start of this season with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach.

In just over two months with the Pelicans, Gallo was a three-time Player of the Week in the Carolina League and belted three home runs in a game twice. The Carolina League named Gallo to its Mid-Season All-Star team, giving him yet another accolade to add to his collection. With the hype around Gallo continuing to increase, the Rangers offered Gallo a bigger challenge.

A Double-A call-up provides challenges for young players as the pitching and level of play makes a substantial leap. Gallo, though, proved up to the task in his RoughRiders debut on June 9.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the newcomer left an unparalleled first impression when he smashed a 2-0 pitch to left field for a walk-off, three-run home run to give his new team the dramatic victory.

Gallo has dealt with some growing pains during his first few months with the team, but the lefty has shown an ability to learn on the fly while continuing to rapidly pound the ball. Since the time of his promotion, Gallo has led the Texas League in homers, runs batted in, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases. He once again has the chance to reach the 40 home run plateau and would become the first minor leaguer to have back-to-back 40-homer seasons since 1981-1982.

Gallo’s power was also on display during MLB All-Star week in the Futures Game. In an exhibition contest between the top minor league baseball prospects, Gallo led Team USA to a 3-2 victory over Team World by hammering another 2-0 pitch well out of the park. This go-ahead, two-run shot in the sixth inning was enough for Gallo to earn the game’s MVP award.

In the midst of an injury-ridden season in Arlington, there has been a bright spot on the north side of the metroplex. Gallo has been a subject worth writing about and a player worth watching every time he steps up to the plate.

But the story doesn’t end there. With plenty of room for improvement and an attitude set on getting better every day, Gallo has the opportunity to control his own narrative and leave an imprint on the Rangers organization. One home run at a time.

-Jay Wallis

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