Who doesn’t like the home run? Chicks dig it. Players do PEDs for it. Rawlings loves it. Hmmm, let’s see. Pitchers despise it. Curmudgeons are opposed to it because some players flip the bat as a result. Maybe they think it’s flipping the bird? Fantasy nerds are infatuated with it, as they both celebrate and despise it. Whatever the case may be, the home run is freaking cool for real-life baseball and instrumental for the fantasy game, as one home run instantaneously affects four categories. So, for today’s piece, I thought I’d give the tale of the tape to two players who are both projected to be in the top 10 for home runs and are both being drafted outside of the first four rounds. Without further ado, do your thing Michael Buffer. Yes, we have a deep coffer here at Razzball to bring on talent when we need it.
In the red corner, standing a gargantuan six feet and five inches while weighing a hefty 235 pounds, we have sweet as Halo Halo Joey Gaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllloooooooooooooooooooo. USA! USA!! USA!!!
And in the blue corner, we have the 39-year-old, ageless wonder from the Dominican Republic, standing a respectable six feet and two inches and weighing in at 230 pounds, the man who always hits the ball on the screws, Nelson Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz.
Are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmbbllllleeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!
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Joey Gallo is one of the preeminent power hitters in the game. He’s a staple at the top of the Statcast leaderboards for average exit velocity, average home run distance, hard hit percentage, and barrel percentage. In 2017 and 2018, Gallo hit 41 and 40 homers respectively. Unfortunately, he’s among the league leaders in strikeouts every year and the batting average has motivated the Mendoza family to lobby on the behalf of Mario to change the name of the line of demarcation. I can hear the Gallo fans already whining, “but he batted .253 last season.” Well, the BABIP was .368 and the sample size was small due to the 297 plate appearances he accrued in only 70 games played last season. Why did he play so few games? Thanks for asking. Gallo went on the IL twice for an oblique injury and a broken hamate bone. Scooby ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but he’s petrified of drafting Gallo.
Nelson Cruz is almost 40 years old and we dug his grave many years ago waiting for the inevitable fall. Well, in his age 34 season, Cruz hit 40 home runs. Then the following year he clubbed 44. Then he flipped everyone the bird and mashed 43 home runs. In his age 37 and 38 seasons, Cruz hit 39 and 37 home runs respectively. The Mariners didn’t have the nerve to pull out one more Jenga piece, so they let him go. The Twins signed him in the offseason before the start of last season and all Cruz did was mash 41 home runs while batting .311! At some point, it has to end, but none of the data support that happening. Last season, Cruz was 3rd in average exit velocity, 3rd in hard hit percentage, and 3rd in barrel percentage.
Now, in NFBC drafts from February 1st, 2020 to March 4th, 2020, Cruz is being drafted 81st overall on average while Gallo is being selected 85th overall on average. The minimum pick for Cruz was 47 while it was 59 for Gallo.
I don’t know why anyone would draft Gallo instead of Cruz in this range, if you are looking for power. Cruz hits for a much better average, is in a better lineup, and is projected to accumulate more plate appearances, score more runs, and have more RBI. The Twins are projected to score 5.45 runs per game while the Rangers are at 4.96, according to Fangraphs. Sure, Gallo will steal a handful of more bases and he’s not battling Father Time, but the floor is sooooooooooooooooo much lower for Gallo than it is for Cruz. Plus, the ceilings are similar.
Cruz is the winner, winner, chicken dinner in a decisive first-round KO.