Joey Gallo’s ‘heavy burden’ of not contributing to Yankees success

Joey Gallo got a break from the boos Wednesday. The Yankees’ struggling left fielder wasn’t in the lineup for the series finale against the A’s after going hitless over the last nine games.

“Some guys are gonna be in the middle of great seasons, some guys are struggling and everything in between. You just kind of got to navigate that as best you can and try and get your guys breaks when you feel like they need them,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Just try and support and work alongside to help unlock guys. So it’s, I guess, the art of it all a little bit. So, yeah, that’s always a challenge.”

Every at-bat has been a challenge for Gallo this season.

He is hitless in his last 24 at-bats with 13 strikeouts. He’s hitting .167 with nine homers, 18 RBI, 84 strikeouts in 186 at-bats plus 28 walks in 62 games. He has career-lows in home run rate (4.2%), walk rate (13.1%), OPS (.609) and on-base percentage (.276). His 39.3 strikeout rate is a career-high and among the highest in the major leagues.

The Yankees acquired him last July because the analytics department felt his swing would translate well with the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium. In a way, he’s the product of analytics in baseball, swinging for home runs not average and using walks to get his on-base percentage up.

But Gallo isn’t even doing that since he got to the Yankees.

In 120 games since the Yankees acquired him from the Rangers, he’s hit  .163 hitter with 22 homers, 40 RBI, 172 strikeouts and 65 walks.

“I think the walks being down, he’s probably lost some 3-2 counts where I do feel like he’s still having a lot of those at-bats where he’s getting deep in the count, getting to 3-2 and then instead of a walk it’s an out more often,” Boone said. “I feel like teams have really pitched him tough, gone to some areas where they can go to be successful.”

The boos have rained down on Gallo at home when he strikes out, even though the fans have acknowledged his Gold Glove defense. He’s escaped some of the harsh treatment that slugger Gary Sanchez got because the Yankees are the best team in baseball and winning.

“I think the team winning definitely helps, big time. But you also have a personal expectation and pride and desire to succeed and be a part of this thing, which he very much is,” Boone said of Gallo. “It’s a heavy burden, especially when you’ve had success in this league and you’ve been an All Star in this league and you’re not getting the results. Especially when you pour everything into it, which Joey does so.

“You know, it’s frustrating. I know. It’s difficult. I know. It certainly weighs on and wears on them. Unfortunately, it’s part of the sport sometimes and it’s such a hard game and such a game of failure. You got to somehow find a way to figure that out. And enjoy the successes of the team. And ultimately that’s what it’s about and ultimately know that you are contributing especially as good as he is on the defensive side of things and just continue to work and trust that.”

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