The G Factor: Jason Giambi already has head start on coaching career
Just how much of an impact does Jason Giambi have on the young hitters in the Indians clubhouse?
His teammates and manager Terry Francona have said it’s immeasurable — difficult to explain. They simply refer to it as ‘The G Factor’ and it’s something that’s impossible to quantify.
So if The G Factor can’t be measured with advanced baseball statistics or saber metrics, how do you know if it’s effective? How do you know it’s even real?
Just ask Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Nick Swisher… Or Joey Gallo, infielder for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
A first-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft (39th overall), Gallo is a highly touted prospect in the Texas Rangers organization and currently plays for their Class-A Advanced affiliate.
The 20-year-old power-hitter is off to a sweltering start in the Carolina League — his nine home runs are second in the minors behind recently promoted Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez. On Wednesday, Gallo made headlines for belting three homers and drawing three walks in a 21-6 victory over the Frederick Keys.
Pretty impressive. So, what’s his secret?
The G Factor.
Gallo spent the winter working with Giambi at the Philippi Sports Institute in Las Vegas, his hometown. The young slugger grew especially close to Papa G, who focused on helping him improve his baseball psyche.
"He really worked with me on having an approach and a game plan," Gallo said. "He watched some video of me and we worked on the mental side."
Similar to the way a young Jedi-in-training learns how to control The Force from his master, Giambi serves as a Yoda to young hitters.
"He talked about different pitchers and what to look for in different counts," he said. "Obviously, he was a pretty disciplined hitter. He helped me out a lot with that."
Last year, Gallo became the first teenager to hit 40 home runs in the minors in over 50 years. He put on jaw-dropping displays with his raw power, but his lack of plate discipline held him back. With a 37 percent strikeout rate, Gallo finished the 2013 season with a .245 average.
So far this season, he’s hitting .359 and his strikeout rate has dropped to 25 percent and his walk rate is up to 18 percent — a drastic improvement.
"It’s been beneficial and is paying off pretty well right now," Gallo said of his Giambi Jedi training. "I’m relaxed up there."
While he’s only 20 years old, don’t be surprised if you see Gallo showing off ‘The G Factor’ in the big leagues in the not-too-distant future.