Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Monday, June 4, 2012 | 8:02 p.m.
Updated Monday, June 4, 2012 | 9:08 p.m.
Bishop Gorman High’s Joey Gallo was selected Monday by the Texas Rangers with the No. 39 overall pick in the supplemental round of the MLB First-Year Player Entry Draft, falling later in the draft than most projected before finally hearing his name called.
The 6-foot-5 power-hitting third baseman was surprised when he received the call — partially because he expected to go earlier, but mostly because the Rangers were the organization that selected him.
“I was kind of surprised it was Texas,” he said. “They kind of laid low a bit (in the pre-draft process) and I didn’t have any idea it would be them. But I’m glad it is. Texas is a first-class organization. I couldn’t be happier with getting picked by them.”
The supplemental round — or sandwich-round picks — is between the draft’s first and second rounds, where teams are awarded picks for free agents they lost the previous offseason. Gallo was the Rangers’ pick for losing C.J. Wilson to the Los Angeles Angels.
And, according to Gorman coach Nick Day, the Rangers are receiving a quality bat. The left-handed swinging Gallo had 65 career high school home runs in four varsity season, helping Gorman extend its string of consecutive state championships to seven.
“He has ridiculous raw power, more power than any high school kid I have seen,” Day said. “He hits the ball out of the park with ease.”
Gallo, who this spring batted .506 with 21 home runs, 80 RBIs, 66 runs and 13 stolen bases, is considered one of Las Vegas’ best all-time power hitters. He batted .471 in 2011 as a junior with 25 home runs, 78 RBIs and 64 runs scored. He’s believed to be the state’s all-time leader in home run and RBIs.
Gallo was also scouted as a pitcher and has a 100 mph fastball, but told teams he wanted to be an everyday player in the professional ranks. Plus, his bat merits a middle-of-the lineup spot every day — multiple rankings classified him as the draft’s best power-hitting prospect.
“If he would have pitched, I believe he would have been a top-5 pick,” Day said. “If at any point he decides to pitch, they can put him on the mound and have a pitcher who can hit 100 mph.”
Gallo, who this past summer played with the USA Baseball 18U National Team at the Pan American championships, is also signed with LSU. He’ll have to pick between a lucrative signing bonus, or heading to college for three seasons before being eligible again for the draft. He didn’t give any indications of which way he was leaning. The deadline to sign a professional contract is July 13.
“Hopefully, we can work something out (with Texas),” he said. “But I can go to college and raise my stock, and do this all over again in three years. Obviously, it will all depend on the money. We’ll have to wait and see.”
He is the fourth player from Las Vegas in the past three years to be selected early in the draft. Last year, Spring Valley High graduate Tyler Anderson went with the 20th overall selection to the Colorado Rockies, and Sierra Vista High’s Jake Hager was picked No. 30 by the Tampa Rays. In 2010, prodigy Bryce Harper went No. 1 overall to the Washington Nationals.
Gallo is glad to be adding his name to the list — better late than never.
“It was stressful because I was expecting to hear my name is the first round,” he said. “I had to stay confident, but it was pretty stressful. I’m glad it worked out going to such a quality organization.”