Alumni Uncategorized

Former Crawdads on Opening-Day MLB Rosters

The 2018 Major League Baseball season has begun and across the landscape former Hickory Crawdads dot the big-league rosters. Thirty-two former players are on 16 different teams, including 11 with the Texas Rangers, the parent club of the Crawdads.

Below is an overview of where former Hickory players will start the 2018 season:


Texas Rangers:

Alex Claudio: The 2013 Crawdads reliever will bring his changeup to the Rangers for his fifth season at Arlington. Claudio posted 11 saves and a 2.50 ERA over 70 games (8th in the AL) last year. He again is expected to be a key member of the Rangers bullpen.

Claudio, Alexander

Joey Gallo: The Crawdads single-season home run record holder joins the Rangers for his fourth season in the majors. A third baseman for the 2013 team, Gallo will start at first for Texas. He is coming off a season in which he hit 41 homers (third in the AL) and slugged .537 (9th).


Keone Kela: Another Crawdads reliever from the 2013 club returns to the Rangers for his fourth big-league season. Kela is expected to be the closer for the Texas, one season after posting a 2.79 ERA and struck out 51 in 38.2 innings (39 games).

Keone Kela 3

Jose Leclerc: A third reliever off the 2013 Crawdads squad will be in his third season with the Rangers, but his first on the opening-day roster. He appeared in 47 games out of the Texas bullpen in 2017 and put up a 3.94 ERA. Opposing hitters hit just .145 against Leclerc, who struck out 60 in 45.2 innings.

Jose Leclerc action

Nomar Mazara: The Crawdads right fielder in 2013 and 2014 will be in his third season with Texas to start the season. Mazara posted a .253/.323/.422 slash in 2017 with 20 homers and 101 RBI (9th in the AL). He opens the season as the Rangers starting right fielder.

Nomar Mazara 2

Rougned Odor: The Crawdads 2012 second baseman suits up for Texas in his fifth season as the club’s starter at the same position. Though he hit 30 or more homers for his second straight season, Odor struggled at the plate with a .204/.252/.397 slash.

Rougned Odor2

Martin Perez: The 2009 Crawdads starting pitcher will begin the season on the disabled list (right elbow) but is expected to make his first start for the Rangers on April 5. Now in his seventh season, Perez went 13-12 in 32 starts in 2017. He’s looking to improve on a 4.82 ERA and a .301 opponents batting avg.

Perez 2

Jurickson Profar: The 2011 Crawdads shortstop is now in his fifth season with the Rangers after spending much of last year at AAA Round Rock. Profar hit .172/.294/.207 in 22 major league games in 2017. He will play a utility role for Texas.

Jurickson Profar

Drew Robinson: The 2012 Crawdads third baseman is in his second season with the Rangers after making his debut with the club last April. Sent down to AAA Round Rock shortly after his debut, Robinson returned mid-season and hit .224/.314/.439 in 48 games with Texas. He starts the season as a utilityman.

Drew Robinson

Ricardo Rodriguez: The 2014-2015 pitcher for the Crawdads will start the 2018 season on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Rodriguez made his big-league debut with the Rangers last August. In 16 relief appearances, he had a 6.15 ERA in 13 innings.

Ricardo Rodriguez

Ryan Rua: The 2013 Crawdads second baseman is in his fifth major league season with the Rangers and is the team’s starting left fielder. Rua split last season with Texas and AAA Round Rock. With the Rangers, he had a .217/.294/.333 slash with nine extra-base hits in 144 plate appearances.

Ryan Rua HR trot.jpg


Baltimore Orioles:

Richard Bleier:  A starting pitcher at the beginning of the 2009 season, the lefty is in his third major league season, the second with the Orioles. Bleier was called up to stay with the Orioles in May 2017 and became a key part of the team’s bullpen. In 57 games covering 63.1 innings, Bleier went 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA to go with an opponents batting average of .257 and a 1.18 WHIP.

Hickory Crawdads - Richard Bleier


Chicago White Sox:

Leury Garcia: The Crawdads shortstop from 2009-2010 is in his sixth major league season with 215 his 240 big-league games coming with the White Sox. Garcia hit for a MLB career high .270 in 87 games with nine homers and 33 RBI. He will play a utility role, mostly as a fourth outfielder.

Garcia, Leury


Cleveland Indians:

Rajai Davis: The Crawdads 2003 center fielder – he also played a handful of games with the team in 2002 – begins his 13th big-league season by rejoining the Indians. Signed by Cleveland to a minor league contract in the offseason, Davis had a strong spring to make the team. Davis stole 43 bases for Cleveland in 134 games in 2016 and his eighth-inning, three-run homer against Aroldis Chapman in game seven of the 2016 World Series tied the game at the time. He played in 100 games with Oakland last season before going to the Boston Red Sox in a late-season trade. Davis posted a .235/.293/.348 slash and stole 29 bases last year. He will be a fourth outfielder this year for the Indians.


Kansas City Royals:

Justin Grimm: A 2011 starting pitcher for Hickory is now in his seventh major league season, the first with Kansas City. The Royals signed him after the Chicago Cubs released him in spring training. Grimm went 1-2 with a 5.53 ERA in 50 relief appearances last year with the Cubs.

Grimm_Justin 2.jpg


Minnesota Twins:

Zach Duke: A starting pitcher for the Crawdads in 2003, Duke is now in his 14th season in the major leagues and will begin his tenure with the Twins this season out of the bullpen. Coming off 2016 “Tommy John” surgery, Duke made 27 relief appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 with a 3.93 ERA and a .197 OBA in 18.1 innings. He’s expected to be a left-handed specialist for Minnesota.


New York Yankees:

Neil Walker: The 2005 Crawdads catcher is in his 10th major league season, his first with the Yankees after signing a free-agent contract with the club in March. After seven seasons as the starting second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets, Walker moved around the diamond in 2017, first with the Mets and then with the Milwaukee Brewers after a midseason trade. At the plate, Walker posted a .265/.362/.439 slash with 14 homers and 49 RBI. He is expected to play first and second with the Yankees.



Toronto Blue Jays:

Steve Pearce: The 2007 Crawdads first baseman is in his 12th major league season, the second with the Blue Jays. Last year, Pearce was the right-handed part of the Blue Jays platoon in leftfield and is expected to play in the same role in 2018. He hit .252/.319/.438 with 13 homers and 37 RBI in 92 games last year.

Steve Pearce.JPG



Chicago Cubs:

Carl Edwards, Jr.: A member of the Crawdads starting rotation in 2013, Edwards is now in his fourth season as a reliever with the Cubs. In 73 games last season, Edwards had a 2.98 ERA with an opponents batting average of .134 on 66.1 innings. His 25 holds last year was second in the National League. He is expected again to be a key member of the Cubs bullpen.

CJ Edwards


Cincinnati Reds:

Jared Hughes: A starting pitcher for the Crawdads in 2006 and 2007, Hughes enters his eighth season in the big leagues, his first with the Reds after signing a two-year contract in the offseason. Last season with the Milwaukee Brewers, Hughes with 5-3 with a 3.02 ERA and one save. Hughes will pitch out of the bullpen for the Reds.

Hickory Crawdads - Jared Hughes


Los Angeles Dodgers:

Wilmer Font: A starting pitcher for the Crawdads in 2009 and 2010, Font is in his fourth major league season, the second with the Dodgers. Font spent much of 2017 at AAA Oklahoma City where he put together a strong season that led to his selection as the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year. Font pitched in three games with the Dodgers after rosters expanded in September and gave up seven runs in 3.2 Innings. He’ll pitch out of the bullpen for the Dodgers.

Hickory Crawdads - Wilmer Font


Miami Marlins:

Lewis Brinson: The Crawdads starting center fielder in 2013 and 2014, Brinson has a full-fledged opportunity for the same role in the majors after Brinson was traded to the Marlins in the offseason. Brinson made his big-league debut last summer with the Brewers and went 5-for-47 in 21 games.

Lewis Brinson outfield dive.jpg

Tomas Telis: The Crawdads catcher from 2011 is in his fifth major league season, the fourth with the Marlins. He spent much of 2017 at AAA New Orleans but posted a .240/.279/.367 slash in 48 big-league games. Telis will be the starting catcher for the Marlins due to an injury to J.T. Realmuto

 TRACY PROFFITT | URASTAR IMAGES - Tomas Telis (13) - Hickory Crawdads

Philadelphia Phillies:

Jorge Alfaro:  The Crawdads catcher from 2012 and 2013 will be on his first opening-day roster after parts of two seasons with the Phillies. A midseason all-star at AAA Lehigh Valley, Alfaro hit .314/.360/.514 in 29 games at Philadelphia. He will split time with Andrew Knapp behind the plate.

Jorge Alfaro.jpg

Jerad Eickhoff: The Crawdads starting pitcher in 2012 is in his fourth season with the Phillies, though he starts the season on the disabled list with a strained right lat. In 24 starts last season, Eickhoff went 4-8 with a 4.71 ERA.

Jerad Eickhoff

Odubel Herrera: The starting second baseman for Hickory in 2011, Herrera is now cemented as the Phillies center fielder for the fourth straight season. In 138 games in 2017, he hit .281/.325/.452 with 42 doubles – the third most in the NL – 14 homers and 56 RBI.


Nick Williams: The 2013 starting left fielder for Hickory is in his second season with the Phillies after he made his major league debut for the team last June. Williams went on to hit .288/.338/.473 with 12 homers and 55 RBI in 83 games with the Phillies. He is the starting right fielder.

Nick Williams


Pittsburgh Pirates:

Jordy Mercer: The starting shortstop the second half of the 2008 season with the Crawdads is the final member remaining with Pittsburgh from the former Hickory affiliation with the Pirates that ended in 2008. Now in his seventh season – the sixth as the Bucs shortstop – he is likely on the move in what is his final contract year with Pittsburgh. With the Pirates in 2017, Mercer hit .255/.326/.406 with 14 homers and 58 RBI in 145 games.

Mercer, Jordy.jpg


San Diego Padres:

Robbie Erlin: The 2010 South Atlantic League’s ERA champ while with Hickory is now in his fifth season with the Padres. Tommy John surgery cost the left-hander much of the 2016 and all of the 2017 season. Erlin will likely be in the San Diego rotation.

Robbie Erlin

Christian Villanueva: The 2011 Crawdads third baseman made his big-league debut with San Diego last September in grand style after hitting four homers and going 11-for-32 in 12 games. Villanueva returns to the Padres as a utility infielder after he made his first opening-day roster.

Villanueva in field

San Francisco Giants:

Andrew McCutchen: The 2006 Crawdads center fielder is in his tenth major league season, but after an offseason trade, he’ll suit up for another club other than the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first time. The 2013 National League MVP now patrols right field for the Giants after nine seasons as the Pirates center fielder. In 156 games last season, McCutchen hit .279/.363/.486 with 28 homers and 88 RBI.

Andrew McCutchen

Tony Watson: A starter in his brief stint with the Crawdads in 2007, the left-hander is now in his seventh major league season as one of the game’s best left-handed setup relievers. After five full seasons with the Pirates, he was dealt in a midseason trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom he made his first World Series appearance. In 71 games last season, he was 7-4 with ten saves and a 3.38 ERA in 66.2 innings. Watson signed a two-year contract with the Giants in the offseason.


Crawdads Alum Crawdads to the Majors Uncategorized

Former Crawdads Scattered throughout MLB Opening Day Rosters

As the 2017 season begins, 29 former Hickory Crawdads will dot major league rosters. That is up from 25 to start the 2016 campaign.

Ten of those are on the Crawdads parent club, the Texas Rangers. Among American League clubs, only Toronto has two former Hickory players. Thirteen former Crawdads are on National League teams, including three on the Pittsburgh Pirates, left over from the days of their affiliation with Hickory. The Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres each have two.

Three players on MLB rosters will start the year on the disabled list: Hanser Alberto (Texas), Robbie Erlin (San Diego) and Zach Duke (St. Louis).

Here is a synopsis of each player in the majors:



Hanser Alberto (’12): The infielder will begin the season on the disabled. He has played the last two seasons with Texas, posting a .194/ .204 /.226 slash over 76 combined games.

Hanser Alberto fielding
Hanser Alberto, shown in a 2012 game at Kannapolis, went on to win a minor league “Gold Glove” award in 2014. (Tracy Proffitt)


Jose Bautista (’02): The right-handed hitter will be in his 14th major league season, the ninth with the Toronto Blue Jays. Battling injuries in 2016, Bautista hit 22 homers in 116 and posted a .234/.366/.452 slash. He signed a one-year contract with Toronto during the off-season to remain with the club.

Alex Claudio (’13): The soft-tossing, lefty reliever will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers. In 39 games in 2016, he put up a 2.79 ERA over 51.2 innings with 34 Ks and 10 walks.

Claudio, Alexander
Alex Claudio (’13) now a middle reliever for the Texas Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)


Rajai Davis (’02-’03): The speedy outfielder will be in his 12th major league season, his first with the Oakland A’s after signing a free agent contract in the off-season. The right-handed hitter posted a .249/.306/.388 slash with Cleveland in 2016 and led the American League with 43 stolen bases. He is expected to start in centerfield for the Athletics, with whom he played for from 2008-2010.

Joey Gallo (’13): The left-handed hitter will be in his third major league season with the Texas Rangers. He has played in 53 games the previous two years, putting up a .173/ .281/.368 slash. Gallo will start at third in place of the injured Adrian Beltre.

Joey Gallo
Joey Gallo will be the opening-day third baseman for Texas (Tracy Proffitt)


Leury Garcia (’09-’10): The switch-hitter will be in his fifth major league season, most of those with the Chicago Cubs. Out of minor-league options, Garcia was kept on the big league club and will fill a utility role. He spent much of last year at AAA Charlotte.

Hickory Crawdads - Leury Garcia
Leury Garcia is expected to come off the bench for the White Sox (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Jose Leclerc (’13): The right-handed reliever will be on his first opening-day roster after he made 12 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers in his debut season last year. He put up a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings with 15 Ks and 13 BBs. He split last year at AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock.

Jose Leclerc action
Jose Leclerc is on his first major league, opening-day roster spot with the Rangers.


Nomar Mazara (’13-’14): The left-handed hitting outfielder will be in his second major league season with the Texas Rangers after playing in 145 games during his debut season. He posted a .266/.320/.419 slash with 20 homers and 64 RBI. Mazara will start the season in right.

Nomar Mazara
Nomar Mazara will start in RF for the Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)


Rougned Odor (’12): The left-handed second baseman will be in his fourth season with the Texas Rangers and recently signed a six-year extension with the club. Last year, Odor hit 33 homers and collected 88 RBI in 150 games. His posted a .271/.296 /.502 slash.

Rougned Odor2
Rougned Odor recently signed a six-year extension with the Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)


Steve Pearce (’07): The right-handed hitter will be in his 11th major league season, the first with the Toronto Blue Jays after signing a two-year deal during the off-season. Pearce split last year between Tampa Bay and Baltimore, posting a .288/.374/.492 slash over 110 games. He his expected to start in left.

Steve Pearce
Steve Pearce signed with the Blue Jays during the offseason (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Martin Perez (’09): The left-handed pitcher will be in his sixth major league season with the Texas Rangers. Perez went 10-11 with a 4.39 ERA over 33 starts in 2016. He is expected to be the No. 3 starter for the Rangers.

Perez 2
Martin Perez will be the No. 3 starter for the Rangers this season (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Jurickson Profar (’12, ’15): The switch-hitter will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers, but is on his first opening-day roster. Profar had a .239/.321/.338 slash over 90 games in 2016. He is expected to play a utility role for the Rangers this year.

TRACY PROFFITT | URASTAR IMAGES - Jurickson Profar (10) - Hickory Crawdads
Jurickson Profar looks to put his potential to use with the Rangers this season. (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Drew Robinson (’12): The left-handed hitter will make his major league debut with the Texas Rangers this season after spending last year at AAA Round Rock. Robinson will play a utility role with Texas.

Drew Robinson at 3B
3B Drew Robinson will make his MLB debut for the Rangers this season. (Tracy Proffitt)


Robbie Ross (’10): The left-handed reliever will be in his sixth major league season, the third with the Boston Red Sox. Ross posted a 3.25 ERA in 2016 and fanned 56 over 55.1 innings.

Hickory Crawdads - Robbie Ross
Robbie Ross looks to provide solid middle relief for Boston this year (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Ryan Rua (’13): The right-handed hitter will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers. Rua posted a .258//331/.400 slash over 99 games last year. He is expected to split time in left and at first.

Ryan Rua
Ryan Rua with split time in LF for Texas this season (Tracy Proffitt)


Chris Young (’01-’02): The right-handed pitcher will be in his 13th major league season, the third with the Kansas City Royals. Young went 3-9 in 34 games (13 starts) in 2016 with a 6.19 ERA. He lost out in a battle for the No. 5 spot in the rotation and will be a long-man out of the bullpen.



 Zach Duke (’03): The left-handed reliever will miss the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He is currently with the St. Louis Cardinals after the team acquired him from the Chicago White Sox in a 2016 trade.

Carl Edwards, Jr. (’13): The right-handed reliever will be in his third major league season with the Chicago Cubs. This will be his first opening-day in the majors. In 36 games last year, Edwards posted a 3.75 ERA with 52 Ks and 14 BBs over 36 innings. The National League hit just .123 against Edwards.

CJ Edwards
Carl Edwards, Jr. looks to a bigger role in the Chicago Cubs bullpen in 2017 (Tracy Proffitt)


Jerad Eickhoff (’12): The right-handed starting pitcher will be in his third major league season with the Philadelphia Phillies after he completed his first full year with the club in 2016. He went 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA over 33 starts, striking out 167 and walking 42 over 197.1 innings. Eickhoff will be the No. 2 starter for the Phillies.

Jerad Eickhoff
Jerad Eickhoff looks to take another step forward in the Phillies rotation this season (Tracy Proffitt)


Robbie Erlin (’10): The left-handed pitcher will begin this season on the disabled list with the San Diego Padres while he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2016. He hopes to return to the club this midseason for what would be his fifth major league season.

Justin Grimm (’11): The right-handed reliever will be in his sixth major league season, the fifth with the Chicago Cubs. In 68 appearances in 2016, Grimm went 2-1 with a 4.10 ERA and fanned 65 to just 23 walks over 52.2 IP. Grimm will pitch in middle relief.

Justin Grimm continues to pitch in middle relief this season for the Cubs (Tracy Proffitt)


Odubel Herrera (’11): The left-handed hitter will be in his third major league season with the Philadelphia Phillies after he took a big step as one of the National League’s best young centerfielders in 2016. During a season in which he represented the Phillies on the National League All-Star Team, Herrera posted a .286/.361/.420 slash and stole 25 bases in 159 games.

TRACY PROFFITT | SCOUT.COM -(2) Odubel Herrera - Hickory Crawdads
Odubel Herrera hopes to build on his 2016 all-star season (Tracy Proffitt)


Jared Hughes (’07-’08): The right-handed reliever will be in his seventh major league season and recently just signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after the Pittsburgh Pirates released him last week. Hughes went 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA over 67 appearances in 2016. He will pitch in middle relief for the Brewers.

Hickory Crawdads - Jared Hughes
Jared Hughes signed with Milwaukee to start the 2017 season (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Andrew McCutchen (’06): The right-handed hitter will be in his ninth major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. McCutchen struggled over 153 games last year and posted his career-worst slash (.256/.336/.430). He hit 24 homers, but stole just six bases in 13 attempts. After manning center his entire career, McCutchen will shift to right this year.

Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen looks to rebound with the Pirates after a tough 2016 season  (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Jordy Mercer (’08): The right-handed shortstop will be in his sixth major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played in 149 games last year and posted a .256/.313/.377 with 11 homers and 59 RBI.

Mercer action
Jordy Mercer returns to the Pirates lineup at shortstop (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Neil Ramirez (’09-’10): The right-handed pitcher will be in his fourth major league season, the first with the San Francisco Giants. Ramirez signed a minor-league contract with the club during the offseason and made the club out of spring training. Ramirez made 18 relief appearances with three clubs (Cubs, Milwaukee, Minnesota) and struggled to a 6.00 ERA over 24 innings. He did strike out 24, but walked 18 and had a 1.67 WHIP. He will come out of the bullpen for the Giants.

Neil Ramirez joins the San Francisco Giants after a strong spring. (John M. Setzler, Jr.)


Luis Sardinas (’12): The switch-hitter will be in his fourth major league season, the second with the San Diego Padres after the team acquired him from Seattle during the 2016 season. Sardinas played in 66 combined games last year with a .244/.295/.356 slash. He will play some shortstop, but will start the season in a utility role.

Luis Sardinas bunt
Luis Sardinas will be in a utility role with San Diego (Tracy Proffitt)


Neil Walker (’05): The switch-hitting second baseman will be in his ninth major league season, the second with the New York Mets after resigning in the offseason. Despite battling a back injury, Walker still posted a .282/.347/.476 over 113 games with the Mets and blasted 23 homers.

Walker web
Neil Walker returns to the Mets for a second season as the starting 2B.

Tony Watson (’07): The left-handed reliever will be in his seventh major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the midseason trade of Mark Melancon, Watson took on the job of the Pirates closer in 2016 and will serve in the same role this year. He went 2-5 with 15 saves last year over 70 games with a 3.06 ERA. Watson struck out 58 and walked 20 over 67.2 IP.


Alumni Report Uncategorized

Crawdads Alumni Report April 10

Sunday, April 10


Joey Gallo (’13, 3B) 2-5, three-run HR in the third, solo HR (2) in the sixth, K;



Brian Downs (’96-’98, C) turns 41.

Greg Martin (’05, P) turns 36.

Dan Olson (’96-’97, OF) turns 41.

Jovanny Sosa (’99-’00, OF) turns 37.



Luke Jackson (’11-’12, P) was sent by the Texas Rangers to AAA Round Rock for an injury rehab assignment.



Texas 4 LA Angels 1: Rougned Odor (’12, 2B/ Texas) 1-4, RBI, K; Ryan Rua (’13, 2B/ Texas) 1-4, 2B, 2 K; Keone Kela (’13, P/ Texas) 1 IP, 2 K.

Round Rock (AAA) 9 Iowa (Cubs) 3: Nomar Mazara (’13-’14, OF) 3-5. two-run HR (1) in the fifth, 2 R; Jurickson Profar (’11, 15, SS) 1-3, BB, HBP, 2 R; Drew Robinson (’12, 3B) 1-4, 2B, RBI, 2 K; Chad Bell (’10, ’14, P); Nick Tepesch (’11, P) 5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K, win (1-0); Luke Jackson (’11-’12, P) 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K;  Jefri Hernandez (’15, P) 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K / CJ Edwards (’13, P/ Iowa) 1 IP, 1 K.

Frisco (AA) 9 NW Arkansas 1: Preston Beck (’13, 1B); Lewis Brinson (’13-’14, OF) 2-4, 2B, BB, 2 R, RBI, SB, 2 K; Zach Cone (’12, 14, OF) 2-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, K; Ryan Cordell (’14, OF) 3-5, 2B, R, K; Kellin Deglan (’11-’12, ’14, C) 0-3, SF, 2 K; Ronald Guzman (’13-’15, 1B) 3-5, R, RBI, K; Joe Jackson (’14, C-OF)\ 2-4, 2 2B, BB, R, 3 RBI, K; Isiah Kiner-Falefa (’14-’15, UT) 1-5, SB; Luis Marte (’13-’14, SS) 0-3, SF, R, K; Luis Mendez (’13, 2B) 1-3, BB, R, K, CS; Sam Wolff (’13, P) 6 IP, 3 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 K, win (1-0); Cody Buckel (’11, ’15, P) 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, WP; Reed Garrett (’15, P) 1 IP, 2 K.

Inland Empire 5 High Desert (High-A) 9: Jairo Beras (’14-’15, OF) 1-3, three-run HR (1) in the first, BB, 2 K; Travis Demeritte (’14-’15, 2B) 0-2, 2 BB, 2 R, SB, K; David Lyon (’13, C) 1-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI; Tripp Martin (’15, 3B-OF) 0-4, 3 K; Josh Morgan (’15, 3B-SS) 1-3, BB, 2 R, K; Juremi Profar (’14-’15, 1B) 0-3, BB, R, K; Joe Trevino (’15, C) 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI; Collin Wiles (’14-’15, P) 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR; David Perez (’15, P) 3.1 IP, 4 H, 5 K, win (1-0); Ryan Ledbetter (’14, P) 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K; Joe Filomeno (’15, P) 1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K.



Boston 8 Toronto 4: Robbie Ross (’10, P/ Boston) 2 IP, 2 K / Jose Bautista (’02, OF/ Toronto) 2-3, two-run HRs (2) in the first and third innings, BB.

Cleveland 3 Chicago White Sox 7: Rajai Davis (’02-’03, OF/ Cleveland) 0-4, 2 K/ Zach Duke (’03, P/ Chicago) 0 IP, 1 H.



Philadelphia 1 New York Mets 0: Odubel Herrera (’11/ 2B/ Philadelphia) 1-4, 2 K/ Neil Walker (’05, C/ NY Mets) 0-4, 2 K.

Pittsburgh 1 Cincinnati 5: Andrew McCutchen (’06, OF/ Pittsburgh) 1-4; Jordy Mercer (’08, SS/ Pittsburgh) 0-4.




Charlotte (White Sox) 2 Durham 3: Leury Garcia (’09-’10, SS/ Charlotte) 1-4, CS.

Gwinnett 11 Norfolk (Baltimore) 5: Todd Redmond (’06, P/ Norfolk) 3.1 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, loss (0-1).



Colorado Springs (Milwaukee) 0 Memphis 4: Alex Presley (’07, OF/ Colorado Springs) 1-3, BB.



Campeche 3 Veracruz 1: Jose Castillo (’00, SS/ Veracruz) 0-4.

Tabasco 6 Ciudad del Carmen 4: Rodolfo Aguirre (’08, P/ Tabasco) 2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 K / Johan Yan (’10, P/ Cuidad del Carmen) 1 IP, 1 H.

Yucatan 5 Puebla 2: Nyjer Morgan (’04, OF/ Puebla) 1-4, RBI, K; Luis Pollorena (’14, P/ Puebla) 1/3 IP.



Birmingham (White Sox) 2 Jacksonville 1: Josh Richmond (’11, OF/ Birmingham) 1-3, HBP, K.

Chattanooga (Minnesota) 9 Biloxi 5: Joe Maloney (’13-’14, C-1B/ Chattanooga) 1-4, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 3 K.



Tampa (NY Yankees) 11 Lakeland 6: Jake Skole (’11, OF/ Tampa) 3-5, two-run HR (1) in the ninth, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K.



Augustana (SD) 11 Northern St. (SD) 3 (Game 1) / Augustana 12 (17-7, 8-0 Northern Sun) Northern St. 3 (Game 2): Juan Thomas (’93, 1B/ Volunteer Asst., AU)

Bacone 4 Oklahoma City 7 (Game 1) / Bacone 3 Oklahoma City 20 (31-12, 12-3 Sooner) (Game 2): Bobby Spain (’08, 3B/ Asst. Coach/ OCU)

Cal State Los Angeles 0 Cal State East Bay 14 (Game 1) / Cal State Los Angeles 4 (7-25, 6-15 CCAA) Cal State East Bay 6 (Game 2): Chris Hernandez (’04, P/ Pitching Coach, CSULA)

George Washington 4 (12-20, 3-2 Atlantic 10) Davidson 7: Gregg Ritchie (’98, Hitting Coach/ Head Coach, GWU)

Hastings 6 Morningside (IA) 14 (Game 1)/ Hastings 9 Morningside (IA) 6 (28-8, 4-2 GPAC) (Game 2): Brian Drent (’95, OF/ Head Coach MU)

Maryland-Baltimore County 4 (13-13, 4-2 American East) Albany 2: Bob Mumma (’93-’93, C-1B/ Head Coach, UMBC)

Oral Roberts (OK) Western Illinois (Game 1) / Oral Roberts (OK) Western Illinois (Game 2): Sean Snedeker (’96-’98, Pitching Coach/ Pitching Coach ORU)

St. Louis 2 Richmond 4 (16-14, 3-5 Atlantic 10): Tracy Woodson (’99. Manager/ Head Coach/ UR)



Southeastern 1 Iowa Central 4 (Game 1) / Southeastern 9 (21-11, 8-2 ICCAC) Iowa Central 1 (Game 2): (Mark Michael, ’05, P/ Asst. Coach, SCC)

Santa Rosa 2 Sacramento City 6 (21-7, 9-4 Nor-Cal Big 8): Pete Pryor (’96, 1B/ Asst. Coach, SCC)



Calallen (TX) 12 (16-2, 12-0 30-5A) Victoria West 3: Jose Luis Lopez (’00, ’02, P/ Asst. Coach, CHS)

El Reno (OK) 18 (13-7) Hennessey 4 (Sonic Invitational): Keanon Simon (’08, OF/ Head Coach, ERHS)

Foothill (NV) 7 (9-9, 4-5 Sunrise) Canyon Springs 5: Denny Crine (’95, P/ Asst. Coach, FHS)

Grandview 2 Prosser 10 (WA) (Game 1) / Grandview 5 Prosser (WA) 16 (4-6, 4-4 Central Wash.) (Game 2): Steve Schorzman (’98, P/ Head Coach, PHS)  

Harrison Central 10 St. Stanislaus College Prep (MS) 15 (12-7): Brad Corley (’06, OF/ Asst. Coach, SSC)

Alumni Report Uncategorized

Crawdads Alumni Report March 20

Sunday, March 20


Ronald Guzman (’13-’15, 1B/ Texas) had two hits, including a two-run triple in the 8th innings during the Rangers 13-6 win over Kansas City. Guzman later scored in the inning.



Jose Diaz (’07-’08, P) turns 29.

Alejandro Selen (’11-’13, 2B-OF) turns 27.



Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that Joey Gallo (’13, 3B/ Texas) gains perspective from former Crawdads manager and current Rangers 3B coach Tony Beasley (’02-’03)’s Jayson Stark explores the idea of Andrew McCutchen (’06, OF) hitting second in the Pirates lineup.

Robert Emrich of writes about former minor leaguers, including former Crawdads pitcher Bryan Bullington (’03), adjusting to life while playing in Japan.



Kansas City 6 Texas 13 (at San Antonio): Hanser Alberto (’12, 3B- SS/ Texas) 0-3, K; Nomar Mazara (’13-’14, OF/ Texas) 1-2, BB, SB, K; Josh Morgan (’15, 3B-SS/ Texas) 0-1, R, RBI; Drew Robinson ’12, 3B/ Texas) 0-3, 2 K; Ryan Rua (’13, 2B/ Texas) 0-3, R, K; Jose Trevino (’15, C/ Texas) 0-0, BB, R; Alex Claudio (’13, P/ Texas) 1/3 IP.

 Texas 1 Arizona 11: Zach Cone (’12, ’14, OF/ Texas) 0-4, 2 K; Michael De Leon (’14-’15, SS/ Texas) 1-1, 2B, RBI; Joey Gallo (’13, 3B/ Texas) 0-3, K, PO; Isiah Kiner-Falefa (’14-’15, IF/ Texas) 0-1, K; Rougned Odor (’12, 2B/ Texas) 2-3, 2B, K; Jeff Springs (’15, P/ Texas) 1.2 IP, 3 BB.



Chicago Cubs 5 Cleveland 10: Justin Grimm (’11, P/ Chicago) 2/3 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 HR, loss (0-1); Carl Edwards, Jr. (’13, P/ Chicago) 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K.

Los Angeles Dodgers 2 Chicago White Sox 4: Leury Garcia (’09-’10, SS/ Chicago) 0-1.

Milwaukee 7 LA Angels 15: Alex Presley (’06, OF/ Seattle) 1-2, BB, R.

Seattle 4 Kansas City 5: Luis Sardinas (’12, SS/ Seattle) 0-4, 2 K; Joe Wieland (’09-’10, P/ Seattle) 3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, loss (0-1).



St. Louis 1 Boston 3 (5): Robbie Ross (’10, P/ Boston) 1/3 IP, 1 H.



Chico St. 12 Cal State Los Angeles 0 (6-16, 5-6 CCAA): Chris Hernandez (’04, P/ Pitching Coach, CSULA)

Miami (OH) 3 Richmond 10 (12-8): Tracy Woodson (’99. Manager/ Head Coach/ UR)

Oakland (MI) 0 (7-10, 1-1 Horizon) Illinois-Chicago 6: John Musachio (’97, P/ Head Coach OU)

Scranton 11 Elizabethtown (PA) 8 (Game 1) / Scranton 1 Elizabethtown (PA) 15 (7-8, 1-1 Landmark) (Game 2): Cliff Smith (’05, P/ Head Coach, EC)

Southwestern Christian 4 Oklahoma City 7 (21-9, 5-1 Sooner): Bobby Spain (’08, 3B/ Asst. Coach/ OCU)

South Dakota St. 3 Oral Roberts 13 (9-9, 1-1 Summit): Sean Snedeker (’96-’98, Pitching Coach/ Pitching Coach ORU)

Truman St. (MO) 0 Augustana (SD) 8 (Game 1)/ Truman St. 9 Augustana (SD) 8 (7-6) (Game 2): Juan Thomas (’93, 1B/ Volunteer Asst., AU)

Valparaiso 6 (6-11, 2-0 Horizon) Northern Kentucky 4: Brian Schmack (’96, P/ Head Coach, Valpo)

Winnipeg 0 Morningside (IA) 7 (15-5) (Game 1) Brian Drent (’95, OF/ Head Coach MU)



Sacramento City 8 (16-3, 4-0 Big 8) Modesto 0: Pete Pryor (’96, 1B/ Asst. Coach, SCC)



Ephrata 2 Prosser (WA) 12 (Game 1) / Ephrata 1 (0-4, 0-2 Central Washington 2A) Prosser 8 (WA) (Game 2): Steve Schorzman (’98, P/ Head Coach, PHS)  

Foothill (NV) 2 (3-4) Westlake (UT) 3 (Desert Hills Tournament): Denny Crine (’95, P/ Asst. Coach, FHS)

North Kitsap (WA) 6 (2-1) Lynden 11: Jared Prince (’10, OF/ Asst. Coach, NKHS)  

River Bluff (SC) 10 (8-2) AC Flora 11: Doug Bearden (’95-’96, IF/ Asst. Coach, RBHS)

St. Stanislaus College Prep (MS) 14 (4-4) Heidelburg 0: Brad Corley (’06, OF/ Asst. Coach, SSC)

Alumni Report Uncategorized

Crawdads Alumni Report March 14

Monday, March 14


Jose Bautista (’02, OF/ Toronto) slammed a three-run HR (1) in the third during Toronto’s 6-1 win over Tampa Bay.



Wardell Starling (’04, P) turns 33.



Ben Rowen (’11, P) was optioned by the Toronto Blue Jays to AAA Buffalo.



Joey Gallo (’13, 3B/ Texas) crushes another baseball, writes T. R. Sullivan.

Sullivan also wrote that Rougned Odor (’12, 2B/ Texas) continues to recover from an oblique injury.

Gerry Fraley of Dallas Morning News interviews Ryan Rua (’13, 2B) about playing first base.



Texas 3 LA Angels 7: Hanser Alberto (’12, 3B- SS/ Texas) 0-1; Ryan Cordell (’14, OF/ Texas) 0-1; Joey Gallo (’13, 3B/ Texas) 1-3, solo HR (2) in the second; Nomar Mazara (’13-’14, OF/ Texas) 2-3, 2B, K; Juremi Profar (’14-’15, 3B/ Texas) 0-1; Jurickson Profar (’11, 15, SS/ Texas) 0-4, 2 K; Drew Robinson ’12, 3B/ Texas) 0-2, K; Ryan Rua (’13, 2B/ Texas) 1-1, 3B, R; Yohandez Mendez (’14-’15, P/ Texas) 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K.



Arizona 11 Chicago White Sox 4: Zach Duke (’03, P/ Chicago) 1 IP, 1 H

Los Angeles Dodgers 6 Colorado 4: Matt West (’09-’10, 3B/ Los Angeles) 1 IP, 1 HR, 2 K.

Milwaukee 5 Cleveland 4: Alex Presley (’06, OF/ Seattle) / Rajai Davis (’02-’03, OF/ Cleveland) 0-3.

Cincinnati 5 Seattle 3: Luis Sardinas (’12, SS/ Seattle) 0-2; Joe Wieland (’09-’10, P/ Seattle) 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.



Detroit 5 Pittsburgh 9: Dustin Molleken (’07-‘08, P/ Detroit) 1/3 IP/ Andrew McCutchen (’06, OF/ Pittsburgh) 1-3, R, RBI, 2 K; Jordy Mercer (’08, SS/ Pittsburgh) 1-3, R; Tony Watson (’07, P/ Pittsburgh) 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 1 HR.

New York Mets 11 Miami 0: Bryan Morris (’08, P/ Miami) 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB,  3K.

Philadelphia 3 New York Yankees 0: Nick Williams (’13, OF/ Philadelphia) 1-4, 2B, R, RBI, K / Richard Bleier (’09, P/ NY Yankees) 1 IP, 1 H.



Augustana (SD) 1 Concordia-St. Paul 2 / Augustana 3 (6-5) Concordia-St Paul 4 (Game 2): Juan Thomas (’93, 1B/ Volunteer Asst., AU)

Bemidji St. (MN) 4 Oklahoma City 1 (Game 1) / Bemidji St. (MN) 6 Oklahoma City 5 (17-8) (Game 2): Bobby Spain (’08, 3B/ Asst. Coach/ OCU)

Monmouth 5 George Washington 7 (6-9): Gregg Ritchie (’98, Hitting Coach/ Head Coach, GWU)

Oral Roberts 11 (7-7) Auburn 18: Sean Snedeker (’96-’98, Pitching Coach/ Pitching Coach ORU)

Penn St. 5 Richmond 6 (11-5) (Spider Invitational): Tracy Woodson (’99. Manager/ Head Coach/ UR)



Oakton CC (IL) 2 Muscatine CC (IA) 7 (Game 1) / Oakton 4 (2-2) Muscatine 11 (Game 2) (Russmat Invitational, Auburndale, FL): Michael Scala (’02, OF/ Asst. Coach, OCC)

Alumni Report Uncategorized

Crawdads Alumni Report March 12

Saturday, March 12


Joey Gallo (’13, 3B/ Texas) crushed a three-run HR in the second, and also singled and scored another run to lead the Rangers to a 8-5 win over Milwaukee.


Dave Williams (’99-’00, P) turns 36. The former major league pitcher with the Pirates and Mets is now the head coach at Harvester Christian Academy in Douglasville, GA.



Abel De Los Santos (’14, P) was optioned by the Washington Nationals to AAA Syracuse.



A writeup by’s Michael Clair looks into the process of Joey Gallo (’13, 3B) maximizing his power.

Jim Callis of looks back at the prospect-laden 2013 Hickory Crawdads squad.

T.R. Sullivan interviews Andrew Faulkner (’12-’13, P) about his move to the bullpen and his chances of making the opening-day roster with Texas.

Pittsburgh Pirates beat writer Adam Berry writes of former Crawdads pitching coach Ray Searage (’05) in his role as the “Pitcher Whisperer” for the Pittsburgh Pirates.



Texas 8 Milwaukee 5: Hanser Alberto (’12, 3B- SS/ Texas) 0-1, K; Ryan Cordell (’14, OF/ Texas) 0-3; Ronald Guzman (’13-’15, 1B/ Texas) 0-2, K; Nomar Mazara (’13-’14, OF/ Texas); Josh Morgan (’15, 3B-SS/ Texas) 0-1; Rougned Odor (’12, 2B/ Texas); Jurickson Profar (’11, 15, SS/ Texas) 0-2, BB, R, K; Drew Robinson ’12, 3B/ Texas) 0-2, K; Ryan Rua (’13, 2B/ Texas) 0-1, BB, R, K; Johnny Reyes (’11, P/ Texas) 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K; Nick Tepesch (’11, P/ Texas) 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, HR, win (1-1); Andrew Faulkner (’12-’13, P/ Texas) 1 IP, save (1).



Arizona 12 Kansas City 3: Chris Young (’01-’02, P/ Kansas City) 2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 K, 2 HR, loss (0-1).

Cincinnati 4 Chicago Cubs 7: Justin Grimm (’11, P/ Chicago) 1 IP, 2 K; Neil Ramirez (’09-’10, P/ Chicago) 1 IP, 1 K.

Chicago White Sox 8 San Diego 3: Leury Garcia (’09-’10, SS/ Chicago) 1-4, solo HR (1) in the third, K; Zach Duke (’03, P/ Chicago) 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K.

Cleveland 6 Colorado 1: Rajai Davis (’02-’03, OF/ Cleveland) 0-3, 2 K; Tom Gorzelanny (’04, P/ Cleveland) 1 IP, 2 H.



Boston 1 Toronto 2: Roman Mendez (’11, P/ Boston) 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB; Ben Rowen (’11, P/ Toronto) 1/3 IP, win (1-0).

Miami 6 Minnesota 5: Tomas Telis (’11, C/ Miami) 0-2.

Tampa Bay 3 Pittsburgh 4: Andrew McCutchen (’06, OF/ Pittsburgh) 1-2, solo HR (1) in the fourth; Tony Watson (’07, P/ Pittsburgh) 1 IP, 1 HR.



Monmouth 5 George Washington (5-8) 14: Gregg Ritchie (’98, Hitting Coach/ Head Coach, GWU)

Morningside (IA) 10 Providence Christian (CA) 0 (Game 1)/ Morningside (IA) 1 (14-3) Providence Christian (CA) 2 (Game 2): Brian Drent (’95, OF/ Head Coach MU)

Oakland (MI) 11 (5-8) Eastern Michigan 3 (at Dayton): John Musachio (’97, P/ Head Coach OU)

Oral Roberts 8 (7-5) Auburn 7: Sean Snedeker (’96-’98, Pitching Coach/ Pitching Coach ORU)

Valparaiso 6 (4-10) Dallas Baptist 1: Brian Schmack (’96, P/ Head Coach, Valpo)



Calallen (TX) 6 (6-2, 2-0 district) Moody 2: Jose Luis Lopez (’00, ’02, P/ Asst. Coach, CHS)

River Bluff (SC) 5 (5-1, 2-0 AAAA-5 Region) South Aiken 4: Doug Bearden (’95-’96, IF/ Asst. Coach, RBHS)

Riverview (FL) 4 (3-10, 2-3 9A-District 8) Braden River 2: Chuck Antczak (’95-’97, C/ Head Coach, RHS)

South Forsyth (GA) 0 (7-2 2-1 6-AAAAAA) 0 Alpharetta: Russ Bayer (’03, P/ Head Coach, SFHS)

Alumni Crawdads to the Majors Player Interviews When he was a Crawdad

When He Was a Crawdad: Joey Gallo

“He is almost like an orchestral conductor sweeping a baton across his body. But when the ball connects solidly with the barrel of the bat, the loft of the ball doesn’t so much streak through the air as it ascends like a white dove in an air current.” Hickory Daily Record article published June 20, 2013

Today, it was announced that Joey Gallo would make his big league debut with the Texas Rangers Tuesday night in a game against the Chicago White Sox.

Now a consensus top-ten, major league prospect, the Las Vegas native was as struggling A-ball minor leaguer. On June 5, 2013, Gallo had a slash line of .211/.316/ .485 with 90 strikeouts in 56 games. His season turned over the next five games when he went 11-for-18, which included a three-homer game at Hagerstown. Gallo went on to finish with a Crawdads single-season club records of 38 homers and a .610 slugging pct.

I interviewed Gallo about a week after his June hot streak in preparation for a feature article I wrote about him. He talked about the struggles of the first two months of the season, as well as the development of his powerful swing. Following the interview are some quotes by several of the Crawdads and Rangers player development staff.

How did you get started in baseball?

Gallo: I’ve been playing baseball ever since I literally can remember. My parents said I just kind of picked up a bat and just started swinging and ever since then, the rest is history. I just started playing. I didn’t ever play any other sports, but just stuck to baseball and had that one goal in mind to play pro baseball and hopefully make it to the major leagues. I’ve been playing baseball since I was three years old.

Was there a moment where you said, “I’d like to do play major league baseball?”

Gallo: It was always major league baseball. There was not one second of my childhood that I didn’t think “maybe I don’t want to play major league baseball.” It’s always been my goal throughout my whole childhood.

What positions did you play in high school?

Gallo: I played short and then my senior year I played third for the draft.

How did it come about that you would be a position player rather than pitch?

Gallo: Some teams wanted me as a pitcher. Actually half of them wanted me as a pitcher and I just didn’t want to. I always wanted to hit and play every day and be on the field every day. I love to be out there and helping the team win, not every five days, but every single day. I just always loved hitting. Obviously, hitting home runs is fun and I didn’t want to give that up. In the long run, if things turn and maybe I can’t be a major league baseball player as a hitter, I can always switch to pitching.

What are some of the highlights you had at Bishop Gorman?

Gallo: We won seven (state championships) in a row, including the four years I was there. Obviously, every time you win a state championship it’s a huge highlight and it’s great. My freshman and senior year we ended up being national champions. That’s probably the two biggest highlights of my time there. Winning a state championship every year is not easy. Every time you dogpile on the field at the end of the year is a great feeling.

How did you go about developing your swing?

Gallo: Ever since I could swing and understand how to be taught how to hit, my hitting coach has been a guy by the name of Mike Bryant. He son was just drafted second overall – Kris Bryant – in this last draft. Me and him used to hit together all the time, so he was my hitting coach since I was five years old all the way up until I graduated from high school. Mike’s the person that has had the biggest influence on my swing today. He really helped me put that swing together.

(photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)
(photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

How did the power develop?

Gallo: He helped me out a lot with that. His son, too, has tremendous power. He led college baseball in home runs this year. It’s been kind of weird because we’ve both been compared to each other. He’s a righty and I’m a lefty, but even though we’re on different sides of the plate we have the same package of power.

It’s hard to tell people how you hit for power. I’ve just always been able to hit for home runs, ever since I was eight years old and I hit my first one. Ever since then, I could always hit home runs. Maybe it’s my leverage or hand strength or arms. I’m not really sure; I just know I can drive the ball.

In watching you take batting practice, even in games, it’s not like you have a violent swing. It seems so easy and flowing.

Gallo: Obviously, being a big guy helps you out, too. You really don’t have to swing as hard as you can to hit the ball out. I don’t really ever swing as hard as I can. I just usually try to get the barrel to the ball. If I’m fortunate enough to get it over the fence, then it goes over the fence. I don’t really like to tense up and swing hard. That’s going to prevent you from hitting the ball farther. I just use the hands to get the barrel to the ball.

You had signed a commitment to go to LSU, but I’m guessing with your potential draft position that was never really a possibility of going there, was it?

Gallo: There was actually a very, very strong possibility that I was going to go to LSU. Absolutely, I was committed to going there and getting a college education. That was actually really big to me. That’s something that when draft time came around that maybe some teams started to get scared off a little bit because I was very interested into going to LSU. Obviously, going to the College World Series with a great program and stuff like that. I wasn’t signed there just because I had to sign and go to a school. I really wanted to go there.

What prompted you to come out?

Gallo: The Texas Rangers organization had a really big influence on it. They’re developing players everywhere and they’re coming out of nowhere with all of these great players. There’s not really a better team to play for than the Texas Rangers at the major league level. So I had to sit down and say, do I want to risk it again in three years, or do I want to take the opportunity to make the best of it with an organization like the Texas Rangers. That was probably the biggest thing.

What would you major have been?

Gallo: Sports management.

What are some adjustments that you’ve had to make in the past year since high school?

Gallo: Obviously being away from home. That’s a huge adjustment, especially for teenaged kids. That’s probably the biggest one. It just being able to live on your own now and not having the college campus right there and taking care of ourselves now.

Playing every day and getting your body ready to play all the time. That’s always the toughest thing is to be mentally prepared every day to play and to be physically prepared to play at a professional level every single day.

Who’s been the biggest help for you in the past year?

Gallo: My parents (Laura/ Tony) have been the biggest help to me. They are always there for me. When I hit a slump, they’re always there picking me up. They watch videos on me all the time to see if they can point out something. They’ve been with me for the last 19 years and they know me better than anyone else.

Mashore (2013 Crawdads hitting coach Justin Mashore) has been a huge help to all of us. And our teammates, without them this isn’t fun. They’ve been the biggest help in picking each other up and having fun together. Most of the time, you see us out there having fun and smiling. We get along.

Let me ask you about this current group being together the past year. How much have you all leaned on each other the past year?

Gallo: A lot, because we’re going through the same stuff.  Most of the time, we’re going through the same struggles.  It’s always better to have somebody who’s been through it with you at the same age that you get along with.  That’s the biggest thing with us, we’ve known each other for the last year. We’ve been a team for almost two years now. That’s the good part about us is that we know each other’s weaknesses and strengths. We know how to help each other out, like when we see each other’s swing go wrong.

A guy like Lewis Brinson can tell me, “You’re doing this wrong,” and will just automatically help me out. Other than a guy that I just started playing with this year can’t really tell me too much because he hasn’t seen me as much.

Was the first six weeks more of a struggle than you expected?

Gallo: It was definitely a struggle and was probably the worst baseball I’d play in my life. I don’t want to say that I didn’t expect it, but obviously making a jump to full-season ball there’s going to be a little jump where maybe the average comes down. But you’ve got to make adjustments to that. I’m starting to do that now and starting to get the hang of it and getting my swing down. I wasn’t too impressed with how I was doing, so I wasn’t too happy about what was going on. I just had to keep my head up and keep going at it and see things get turned around.

When can you tell when things are going to start clicking for you?

Gallo: I think the biggest thing that I can tell that things are turning around is when I start hitting balls to centerfield and line drives and hitting balls the other way and not just pulling balls. It’s almost like, sometimes when I go up there, like the last couple of days, I felt like whatever this guy throws, I’m going to hit it hard and maybe hit it out. That’s the biggest thing with me is if I go up there with confidence I feel like I can be better than anybody else up there. I think that’s the biggest thing, that if I see balls go to centerfield hard and I’m sitting back on off-speed and have an idea that I’m in a good hitting position, then I know that I’m doing things right.

I talked with scouts to hear what they say about you. One scout compared you to Adam Dunn, in a power sense. What goes through your mind when you hear or read stuff like that?

Gallo: First of all, it’s very humbling. That’s pretty special to be named like that in a power sense. But it doesn’t really mean much to me because you’ve still got to go out there and prove it.

It’s obviously a great honor to be named and for a scout to say that, but still, you’ve still got to go out there and prove that you can do that and prove that you have power. It’s pretty cool to hear things like that and obviously it’s what you work for to be named in groups like that and for scouts to say stuff like that. That’s pretty cool.

You had the big three home run night at Hagerstown the other night. How special was that for you and what do you take from that?

Gallo: It’s very special. It was a pretty cool day. It was good after that, because I felt like I was confident again and I can turn my season around and maybe start helping my team win a little more and hit hitting the ball out a little more and getting a few more hits a game.

What is the biggest thing for you to work on between now and the majors?

Gallo: Probably just consistency. Coming out there and having my best at bats every game and not just having games where I go 0-for-4 with four Ks. Instead of being 0-for-4 with four Ks, I get a hit in between there or go 2-for-4 and coming out here consistently and having my swing every single day and not letting that go away and throwing away an at bat.

Become a complete player is important for you, isn’t it?

Gallo: That’s something I’ve worked on my entire life. Swinging the bat can only get you so far. Sometimes in order to help your team win every day you’ve got to be able do the little things well like field ground balls and make plays that maybe some other people couldn’t make and run the bases the right way. That makes a difference in the game.

In a one-run game, it’s who can run the bases better, not always about who’s going to hit more home runs that game. So, I’ve always prided myself in being an all around good player, not a good hitter or a power hitter.

(Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)
(Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Quotes about Gallo:

Tim Pupura, 2013 Texas Rangers Director of Player Development

I think he’s outstanding. He is the one player here that we did push last year. He had already won the home run title in the Arizona League. We felt like he had kind of conquered the competition there, so we decided to challenge him and send him up to Spokane for the last few weeks and get him exposed to a little bit higher level of pitching, a different quality of competition. To his credit, one of the things he told us this spring was he realized that we sent him up there for a reason, and that was to show him how difficult it is as you move level from level. I think it was a great experience for him, because he learned about failure.

Even though he had had great success he went up there and he struggled. I think it was a great lesson for him and I think it was a great lesson for the rest of these guys. Even though you win a home run championship in one league, moving up to the next league doesn’t insure that you’ll automatically step up and be successful. You’re going to have to adjust; you’re going to have to get better as the talent gets better above you.

Joey’s a great kid. He has a great family and is from a big sports-oriented school. There was a lot of good training that he got and he’s got some natural ability. He’s got the ability to hit with power. To me, you learn a lot about power, but a lot of it’s God-given to be able to hit balls like he can hit them. He’s fun to watch and he had a great spring, so we feel really good about him here.

Hickory Crawdads manager Corey Ragsdale

What have you seen in Gallo’s development over the past year?

I think just the maturity factor on a day-to-day basis. I’m sure a lot of people will want to talk about his ability and stuff like that, but we knew he was a special player last year when we got him. But, I just think on a day-to-day basis about how he goes about his business, the routines that he’s settled into and learning how to be a professional I think more so than anything.

On Gallo’s defensive:

To be as big as he is he’s a very good athlete and has very good speed. He can more around as good as any of them to be honest. He’s just learning how to get into a better position more consistently and be ready for the ball to be hit to him. It’s kind of a focus deal learning how to focus for a full game over there. Sometimes, especially as a young kid, they haven’t had a ball hit to them in a few innings and it probably gets a little monotonous over there. Learning to keep their focus and to stay into it, because sooner or later you are going to get one and you’ve got to be ready for it.

As far as raw power goes, who have you seen that compares to Gallo?

Nobody!. Eighteen, nineteen-years-old the last two years, not at that age, especially, anywhere near that age. It’s obviously pretty special. It’s pretty cool to see him hit b.p. every day and see a kid that can hit one in the lights and all that stuff. That don’t happen very often.

2013 Hickory Crawdads hitting coach Justin Mashore:

What have you seen in his improvement over the last year?

When he got to us last year, he was put together very well. There wasn’t a whole lot of adjustments made to his swing, besides to what he was thinking at the plate and trying to get used to pitchers challenging him with the fastball and not always throwing breaking balls to him. We haven’t really wavered from that.

He got off to a slow start here, but I never really had a doubt that he was going to do what he did last year and then some. When you see somebody do what he did last year, you’re kind of, you know it’s in there and it’s just a matter of time before his mind and his body sync up and he takes off.

What contributed to his slow start?

I just think the huge expectations that the outside world, or himself, or anything else puts on a kid like that, or for that matter, most of these guys. They got here and they’re all young and they’re going through the same things.
2013 Texas Rangers Field Coordinator Casey Candaele:

I think defensively he’s been playing real well for me. He’s 6-foot-5 at third. He moves well real and he’s agile. I just try getting him to get a little bit of movement before the ball crosses the plate so he can get that big frame moving. Basically, the big thing for him is to have a wide base so he can get down and field the ball. Guys of that stature, you’ve got to make sure they use their legs a lot in the field.

He’s got good hands. He can handle third. He’s obviously got a lot of things to work on, but I’m pleased with the way he’s playing defense. He’s a very good instinctual baseball player. He runs the bases really well for a big man. When you see those kinds of things in a player, those are special traits that a lot of guys don’t have.